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Is it idometic expresssion to say " just so so " ? We've been using "just so so" for a long time to mean not too bad, but I heard the native speakers don't use it.
Mar 17, 2014 2:26 PM
Answers · 4
I agree completely with Akahitoha's reply. It is spelled with a hyphen: "so-so." Everyone understands it and completely idiomatic. If this is a comfortable expression for you--if it corresponds to something in your native language, for example--you can use it without hesitation. It is often preceded by "just" or "only," "just so-so," "only so-so." It is a little negative. It means acceptable, passable, OK, good enough, but not great--you would prefer something else if you had a choice, you were hoping for something better. "So, how was the food at that expensive restaurant?" "It was so-so." It is good standard English, you could use it in writing as well as colloquial speaking, but I think it is a little informal. (Checking the American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd edition, they have no notes about it. They do NOT call it informal or colloquial). When I say it, I usually make a gesture with my hand--holding it out flat and level and then tipping it a bit from side to side, as if to say "I'm weighting it in a set of scales and the balance is tipping back and forth."
March 17, 2014
I think English learners use the phrase far too much, and choose it as an automatic response to "How are you?" We native speakers do use "just so-so", but if you're learning English you should use the chance to practise different phrases and responses instead of choosing the same reply every time.
March 17, 2014
It's used in China a lot, maybe I will start using it when I go back to England! I would use It's ok or It's alright or It's so-so.
March 17, 2014
I've said it before, I'm a native English speaker. It's generally used when something isn't utterly fantastic or terribly awful, we'll say it's "just so-so." It means it's not particularly leaning towards good or bad, generally.
March 17, 2014
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webkadoris
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German
Learning Language
English, French, German