I am giving a presentation about topics in philosophy for my Chinese class, and unlike many of the students there, I have no formal education in the topic I am presenting. I feel it would be appropriate to humbly qualify my presentation with a statement expressing that I am not an expert on this area, and that many in the audience have studied it to a much greater extent.

I am tempted to use the expression “班门弄斧”, but it does not seem all that correct, as no one in the audience is truly a master of the topic, but rather just better than me.

Is there an expression that I could use which would be appropriate?

  • 2
    – user3a
    Dec 5, 2018 at 20:28
  • 1
    If you start your presentation by using a literary expression that is above your own level of Chinese, it will probably not come over as very modest nor as very natural. I suggest you use the language structures you already know for that purpose.
    – Philipp
    Dec 7, 2018 at 14:43

7 Answers 7


Being modest is a good thing, but when you give a presentation, you should assure your audience that the content of your speech might not be ground-breaking, but is at least well thought out

Here is my suggestion:

大家好 - Hello everyone

以下是我努力硏修後得出來的成果 - The following are the results of my hard work.

stating you have done your best and it is a well thought out speech

if you are not going to take any question:

如有不足之處,請各位多多包函 - If there are any deficiencies, please bear with me.

if you are going to take questions:

如有錯漏之處,請各位多多指教 - If there are any mistakes or omissions, please freely give me your advice.





The key point to be a skillful user of this area is trying to clarify whether the meaning of a "成语" is in a positive way or not.

Generally speaking, the degree of a "成语" can usually be classified in three different levels: Positive, Normal and Negative. Even they have the same meaning, the feelings which bring to you are quite different.

After understanding the degree of "成语", you can now insure the usages of them is correct.

Normally, you'd better use a word with Normal degree to describe yourself.It sounds more modest than using a Positive word when you introduce yourself.

When you talk to others, using positive word or "成语" to describe them is always a right way.

E.g. "班门弄斧" is a negative word, so never use it to describe yourself and people whom you admire.Use "才疏学浅"(a Normal degree word) instead.

Hope my answer helps you.

  • 1
    "班门弄斧" is a not a negative word if you use it to describe yourself. e.g. 在下今日班门弄斧,要在各位名家大師面前演練拳法,望各位能指點一二
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 12, 2018 at 1:37
  • Perhaps you are right, thanks for pointing out my mistake and correcting my answer! But the rule that I said above is still satisfied for almost every scenario.
    – Leon Tian
    Dec 17, 2018 at 6:33

【浅见薄识】:qiǎn jiàn bó shí,浅见:肤浅的见解;薄识:见识很少。形容见闻不广,所知不多。作谓语、宾语、定语;用于自谦。

【词目】浅见薄识 【示例】明·冯梦龙《喻世明言》卷三十一:“人每不能测天,致汝纷纭议论,皆由浅见薄识之故也。” 【同义词】见识短浅,浅见寡识,浅见寡闻


You are correct. You got the meaning of 班門弄斧. May I just explain a little bit on 班門弄斧

班 is short name of 鲁班 who was great master of carpenter. Even now, some workers are still memorising him .

門 means front door of the master 鲁班.

弄斧 means playing axe

So the whole meaning is showing off the skill in front of who is true master in the area.

However, in Chines culture, it is still fine saying in this way, because in this way, you can humbly show the difference between you and the others while not lowering yourself.

"I confess there is a difference between you and me. But it is not because I am noob but you are just really good. I am still good."

Or you may say "賣弄學識", which means showing some trick in front of something. It is ridiculing yourself actually.

Another choice is "愚見" which means my stupid idea. But when you say in this way, the actual meaning may be opposite.

"So here is my stupid idea, 愚見,...blab blab...." hidden meaning may be "my idea is stupid. But yours are even worse than mine, you are a fool actually."

Therefore, take special care when you are trying to laugh at yourself to be humble. The consequence may be totally different.

  • 班门弄斧 and 卖弄学识 are both 贬义词,not 谦辞。
    – zyy
    Dec 7, 2018 at 5:50

You could try this: "此乃一家之见, 望可以抛砖引玉。" Which means :"This is my own view, I wish this can inspire discussions and get deeper educated answers"?

  • That is too formal for a presentation.
    – zyy
    Dec 5, 2018 at 23:40

Traditional way:

在下平生喜好哲学, 尝独自钻研, 近日偶有所得, 不敢独享, 愿与诸君共同切磋.

Humor way

上台来, 我先拜一拜这场里场外一站一立前排后排的各位朋友,不知道您哪位在南山打过猛虎,在北海踢过狡龙,您过去打过一拳,踢过一腿,您就是我的老师,今天学生我要在这里讲讲哲学.

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