I live in an area where there are many Chinese so I get plenty of opportunity to use my language skills including shopping, eating at restaurants and meeting new people.

The Chinese people I meet are always complimentary about my language skill although I think it is quite average.

What are some different ways I can express to people that I feel my skill level is not very good?

  • Can you clarify the purpose of expressing that?
    – NS.X.
    Oct 4, 2012 at 1:54
  • 4
    @NS.X. Self-deprecating when someone compliments you on something is a proper Chinese way to show politeness.
    – Nihil
    Oct 4, 2012 at 2:30

5 Answers 5


You can try the following sentences which demonstrate humility:

  • 不好意思,我的中文水平尚浅,有待跟您多多学习。
    Sorry, my Chinese language skill is still shallow, there is still a lot to learn from you.

  • 我的中文只不过马马虎虎而已,请您多多包涵。
    My Chinese is just so-so only, please bear with me.

  • 我的中文说得不好,请别见怪。
    I am not good at speaking Mandarin, hope you don't mind.

If someone is praising your language ability, you can express in the following manners immediately after the compliments:

  • 哪里,哪里... (Nah, you think too highly of me...)
  • 您过奖了。 (You flatter me.)
  • I noticed a small error, 包含 should be 包涵. 包含 is actually "include, contain". Oct 4, 2012 at 4:26
  • These seem rather formal to me. Oct 4, 2012 at 4:40
  • @MikeManilone, I have made the change. Thanks for pointing it out :)
    – 杨以轩
    Oct 4, 2012 at 4:53
  • +1 for the last ones. Oct 4, 2012 at 7:48
  • What does 'where got' mean? Never heard of it. Edit: Upon further research, looks like it is Singaporean slang. I'd avoid using it here as it's not understood by anyone outside that area. (I assume you live in Singapore). Oct 4, 2012 at 21:03

Short and sweet:

  • 没有,没有。 No, no, [it's not so good].

江南 style:

  • 我[中文]还讲得一般般。 I still don't speak that great.

I suggest you say

其实还好啦 (qi shi hai hao la) - It's actually just ok!

It's very casual and easy going. I don't suggest you say something too formal, too humble or too complicated :)


I had an early-intermediate textbook where the character who was learning responded, "还差得远呢".

Be careful that you don't make your self-deprecation too impressive or advanced (at least relative to your actual level), that could send a mixed signal!


You could try as a response: 谢谢可是我仅知道很少汉语 Xièxiè kěshì wǒ jǐn zhīdào hěn shǎo hànyǔ

I always forget which to put at the end but it is something I have use well still learning

But if you answer James question he will probably give you something much better :P

  • 2
    It's ok, but sounds very awkward to my ears. Oct 4, 2012 at 21:05

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