Let's say you have expressed your concern to your boss as a call center agent, regarding holding back (you are a non-native English speaker). You say:

I've got no plans of holding back when expressing myself in English. I want to use English to converse with my co-workers. I don't like holding myself back speaking in English just for the sake of saying to them that I know how to blend in.

For clarity: "holding back" as a non-native English speaker who work as a call center agent means every time a problem occurs at work, you verbal it out in English instead of using your 1st language. Your co-workers might see this behaviour as bragging because you express your concerns in English.

Some say that the bold letters are phrased unusually. I think there is a fixed phrase to express this idea, but I can't get the phrase out in English.

  • The sentence in bold is not phrased oddly. It simply has no meaning in English. The first sentence is not perfectly idiomatic English, but its meaning is quite clear. The second sentence is far beyond odd. You need to express the idea that you have in mind much more fully and in words completely different from those in bold. Otherwise, I suspect that this question will be closed for lack of clarity. Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 3:18
  • Please see the addition I've just applied to it.
    – John Arvin
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 3:54
  • Thank you very much for your clarifications. Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 4:36
  • I think the point about the sentence in bold is more that it has at least two conflicting meanings in English... and native English speakers who don't recognize that fact are going to understand it to mean different from what the non-native English speakers who don't recognize the multiple meanings most of the time.
    – Ed Grimm
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 5:13
  • @EdGrimm The question has been edited. The original sentence in bold was what is now the title. The revision is comprehensible if just a bit verbose. I think the issue now is how to express the thought more concisely and idiomatically. Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 5:19

1 Answer 1


There are a number of phrases that you may be thinking about. The one that immediately jumps to mind is

not hide your light under a bushel,

but that is an explicit allusion to a Christian text and so might either be misunderstood or resented by non-Christians.

Another way you might phrase it is

I have no intention of holding back on my use of English. Indeed, I plan to talk with my co-workers in English even if that makes me stand out a bit from the crowd

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