since 1997, the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English
Get your 7 Secrets FREE

let me put it this way | how shall I put it?

This page is about the conversational phrase let me put it this way | how shall I put it?

Meaning

You can say this before telling someone what you really think, esp. if you're saying it as politely or gently as you can.

For example

  • When asked about the history teacher, the principal said, "Let me put it this way. He knows his history, but his teaching skills could be better."

  • "What's Daniel's new girlfriend like?"
    "Well, I don't think she's - how shall I put it? - ever going to be a top model. But she seems nice enough."

Note:
Also "let me put it like this"

Quick Quiz

You can say "let me put it this way" or "how shall I put it?" if you're

a. changing something's position

b. saying what you really think

c. not sure what to think

Contributor: Matt Errey