Please imagine a bad doer or ill-natured person who oftentimes commits bad actions toward the people around him. E.g. backbites, gossips, lies about others, etc.
He says something bad to you and you decide to bring it up to your close friend. You say:

I think there is something wrong with his nature.

But there are barely any results on the internet for this phrase. In this link, one comment has the following:

I think McGrath admitted that ultimately one believes in Christ for existential reasons. IOW, as he said, man realizes there is something wrong with his nature, he is not as good as he ought to be, and he yearns for something better and something more fulfilling...

Since there is only one example on the internet, I think it is not common in English to say it this way. What's a more natural way of saying this?

  • 1
    We'd probably just say there's something wrong with that guy, or there's something not right about him. The former would suggest that you have a specific problem in mind, while the latter would suggest you suspect something but probably can't put your finger on the specific issue.
    – Robusto
    Jan 18, 2017 at 15:37
  • 1
    To add to @Robusto's excellent suggestions: there's something off about him.
    – verbose
    Jan 19, 2017 at 0:05
  • Well, how about just saying "he's ill-natured" @Robusto?
    – A-friend
    Aug 30, 2022 at 19:48

4 Answers 4


There are of course many ways to say this, but "there is something wrong with his nature" is not one of them. In AmE at least, it's more idiomatic to say simply, "There's something (very) wrong with him." The implication is not anything physically wrong, but rather something is "wrong" in his head, generally having to do with odd or sometimes unethical behavior:

Martha's young son just runs around in circles for hours until he falls down. Then he gets up and does it again. There's something wrong with that boy.

Note that it can be said in jest:

Jim, I don't know how you can think the three "Star Wars" prequels are better than the original trilogy. There's something really wrong with you.

That being said: The situation that you describe (backbiting, gossiping, etc.) is not where we would ordinarily use this expression. In this case we might call someone "nasty", "spiteful", "two-faced", "bitchy", "small-minded", "bitter", or even "evil-spirited".

And lots of others, including metaphors comparing him to animals. Snakes are the most likely: "He's just a snake in the grass, waiting to bite you on the ankle when you least expect it."

[Edit] Just remembered, a more contemporary idiomatic way to say this is "He has issues." Although this can apply to anyone whose thought processes are questionable, not just someone who acts nastily.


The person you describe, I would suggest has poor social relationship skills. He may be suffering from a low sense of self-worth and appears troubled. And I suspect that he struggles to maintain friendships.

But this question might perhaps better have been addressed to the "Interpersonal skills site".

There seems to me to be little point in trying to understand the problem in terms of moral values of right and wrong - which is the direction in which the question seems to be posed.


He ain't right.

He's not right in the head.

He's not right.

As in, there is something wrong with him or something has happened to make him act like he's not right in the head.

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    I think phrasing it like that would suggest the person is mentally ill or unstable, not that something is wrong with their nature necessarily.
    – Joachim
    Aug 17, 2022 at 9:01

" something wrong with his nature." What's a more natural way of saying this?

A more explicit way might be...

.. his frequent criticsm of others reveals his own insecurities.. .. he needs to understand this

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