Let's say you were asked by one of your relatives.

Question:Are good at using technology?(computer)

Answer#1: Well, I wouldn't call myself a computer buff, simply because I still have so much rooms to learn.


Answer#1: Well, I don't want to call myself a computer buff, simply because I still have so much rooms to learn.

What do the #1 actually mean? Is this just a style to be polite(would) or a hypothetical answer?

  • 3
    Side Note: It should be "room" (singular) as in "space to learn", instead of "rooms" (plural) as in "rooms of a house". May 24 '18 at 13:59
  • 2
    In principle, #1 means IF I were required to categorise myself, I wouldn't choose to say I'm a computer buff. In practice, there wouldn't be any difference in meaning between any of I wouldn't / couldn't / don't want to / wouldn't want to / etc. call myself [category I don't consider myself to be in]. May 24 '18 at 14:55

What you have here are examples of expressions of "pro-social" expressions.

In the context of your examples:

Answer #1, what the person is really saying

Yes, I'm good at using technology.

What's "non-social" about it?

"I'm good at using technology" can be interpreted as boastful, depending on the listener.

"Pro-social" version

"Well, I wouldn't call myself a computer buff (if anyone asked me) because I have so much to learn... (unspoken brag: but in reality, I'm really good) " -> (Generally) "Well, I wouldn't call myself an expert (if anyone asked me)... (unspoken brag: but in reality, I'm really good)

This example is an example of a "humble brag", so that the speaker doesn't seem overtly full of himself.

Side note: another example of a "pro-social" expression

The "pro-social" expression "I don't want to/I don't mean to..., but..." is used to make the speaker seem more considerate to the listener before he/she reveals something that's difficult to hear. Example:

I don't mean/want to be rude, but can you please speak more quietly?

  • I have never heard or came across this ''pro-social expression'', is this still English or psychology term? You're a native right? Or just in an english speaking country?
    – John Arvin
    May 24 '18 at 22:44
  • Yeah, native English speaker. I came up with it on-the-fly for purposes of explanation (to mean something that encourages smooth social communication), and confirmed that it meant something close to the definition here: en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/prosocial. I'm not using it strictly as a psychology term, nor as an English language term, which is why I put the term in quotes. May 24 '18 at 22:55

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