This is from the book 我是马拉拉 (the Chinese version of I am Malala).

我是马拉拉 snippet

I transcribe it to:


I translate this to:

Tuesday, 9-th October 2012. That day's happenings changed everything. That day, we originally had a test, with students saying [something? 算不上], it's a beautiful day. But I'm different to most students, I'm known as "bookworm", I feel a test is not at all a big deal.

Question: What does 算不上 mean in this snippet?

Dict.cn translates 算不上 to "be not really", so I'm guessing it negates the "it's a beautiful day", so the students think it's "not really a beautiful day" or something like that. However, I'm not clear on this. (I think I understand the rest of the snippet.)

  • "Be not really" is a good one I think. 对学生们来说算不上太美好的日子 can be "It's not really a very beautiful day to students" or "The day is not really that beautiful to students."
    – dan
    Mar 29, 2019 at 22:48
  • 美好 here means wonderful, not beautiful. Apr 12, 2019 at 0:47

5 Answers 5


I would translate 算不上 to be "cannot count as", so in your context, it would mean "you can't count today as a beautiful day as there is an exam".

  • wonderful explanation. 翻译很到位。 Mar 28, 2019 at 6:23

Your guess is correct. To be precise, 算不上 means can't be counted ; can't be regarded ; not much.

So the sentence means that day can't be regarded as a much beautiful day for students.

Some other examples.

  1. 我告诉她以古巴之外的任何标准来衡量,我都算不上一个富有的人。
    I told her that I was not rich by any standard outside of Cuba.

  2. 哦,爸爸,如果这还算不上鼓励别人结婚的话,我真不知道什么是鼓励了。
    Well, papa, if this is not encouragement to marry, I do not know what is.

  3. 然而,这或许又算不上是新闻,我想大家都知道你会变得很像那些与你一起出去玩的人。
    Well, maybe it is not a newsflash. I think we all know that you become like those that you hang out with.


Another translation would be "not exactly", or "not exactly considered".

The whole sentence would be, "that day was not exactly considered a beautiful day because there was an exam".


If you add the informal tone to it, 算不上太美好 combined is something like not the best.

Tuesday, October 9th 2012, everything changed. An important exam was due, so not the best day for the students. But to me, an exam never felt like a big deal, because unlike others, I am the "bookworm".


算不上 -> cannot count to be

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