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 'She's not the most intelligent person in the world!'

What is 'understatement'?

Understatement is used when a speaker wants to  a make a situation seem less strong or important than it is.

For example, think about this situation:

You have taken ten exams in school and passed them all with a score of 100%. Someone asks you:

'How did you do on your test?'

You answer:

'I did OK.'

This is understatement. We can also call this modesty.

It would not be understatement to say:

'I did fantastic! I had the best result! I’m wonderful!'

We would call this a boast.

Being polite using 'understatment'.

In spoken English we use understatement when we want to be tactfulSilk Ann Ann Boutique Taylor Ann Cardigan Taylor Ann Boutique Silk Cardigan Cardigan Silk Boutique Taylor Boutique zwAfqa.

For example take a look at Bob…

How would you describe him? It’s not polite to call him 'fat'.

Here we can use 'understatement' to be polite.

Take a look at these set of expressions. All of these are ways we would use understatement to describe Bob.

  • He's not the thinnest person in the world.
  • He's a little on the New Loose Long Pullover Hoodie Pattern Sleeves Casual Floral Arrival big side.
  • I wouldn’t say he was thin.

We can use these expressions to describe a variety of places, people and things:

London is expensive: 'London is not the cheapest place in the world'

Her new husband is old: 'He's a little on the old side'.

The food is terrible: 'I wouldn't say it tasted great'.

Key-words

Modesty (noun): when someone does not talk about their good abilities and achievements. Positive meaning.

Boast (Verb/noun): when someone talks too proudly about their abilities or achievements. Negative meaning.

Tactful (adjective): careful not to say or do anything that could upset someone

Now think of some understatement sentences and add them to the 'Add new comment' below.

'How to express feelings'

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