Amit Chougule

Entrepreneur – Endurance Cyclist

What British says & what we understood in English

British English

British English

While studying my masters, I came across one interesting article. I am sharing this with you. All content & copyrights to original writer. If you have some more lines to add in this please add in comments.

Euphemistically speaking (This may interest you)

May 27th 2011, 11:11 by E.L., The economist

A friend of mine was recently told by his boss that his position at work was “unassailable”: in British office speak that is a severe warning which has sent him hastily looking for a new job. It reminded me of a guide I came across a few years ago, which aimed to help plain speaking Dutch executivese make sense of their English colleagues. Here’s an updated and amplified version. Readers are welcome to add their own entries in the comments field, and to ponder the question of what (if anything) an ingrained cult of euphemistic understatement may say about the British (or should that be English?) national character.

What the British say: “I hear what you say”

What the British mean: “I disagree and do not want to discuss it any further”

what is understood : “He accepts my point of view”


What the British say: “This is in no sense a rebuke”

What the British mean: ” I am furious with you and letting you know it”

what is understood : “I am not cross with you”


What the British say: “With the greatest respect”

What the British mean: “I think you are wrong(or a fool)”

what is understood : “He is listening to me”


What the British say: “Correct me if I’m wrong”

What the British mean: “I know I’m right pleas don’t contradict me’

what is understood : “Tell me what you think’


What the British say: “That’s not bad’

What the British mean: “That’s good or very good’

what is understood : “That’s poor or mediocre’


What the British say: “QUITE good” (with stress on QUITE)

What the British mean: “A bit disappointing”

what is understood : “QUITE good”


What the British say: “quite GOOD” (with stress on the Good)

What the British mean: “excellent”

what is understood : “Quite Good”


What the British say: “Perhaps you would like to think about …” / “I would suggest….” / “It would be nice if… ”

What the British mean: “”This is an order. Do it or prepared to justify yourself”

what is understood : “Think about the idea, but do what you like”


What the British say: “Do as much as you think is justified”

What the British mean: “Do it all”

what is understood : “Do what you can”


What the British say: “Oh, by the way/ Incidentally…”

What the British mean: “The primary purpose of our discussion is …”

what is understood : “This is not very important…”


What the British say: “I was a bit disappointed that/ it is a pity you…”

What the British mean: “I am most upset and cross”

what is understood : “It doesn’t really matter”


What the British say: “Very Interesting”

What the British mean: “I don’t agree/ I don’t believe you”

what is understood : “They are impressed”


What the British say: “Could we consider some other options”

What the British mean: “I don’t like your idea”

what is understood : “They have not yet decided”


What the British say: “I’ll bear it in mind”

What the British mean: “I will do nothing about it”

what is understood : “They will probably do it”


What the British say: “Please think about that some more”

What the British mean: “It’s a bad idea, don’t do it”

what is understood : “It’s a good idea, keep developing it”


What the British say: “I’m sure it’s my fault”

What the British mean: “I know it is your fault, please apologise”

what is understood : “It was somebody else’s fault”


What the British say: “That is an original point of view”

What the British mean: “You must be mad, or very silly”

what is understood : “They like my ideas!”


What the British say: “I’m sure you’ll  get there eventually”

What the British mean: “You don’t stand a chance it hell”

what is understood : “Keep on trying, they agree I’m on the right track”


Read this now & don’t forget it!