What do people mean when they say:

"I don't think it was that bad."

Does this phrase have only one possible correct meaning or use? Does it require further context to be provided in order to understand it?


On its own

I don't think it was that bad.

is a generally unenthusiastic comment on something, such as

  • It was not very good.
  • I almost liked it.
  • It was reasonable.

However, if someone has just made a remark, then the phrase is a reply in context:

I thought the food was disgusting.
It wasn't that bad.

meaning, "I don't think it was as bad as you are saying."

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