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“My English Isn’t as Good as it Once Was.”

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QUESTION:
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?

ANSWER:
“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.

~ Lucy

17 Responses to ““My English Isn’t as Good as it Once Was.””

  1. emiliano Says:

    Well I think that´s true for me, my English isn´t as good as once was. There was a time when my English was as good as to get a Cambrige Certificate that proves it, but it was in another life.
    Now I have to thanks Lucy and Jeff that it´s going on again, I have improved my understanding and reading so much that it seems I am living in another world…..the world of understanding the songs, the news and so many things, but I have no body to speak to, so I use to speak aloud being alone what is very funny if anybody may see me or listen to me.

    Also the blog is a good place to speak aloud as when writing I can imagine I am speaking with each one of our friends.

  2. Julio Says:

    My English is so bad that I look forward to crying. There was such a bad student of English that nobody could understand him. My English is nowdays as bad as it has always been.
    Of course, I am joking, but studying English is terribly difficult. Indeed, this potential achievement is going to require from myself more effort than a new degree. Fortunately, I have to ESL pod to be able to improve my English.
    I need quite a bit of patient, I know, but I don´t have anyone to complain about it!
    Best regards from Spain,
    Julio (Jack).

  3. Peter Says:

    Thanks Lucy,

    Lucy ,If I may

    My English is rusty , Or My English is getting rusty .I must brush up on( practise ) my English ability or command.
    Another common way of saying it is : I used to speak English fluently ,but now my English is not as good. Or ,simply my English is not as good
    Or, My English is not as good as it used to be( awfuly common/).
    I can’t speak English like before,very common,
    I can’t speak a word of English anymore( more sophisticated)\Or I can’t speak any English

    Can you speak English like before ? HARDLY ANY( almost none)

  4. Peter Says:

    If your English working command Is deteriorating , your solution to the problem is EslPod. Eslpod episodes are The best medicine available.Good thing is they are all over the counter episodes.( LoL)

    Good one, hah

    All the joking aside . Stick to them ,Eslpod is a safe haven for all of us

  5. Peter Says:

    aside,stick

  6. Peter Says:

    Julio,

    If Tears well up In your eyes sometimes ,they should be the tears of joy. Dont Bawl your eyes out sis. Just stick to JEff And Lucy. you will get fluent before you can say jack robinson

    by the way, If you guys ask. I got cashed out 350 dollars for one stupid speeding ticket. afyer the court,I saw The police officer grin at me in triumph ,as I walked past by him at the foyer

  7. Peter Says:

    Dear Lucy and Jeff ,

    I just finished listening to the latest beautifully crafted episode of yours. As I expected ,very constructive and helpful. Truth to be told,I can’t afford to lose you guys. If you still have in mind to step down, please do me a favour and cushion the blow.Until then, I will practice rolling up with the punches.(you have my word on it ,although still I am trying to wrap my head around the rummer)
    It is past midnight.I didn’t get enough sleep last night ,just tossed and turned,now lack of sleep is catching up to me( I am half-sleep) . The thing is ,I have to be up for another hour or two. No sweat, I can make it through.

    By now,

  8. Bakhtiar Says:

    In my view speaking any language as foreign or second language, it depends on practicing and allocating enough time for studying, i think focusing on speaking as the only yardstick for assessing your level in knowing any language is unfair- don’t forget reading and writing and listening, if you take exam in Engilsh language you have to have good reading speed and , and good writing skill also for listening, so don’t be so obsessed if your speaking skill deteoriorated these days. try to listen as much as you can and this practice will help you to look better when you are speaking.

  9. malika Says:

    hello, that’s exactly what’s happening to me, my english has gotten worse, even much worse than I expected. I do know that because I didn’t practice it a long time ago, really any language needs practicing even a little bit each day is enough and has effective results. I hope I didn’t say foolish things , as I didn’t write something in english for a long time.
    Thanks to Dr. Lucy and Dr. Jeff for their efforts, really.

    Malika from morocco

  10. Balj Says:

    Thanks Lucy and Heitor for the Q&A.
    I don’t practice my English every day as well as I used to before 2 years back. From recently, I’ve been known ESL podcast by my friend and trying to learn every new pieces on the site.
    thanks a lot :-).

  11. francesco Says:

    Nice to know this expressions. In Fact every time I want to tell others that my english isn’t as good as it once was, I usually say that I had lost my english… Perfect! Great! Now my english is getting better and better . Step by step we’ll reach Jeff and Lucy!… I hope:-)

  12. Mohamad Osama Says:

    i really appreciate Lcy’s comment, but Emiliano and Heitro hace said, “my english is’nt as goog as years ago” “my English isn´t as good as once was”.
    Actually, this isn’t a quite correct comparison. you should have said,” my english isn’t as good as it was years ago” or “my english isn’t as good as it once was”

  13. emiliano Says:

    Thank you Mohamad Osama, I can see my mistake and that´s confirm what I wanted to say “that my english isn´t as good as it was years ago”, just
    because I didn´t talk or read along too many years, but now I have ESL.(Jeff, Lucy and the team) and I hope it shall be good once again.

    Thanks again Osama and regards.

  14. Alireza Says:

    Thanks To Dr. Jeff & Dr. Lucy, I strongly believe that nobody’s English is going to deteriorate and get worse if they listen to Esl Podcasts regularly. That’s a fact, I’m not an old user of the eslpod.com website, perhaps It’s something like 2 months, but I feel like there has been a great improvement in my English. I really appreciate the high level of dedication that the website managers devote to their jobs. For sure, learning English for non native English language speakers, is something that should be accompanied by persistence and love! These two factors have really been inspired me by your Website. Thank you.

  15. Peter Says:

    Guys,

    We must be grateful. In deed ,they are teaching us at a high level of excellence. As I said before , we must keep practising till we develop a muscle memory for it.

    we must not put the text book down till we start dreaming in English.passing throuh the stage, we are safe to slack off( slow down) a bit.

    Truth to be told , . there is an steryotyp that as one’s flight touches down an English-speaking country land ,one got an English shot and they are good to go. it is so wrong . I am telling you,wether or not you live in an English-speaking country ,you must burn the midnight oil every single darn night to get a hang of this untameable language.

  16. kobe.Su Says:

    I should put in mind never forget to fill in the CAPTCHA CODE before submitting comment……..crying….it’s not the first time i have to write over again….T.T

    i was saying that i agreed to friend Bakhtiar’s point about allocating enough time for studying, is also important. the more time i spend on ESL, the more i learn of native English, the better English i can speak. (compare with myself). for the time i cant come here for weeks, or moths (that’s very worse), i can feel obvious the lack ablity of specking English. and the more Englist i studied, the more modest i am being, by realizing there’s still much much more for me to learn, i know too little about the language/history/life…..etc, and my English is so not good enough.

    Best Wishes for all frinds, Fighting!!!

  17. ESLPodcast Group Says:

    Thanks