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  1. euncu's Avatar
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    #1

    Self-deprecating

    Hello;

    When I look it up online in the Freedictionary (the first link below), the definitions were mostly bearing negative connotations such as " Tending to undervalue oneself and one's abilities." , "having a tendency to disparage oneself" or "belittling or undervaluing oneself; excessively modest." , but one of the definitions could be deemed to be positive;"conscious of your own shortcomings". So then I checked the Oxford Dictionaries (the second link below" and it provided only one definition and that was positive .,"Modest about or critical of oneself, especially humorously so"

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/self-deprecating

    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/self-deprecating


    So my question is that whether this adjective has a positive or negative meaning. Is it something you use when you are aware of yourself(like in the phrase "know thyself") and be modest about it or when you have inferiority complex or something?

    Thanks for your answers in advance.
    ***Neither a teacher nor a native-speaker***

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Self-deprecating

    I don't find it either positive or negative. It's simply a statement of fact. It is just someone who plays down their good qualities or talents.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. euncu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Self-deprecating

    Hello emsr2d2. Thank you for your prompt answer.

    So, am I correct to conclude from your answer that the motive is irrelavant why someone plays down his or her qualities. It could be a show of a false pride or they could be thinking less of themselves. As far as I understand we could use this word in both stuations. But a part of your answer has confused me. Isn't it contradictory to say "a statement of fact" and "playing down their qualites"? If it is a statement of fact, shouldn't their qualities be stated as they are not less than what they are? I know for a fact that it is not that easy for anyone to know themselves but as I mentioned above, I 'm a bit confused.
    ***Neither a teacher nor a native-speaker***

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    #4

    Re: Self-deprecating

    I usually encounter "self-deprecating" as a good quality.

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Self-deprecating

    When the intention is negative people tend to use words like 'under-valuing'.

    'Some people value his self-deprecating humour, but most of us think he just under-values himself. If you don't "big yourself up" nobody else will.'

    b
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    #6

    Re: Self-deprecating

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    When the intention is negative people tend to use words like 'under-valuing'.

    'Some people value his self-deprecating humour, but most of us think he just under-values himself. If you don't "big yourself up" nobody else will.'

    b
    A perfect opportunity for "The Simpsons" invented word "embiggen."

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Self-deprecating

    Quote Originally Posted by euncu View Post
    Hello emsr2d2. Thank you for your prompt answer.

    So, am I correct to conclude from your answer that the motive is irrelavant why someone plays down his or her qualities. It could be a show of a false pride or they could be thinking less of themselves. As far as I understand we could use this word in both stuations. But a part of your answer has confused me. Isn't it contradictory to say "a statement of fact" and "playing down their qualites"? If it is a statement of fact, shouldn't their qualities be stated as they are not less than what they are? I know for a fact that it is not that easy for anyone to know themselves but as I mentioned above, I 'm a bit confused.
    I didn't say the motive was irrelevant. If someone is trying to be negative by being self-deprecating then, in that situation and that context, it's negative. If they're being positive when they do it, then it's positive.

    I would say, for example, that for an actor trying to secure an audition for a part in a film or a play, being self-deprecating would probably be a bad idea. If you're a great actor and you're asked "Are you a good actor? Do you think you can play this role?", replying with "I'm OK, I suppose. I could probably do it" is unlikely to get you an audition, however great you are.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Self-deprecating

    I have usually seen or heard the phrase as a part of self-deprecating humor. Since the point of humor is to make people laugh, if it achieves the desired result (laughter) it is considered a good thing. In other cases, being self-deprecating might not be good if people believe you. (For example, I like to say that if I can do it (whatever it is) that anybody can do it. But going by real life examples, that doesn't seem to always be true.)

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