Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you ever had an average experience?

Do you ever wonder how to say that something was just average in English?

Have you heard other expressions for the word “average” and felt unsure of how and when to use them?

We’re going to look at different ways to say that something was just okay.

We’re going to help you to understand how you can communicate that something was simply average.


Several Words Can Mean The Same Sort of Thing

We’ve all had average experiences, though they don’t tend to be memorable.

It’s not to say that anything was really good or really bad–it just fell somewhere in the middle.

You may remember when something was really good because it was such a positive experience.

On the other side, you may remember something that was really bad because it was likely upsetting.

To say that something was average means that it wasn’t a big deal and it certainly wasn’t memorable.


Here’s a great question from a listener who was wondering about this very thing.

This listener came to our Tokyo Power English Weekend and received 1-1 coaching with us.


Hi, Lindsay!

Since I’ve jumped in the immersion course in Tokyo, I’ve felt more motivated to study English.

Thank you very much for coming from far away! I can’t wait for the next session!

Today, I have a question about the word “so-so”.

Once I taught this word to my students in the conversation “How are you? “So-so”, they started to use it very often.

For example:

“Do you like green peppers?”   “So-so”

“Do you want to go fishing?”    “So-so”

“How was your weekend?        “So-so”

I  can understand their feelings.

Sometimes they can’t say or they don’t want to say, “Yes” or “No” clearly.

Sometimes they don’t know what to say.

But I’m not sure it is a proper way to reply.

What do natives think when they hear this reply?

If it sounds strange or rude, I’d like to know how we should say when we have a vague feeling.

Thank you in advance.

⭐︎Yumiko ⭐︎


Saying The Same Thing Can Vary In Different Cultures

The question is interesting because we don’t tend to say “so so” much in English.

Sometimes in Japan or other Asian culture we don’t say “Yes” or “No” clearly.

This can be a very cultural thing.

It’s very interesting how different countries come up with different ways of saying things.

We come up with our versions of English based on what are our cultural norms.

In this example, there are various ways to respond when an experience was just average particularly since something like “so so” isn’t used much here.


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How To Say Something Was Average

You want to start by focusing on the subject of what you are discussing.

When it comes to talking about things like restaurants, events, movies, speeches, and things like that there are a few good examples. 

Example:  Hey did you try A Wrinkle in Time?

  • It was okay
  • Meh (written)
  • It was alright
  • Just okay
  • Not terrible
  • It was pretty average
  • Not the worst


When you want to say that you feel neutral about something, such as in your tastes or preferences there are other good exmaples.

Some of these examples may overlap, but these apply to when you are talking about your preference or taste in something.

Example: Do you like green peppers?

  • They’re okay
  • They’re alright
  • They’re not my favorite
  • I kind of like them
  • Yeah sort of
  • Yeah kind of
  • Sometimes I do


Cultural Norms Determine What We Will Say

You can see that there are different words or phrases for each situation.

These are two places where you might express an opinion:

  1. Reviewing an event or experience
  2. Saying your opinion or preference about something like food  

You will notice that “so so” is not on the list because it’s not something that we tend to say often in English.

It’s all based on what is viewed as normal in our culture.

You want to pay close attention to what natives say in English for each situation.



The listener asked a great question, and culture plays into this more than we might realize.

In Japan it might be less common to directly say “yes” or “no”.

A new phrase has become popular which is “so so”,  but in the US we really don’t use it much.

When you come to the US or another English speaking country, we want to think about what phrases do the same job here.

This is a great way to integrate into the local culture and use common phrases as the natives do.


If you have a question, please leave it in the comments section below.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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