The mess in your room reflects on you.

Is this sentence idiomatic? (The intended meaning is "the mess=your status of mind or situation")

  • 4
    It's "okay", but I'm guessing most native speakers would include a negative / critical adverb in such contexts: The mess in your room reflects badly on you, His polite reply reflected well on him. The relevant definition from the full OED being 11b. (intransitive.) To throw (indirect) light on a person or thing; to be revealing about; (also with modifying adverb) to reveal in a particular light; to create a (good, bad, etc.) impression. May 24 at 11:55

The OP's example is completely understandable but, as @FumbleFingers in the comments suggested, it really needs the adverb badly

  1. The mess in your room reflects on you.
  2. The mess in your room reflects badly on you. (idiomatic)

However, in this type of expression, the speaker is often expressing disappointment and is warning the listener that he or she is making a bad impression.

Instead, if the speaker's intention is to say that the room is an accurate reflection of the listener's personality or lack of organisational skills then I'd suggest the following:

  1. The mess in your room is the epitome of your disorganisation

From Wikipedia

An epitome (/ɪˈpɪtəmiː/; Greek: ἐπιτομή, from ἐπιτέμνειν epitemnein meaning "to cut short") is a summary or miniature form, or an instance that represents a larger reality, also used as a synonym for embodiment.


  1. The mess in your room speaks volumes about you. [i.e your untidiness]

from Cambridge Dictionaries

If something speaks volumes, it makes an opinion, characteristic, or situation very clear without the use of words. • She said very little but her face spoke volumes.

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