I was writing a message to someone who judged my grammar and I apologized and made it clear that English is not my native tongue. My apology went a little like this:

I do apologize if my English has confused you in any way. I did believe I had considerably understandable English.

He simply responded by saying I do not because "considerably" means "large amount" and that I used the word incorrectly in the sentence. Did my sentence really not make sense?

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"I did believe my English" isn't good "American English" because we would say "I believe(d) that my English" or "I thought that my English". It is awkward. It is difficult for me to explain why, but that was a dead giveaway on the language being a second or third language and I can see how that could cause confusion as we create meaning not only by words but how they are assembled .

  • I did believe my English was good, but now I know better. – Rupert Morrish Feb 26 '18 at 23:30

The key word that is missing here is "by" a large amount or to a certain degree: I speak considerably better Spanish than ....... My English is considerably more understandable than ........

Better to say: I did believe my English was (quite) understandable.

Hope this helps

  • 1
    (1) You say «The key word that is missing here is "by" a large amount or to a certain degree», but you don’t show an example of how to say what the OP wants to say using “by”. (2) So are you saying that the OP’s usage is wrong, or just that it’s not the best way to phrase it? – Scott Feb 26 '18 at 22:52
  • 1) sorry for confusion: considerably does not mean a large amount but rather by a large amount and is used to express the degree to which something is described. A synonym could be much or more. 2) This usage is incorrect. The correct usage would be "considerably more understandable." This sentence implies a comparison which is not the message hence my suggestion using the word quite. – Lindsay Feb 26 '18 at 23:20
  • +1. This answer is considerably better than the other ones. Though it could benefit from some editing and some added citations. – Tushar Raj Feb 27 '18 at 13:16

I had considerably understandable English

It's not wrong, but it's a bit clunky.

You've correctly used the adverb instead of the adjective, and your interlocutor has missed that.

It looks to me like you are using "considerably" because you want something stronger than "mostly understandable" but not as strong as "perfectly understandable". This is a reasonable use of the word. It just rubs me the wrong way for some reason, though I am currently unable to think of a better word.

Do note that you do not have to write perfect English for your English to be perfectly understandable. It's an appropriate phrase if you want to imply that any failure of communication is the readers fault.

  • 1
    "This is a reasonable use of the word. It just rubs me the wrong way for some reason, though I am currently unable to think of a better word." It's right there... you used it... "reasonably understandable". – Tushar Raj Feb 27 '18 at 13:14
  • Strictly by definition, "considerably" is an appropriate choice, however, you will almost never hear such a construction (in AmE), regardless of its appropriateness. You will be more apt to hear "substantially understandable" even though substantially is probably a poorer choice than considerably. I tried to check this assumption via ngrams but I don't know how. – EllieK Feb 28 '18 at 14:14

As in the definition of Cambridge for consider:

to spend time thinking about a possibility or making a decision:

So in your phrase "I had a considerably ...." wouldn't match except you want to express that your skill and expirience in English is on an excellent level. In the same way you could say (wrong in your case) that you have a great knowledge, considerable for an employer who is seeking an expirienced English speaking assistant ect...

simply use "I thought that my English is understandable for most people" or "I must admit that my English is not the best" but I try to improve it.

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