What's the adjective I can use when my English skills (or other skills I've been working on for quite a long time) are not improving and depressed about it? For example:

Lately, I've been feeling adjective because I feel like my English is not improving.

What I want to say is something like depressed or exhausted, kind of feeling you have when you doubt about yourself and you're stuck at the same level, but none of those words seem natural.

I've also looked up some synonyms, but sad or gloomy seems too strong and I'm not sure about low or down. Are those right words?

I wanted to ask for a proper word I can use in this context.


7 Answers 7


At first I thought you might be feeling dejected which according to Lexico means


Sad and depressed; dispirited.
She never looked dejected or dispirited, though she had all the reason.

Then I noticed the word dispirited and Lexico says


Having lost enthusiasm and hope; disheartened.
Behind in races, he would find himself becoming dispirited and not fighting as hard as he should.

So you might say

Lately, I've been feeling dispirited because my English is not improving.

  • 3
    I like disheartened even more than dispirited. Either one would work, though.
    – J.R.
    Aug 2, 2019 at 14:34
  • 5
    discouraged would be the best of all Aug 2, 2019 at 15:57
  • 1
    Had I answered this, I would have answered with dejected. Aug 2, 2019 at 19:08

I strongly believe FRUSTRATED is your word of choice here.


frustrated (adjective): feeling annoyed or less confident because you cannot achieve what you want.

Are you feeling frustrated in your present job?

  • 2
    I feel like frustrated carries a connotation of annoyance or even mild anger. If that doesn't one mirror one's true feelings, one might use discouraged instead.
    – J.R.
    Aug 2, 2019 at 14:30
  • 1
    I agree with annoyance, but I don't think I've every felt mild anger (or any degree, to be honest) whenever I read frustrated. Maybe it's just me, though. Aug 2, 2019 at 14:37
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    I guess I was saying that I can imagine how a student might throw down their book in frustration, but not so much in discouragement. But maybe agitated would have been a better word than anger?
    – J.R.
    Aug 2, 2019 at 14:47
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    Aah, I get it now. I see... it does evoke that feeling. Good catch. Aug 2, 2019 at 14:50
  • 1
    It can, but I suppose it doesn't have to. I think frustration can have many shades and flavors.
    – J.R.
    Aug 2, 2019 at 15:08

A complete idiomatic expression for that situation is "I'm stuck in a rut with my English learning." That describes the situation of not making progress while ineffectively investing work. You could also use this in the sentence you proscribe, it's just not a single word then: "Lately, I've been feeling stuck in a rut because I feel like my English is not improving." but that's a lot of "feel" there.


I believe the word 'stagnating' would be properly used here. Definition: "ceasing to develop; becoming inactive or dull."

I recognize that this word does not work in the sentence structure provided by the poster of the question, but the sentence could easily be modified to "I feel like my progress with learning English is stagnating."

While the word does not inherently communicate that you are frustrated with this outcome, I think that it is implied when you are using the word in the context of the development of your own abilities.

Hope this helps!


Appreciate this has been answered already, but I think despondent, or disheartened. "Despondent" implying loss of hope which is ongoing or continuing. "Disheartened" more or less implies your hope has gone.
Dispirited is a great fit too, though it doesn't sound so correct to my English ear in that exact sentence if you use "feeling" in front of it. I would go for "Lately, I've been feeling despondent because my English is not improving." or "Lately, I've been dispirited/disheartened because my English is not improving."


There are some slightly less common but still beautiful words like;

Sullen “gloomily or resentfully silent or repressed”

Might be used if you are keeping the disappointment inside.

Morose: “marked by or expressive of gloom”

Could be used if the disappointment is more palpable to the observer.


Inadequate and likely cromulent

  • Links to sources please?
    – shin
    Aug 7, 2019 at 6:52

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