Heitor from Brazil had this question: “I studied English a long time ago and when some people speak to me in English I usually say that, “I lost my English.” What I want to say is that my English is not as good as years ago. Is this expression correct?
“I lost my English” is not what a native speaker would say, although a listener would very likely understand your meaning. There are several ways to say that your English isn’t as good as it had been at an earlier time. Two common ways are:
- “I don’t speak English (nearly) as well as I used to.”
- “My English isn’t (nearly) as good as it once was.”
Both of these mean that your English has deteriorated (become worse, usually over a period of time). (You can also say, “My English has deteriorated,” but it’s not commonly heard.) Note that by adding “nearly,” you are emphasizing that your English is much worse than it used to be.
Another couple of informal ways of saying this is:
- “My English has gotten (a lot) worse.” “Gotten” in this case means “has become,” and we use this construction mainly in informal situations and in spoken English. This is probably the most common way of expressing this meaning.
- “I can’t speak English very well anymore.” This implies (communicates without saying directly) that your English was very good or fairly good at one time, but it is not very good now.
If you spoke English in the past, but now can’t speak it at all, you can say:
- “I can’t speak English at all anymore.”
Thanks for the question, Heitor, and I hope you won’t be able to say this for very much longer.