4

How can i express some personal attitude in english? If i take someone as a friend, deep in heart i have a friendly attitude towards him,and if i dislike someone i may have negative attitude towards that person.But i dont know how to express such attitude in proper way. if i say ' i have good|bad attitude towards him', it sounds far from native tone. so what is the idiomatic way to express the feeling??

closed as too broad by starsplusplus, user6951, Chenmunka, user3169, jimsug Dec 1 '14 at 16:45

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Your question requires an extensive answer. There are many ways to express your attitude towards a person. You need to describe a specific situation or give an example of conversation where you would like to express your attitude. – user11470 Dec 1 '14 at 14:25
  • 5
    You'd normally just say "I like him" (or "I don't like him", as appropriate). If you want to be more formal / "starchy" you might say "I'm not well disposed towards him", but that's just one of many different ways to say much the same thing. – FumbleFingers Dec 1 '14 at 14:27
  • 2
    @CopperKettle … not unless you're hoping to go out on a date ;-) It has slight romantic overtones. – Tetsujin Dec 1 '14 at 14:49
  • 2
    @CopperKettle: To a certain extent it's sometimes possible to distinguish "I feel good about him" as being equivalent to "I have a good feeling about him", which isn't quite the same thing as liking him. You could in principle "feel good" (experience feelings that you like having) about someone you don't particularly care about (perhaps because you have reason to think they'll do something you want, and it pleases you to think about that). – FumbleFingers Dec 1 '14 at 14:58
  • 2
    @Tetsujin I disagree, there's nothing inherently romantic at all (not even slightly) about that statement. "Good feeling" can often mean that the speaker thinks the person will work out well in some role, position, etc. For example, "I feel good about him" is a statement I've made in conversations with managers after interviewing potential hires. – Esoteric Screen Name Dec 1 '14 at 15:13
7

This sort of direct statement about one's feelings toward another person isn't particularly common in American English, but there are equivalent statements that are commonly used.

First, the phrases "bad attitude" and "good attitude" have specific meanings that have very little to do with what you're looking for. Instead they describe a person's outlook in life, or their ability to work with a group. If I say, "John has a bad attitude," I mean that John is not being helpful and that he is a negative person (in the context of whatever we're working on together.) If I say, "I have a bad attitude toward John," then I am saying that I am behaving poorly toward him and treating him unfairly. The fault is mine entirely.

The simplest way to make the sort of statement you seem to want is to state your affection for them with like/to be fond of/love/hate. All three of these involve some ambiguity, since they can be used to express increasingly positive feelings toward a person or thing in general but also to express increasing levels of romantic interest toward someone. Like is generally safest, but it's also boring.

I like John. or I dislike John.

Usually you would add to this a reason why you like or dislike him, particularly if there is a chance that you might be romantically interested in the person you've said that you like.

I like John; he's a hard worker.

I like John; his eyes are beautiful.

You can also use "to be fond of" for this sentiment, though it is a little old fashioned. It also tends to be directed toward the personal qualities of the object rather than toward his or her actions. You're not fond of someone because they are good at fixing computers, you're fond of them because they're kind or generous.

In my experience, the negative version of this is used as a softer version of disliking someone. I am not fond of John. is gentler than I dislike John. To be clear, this is my personal observation; I don't know how broadly applicable it is.

You would reserve love/hate for something that you felt very strongly positive or negative feelings toward. Love, when applied to people, usually means romantic interest, but not always. If I were talking about my favorite student, I might say, I love John, he's such a pleasure to teach. I would definitely supply a reason to express that my love is platonic and not romantic in this situation.

Hate is a very strong negative verb. It's fine to use on objects (I hate the taste of cabbage!) but be careful when applying it to people.

Finally, rather than describing our feelings about one another, we often just state our relationships and the feelings associated with them are assumed. John is my friend. John is my best friend. John is my boyfriend.

There are a hundred other ways to say this sort of thing that are situational, but without more information it's hard to say what would fit your needs.

  • Hi Jason. You lost me with the first paragraph. I guess I don't understand what you mean. Perhaps especially in light of your last paragraph which refers to a 'hundred other ways to say this sort of thing.' – user6951 Dec 2 '14 at 12:02
  • @CarSmack I was just saying that we don't often make a direct statement about the condition of our feelings. "I have positive feelings about X." It's perfectly grammatical and everyone would understand what was meant, but it's not something that is really said. Instead of describing the state of our feelings with a noun phrase, we tend to use verbs that describe our feelings. – Jason Patterson Dec 2 '14 at 21:35

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.