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I was wondering if it is correct to say:

  • I am not unconfident with his answer.

By saying this I imply that I am almost not confident but I hesitate to say I am. His answer makes me hesitate.

Interesting thing:


As Oxford dictionary says:

ADJECTIVE

Not confident; hesitant.
‘the airmen were young, but not unconfident’

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    I find it a puzzling way of saying something. People are more often doubtful about an answer than confident/unconfident with it - although you can be confident that it is/is not correct. The clearest way to say it is that you are unhappy/dissatisfied (or not happy/satisfied) with the answer. – Ronald Sole Mar 24 '17 at 11:07
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As a native English Speaker if you said this to me in conversation I would understand it to mean you have some amount of confidence but not a lot.

It is quite common to hear people speak like this but I suspect the use of this sentence is more common as the reply to a question rather than a opening sentence.

Alice: "Are you confident with his answer?"

Bob: "I am not unconfident with his answer."

In my mind the sentence is quantifying the level of confidence you have. This list shows where I understand your confidence level to be."

"I am very confident"

"I am confident"

"I am somewhat confident"

"I am not unconfident"

"I am unconfident"

  • I am not an expert on the English language and have no formal qualifications in English. I offer my advice as a native British English speaker. I believe the advice of an untrained English speaker can sometimes be beneficial – RedPython Mar 24 '17 at 11:17
  • I assume that you are right. Should I say "I am not unsure if he knows it" would that mean that I doubt that he knows it but I may well be wrong? – SovereignSun Mar 24 '17 at 11:27
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    I am not unsure is far less common. You are either sure or you are not. There are different levels of confidence. being sure suggests extreme confidence. I would consider 'not unconfident almost a slang term, so it is probably best not to use it in a formal context – RedPython Mar 24 '17 at 11:43

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