Why “My spoken English is not very good” is better than “My spoken English is bad”?

“My spoken English is not very good” and “My spoken English is bad” both convey the idea that you have limited proficiency in spoken English. However, there are subtle differences in their connotations and implications that make “My spoken English is not very good” a generally preferred choice.

“My spoken English is not very good”

This phrase expresses your assessment of your spoken English skills in a more nuanced and self-deprecating manner. It suggests that you recognize your limitations but are willing to acknowledge and work on them. The use of “not very good” implies that your spoken English is passable to some extent, but there is room for improvement. This approach conveys humility and a willingness to learn, which can be perceived as more positive and open-minded.

“My spoken English is bad”

While this phrase also conveys the message that your spoken English needs improvement, it can come across as more self-critical and potentially discouraging. The word “bad” carries a stronger negative connotation, suggesting that your spoken English is significantly lacking or unacceptable. This direct assessment might not be as constructive and could potentially lead to feelings of inadequacy or discouragement.

Considerations for Choosing the Right Phrase

When expressing your limitations in spoken English, it’s important to consider the context and audience. If you’re speaking to a language instructor or someone who can provide feedback and support, using “My spoken English is not very good” can open up a constructive dialogue about areas for improvement.

On the other hand, if you’re interacting with native speakers in a casual setting, using “My spoken English is not very good” can set a more approachable and humble tone, encouraging them to be patient and understanding.

Additional Tips for Expressing Your Spoken English Limitations

Focus on specific areas for improvement: Instead of making a general statement about your overall spoken English, consider highlighting specific areas where you feel less confident. This can demonstrate a more focused approach to improvement and make it easier for others to provide targeted feedback.

Express your willingness to learn: Convey your desire to improve your spoken English skills. This shows that you’re proactive and open to feedback, making it more likely that others will be supportive and encouraging.

Use humor or self-deprecating remarks: A touch of humor or lightheartedness can help soften the impact of admitting your limitations and make the conversation more engaging.

Remember, language learning is a journey, and it’s perfectly normal to have ups and downs along the way. By acknowledging your limitations in a positive and constructive manner, you’re setting yourself up for success in improving your spoken English skills.