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What the English Really Mean

It is well known that the British do not always say what they really mean. So, with the growing international nature of the business, the definitions below may help people from other nations understand their British counterparts better.

What English natives say

What is understood

What the English natives mean

I hear what you say

He accepts my point of view

I disagree an do not wish to discuss it any further

With the greatest respect

He is listening to me

I think you are wrong

Not bad

Poor or mediocre

Good or very good

Quite good

Quite good

A bit disappointing

Perhaps you would like to think about/
I would suggest/
It would be nice if

Think about the idea but do what you like

This is an order. Do it or be prepared to justify yourself.

Where appropriate locally/
Local flexibility

Do it if you can

Do whatever you like

Oh, by the way/

This is not very important

This is the primary purpose of our discussion

It was a bit disappointing that/
It is a pity you

It doesn't really matter

I am most upset and cross

Very interesting

They are impressed

I don't agree/
I don't belive you

Could we consider some other options

They have not yet decided

I don't like your idea

I'll bear it in mind

They will probably do it

I will do nothing about it

Please think about that some more

Good idea, keep developing it

It is a bad idea. Don't do it

I'm sure it is my fault

It was their fault

It is your fault!

That is an original point of view

They like my ideas

You must be crazy