Need some other, BETTER ways to explain that you don't like something? Wondering what you can say instead? Don't say “I don't like it” – I'm sharing loads of useful alternatives! You can be direct with your meaning, and not be rude – and that's exactly what I'm sharing in this lesson!
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Well hey there I'm Emma from mmmEnglish and today I'm going to share some different, some more appropriate ways of saying that you don't like something. Now of course, it's okay to say “I don't like it” It's simple, it's direct and it communicates your message clearly but there are lots of different situations where that might sound a little rude or a little too direct.
You might also be interested in learning more natural everyday expressions that native English speakers use when they don't like something. If that sounds like you, you're in the right place because I'm sharing twenty alternatives to I don't like it so that you can communicate clearly and effectively and naturally in English so let's get into the lesson!
“I don't like it” is obviously a negative thing but today we're going to talk about a whole bunch of different ways that you can express that same negative idea in English and I've got some really casual, informal expressions and some idioms to share with you, ones that I use all the time instead of saying “I don't like it” along with some more formal, maybe more polite ways of saying that you dislike something.
Most of the time when we say “I don't like it” we don't mean to offend anyone, we need to say it politely, right?
But then there's times when you're chatting with your friends, you know people that you're close to or really comfortable with and you might want to be a little more direct or honest about your feelings. I know you know what I mean.
So I'm going to include this little dial on screen with each expression we go through to help you understand how intense the meaning is. You know sometimes we just want to hint that we don't like something but other times we want to be super clear, we want to emphasise how much we really, really, really don't like the idea.
So this little dial is going to show you how intense the meaning is in each of these expressions so that you can choose one that's most appropriate for the situation.
So let's look at “I don't like” something. It could be food, it could be music, any activity but not people.
I'm really deliberately highlighting this because not all of the expressions that I'm gonna go through now can be used in every context okay? The ones that I'm sharing first are usually used when we're talking about things, not people.
So think of this simple question “Do you like Thai food?”
1. It's not my favourite.
Now this is a bit of a cheeky response. I'm not saying I don't like it but I'm implying that I don't like it by avoiding the question and this is something that I do all the time when I don't want to hurt someone's feelings. I might say:
- It's not my favourite, there are other things that I like more.
2. It's not my thing
I could also say “It's not my thing”
And that might seem like a really odd response here, usually when we say that's not my thing, we're talking about something, a notebook or a pen. We're saying I don't own it, it's not mine.
However when it's used as a fixed expression in this context it's an informal but still quite a polite way of saying that you don't like something.
- Do you want to join our cycling club?
Cycling's not really my thing.
3. I'm not into (something)
We can also just say “I'm not into it”
- I'm not into something.
- I'm not into Thai food or I'm not into contact sports.
- I'm not into Christmas.
So what about those times when you want to respond a little more respectfully?
I've got a few different options to share here and it really helps if you think about a situation where you might need to show respect with your answer.
So imagine this situation. You're invited to a friend's house and they introduce you to a friend of theirs, a Thai friend and you're chatting away having a good time and then they ask you: “Do you like Thai food?” and you think not really.
(By the way, this is just an example. I love Thai food. It's just an example)
So in this situation, you can take my trick from before and respond by talking about what you do like instead so you kind of dodge the question a little so you could answer by saying:
4. I prefer…
- I prefer Italian food.
- To be honest, I'd rather eat Japanese food when I go out.
Even more formal or more polite again is to simply respond by saying:
5. It's not to my taste
You know especially when you're talking about food or you're talking about style then you can say “It's not to my taste.”
- Do you want to come to the Tame Impala concert with me?
So you could say: “Nah I don't like them“
But you could also choose your words a little more carefully and you could say:
6. I'm not a fan of (something)
- I'm not really a fan of them.
- I'm not a fan of something.
- I'm not a fan of Tame Impala.
This expression works really well for bands and for music and movies, things like that but it can also be used in lots of different contexts just to mean I don't like it.
- I'm not a big fan of strawberries.
- I'm not a fan of queuing at restaurants.
So what if someone's suggesting an idea? They obviously really like this idea but you don't. There's some great idioms that you can use in this situation. You can say that:
7. I'm not crazy about (something)
- I'm not crazy about it.
- I'm not crazy about this idea.
Most of the time when we're using this expression, we're using it to say that we don't like an idea or maybe a suggestion that someone's had.
- I'm not crazy about the idea of driving through the night for fifteen hours.
- Do you want to wake up at 5am on Sunday and go for a ten kilometre run?
8. Uhh… I'd rather not
- I'd rather not, I don't like that idea.
I'd rather sleep in on my Sunday morning, right? It's the only day of the week where I get to do it.
So I'm using I'd rather, again just as a more polite and more indirect way of saying no I would not like to do that.
9. (something) is not my cup of tea
When we're talking about an activity that we don't like then we can also use this great idiom to say that it's not our cup of tea, you know.
- Getting up early and going for a run on a Sunday morning is not my cup of tea.
All right here's your first piece of homework.
Has anyone ever made a suggestion to you that you just didn't like the sound of?
- Let's spend our holidays doing a short course in accounting.
I don't like accounting.
- I got your mum a worm farm!
She doesn't like worms.
See if you can respond to one or both of these ideas using one of the expressions that you've just learned.
So we're still thinking about those times when someone makes a suggestion that you don't really like.
10. (something) doesn't tickle my fancy
You could say “that doesn't tickle my fancy” Now usually this expression is used when someone suggests an activity or maybe an idea for an activity.
- Why don't we go skiing on the weekend?
Nah, that doesn't tickle my fancy.
If you don't like the idea of something or the concept of something like marriage or waking up early then, you can simply just say:
11. It's not for me
So it's quite casual, really relaxed informal way of saying that it's not something that I like. It's not something that I enjoy.
- I've come to realise that marriage is not for me. I don't really like the idea of marriage.
- Early mornings are not for me.
Actually, if I was to be honest, I'd say that sleep-ins are not for me. I like being awake early. What about you? Do you like being awake early or do you like to sleep in?
See if you can make a sentence using one of these expressions and add it down in the comments below.
So now we're ready to talk about I don't like a person. When you're talking about a person you don't like, we've got to be a little bit careful, don't we? Again we can use I'd rather.
12. I'd rather not…
I'd rather you didn't (+ verb)
But we've got to make sure that we're talking about the action, not the person. I'd rather not do something with them because I don't like them, okay:
- I'd rather not see them.
- I'd rather not meet them.
- I'd rather not go to their house or hang out with them.
- Is it okay if I invite Jess to your birthday?
I'd rather you didn't. We don't get along. We don't really like hanging out with each other.
- I'd rather you didn't. We've never really clicked.
So when you click with someone, your personalities match and you get along really, really well but here we're using it in a negative way, aren't we?
13. We never really clicked
We're saying we never really clicked. We never really enjoyed hanging out with each other so I don't want her to come. I don't really like her.
Now if you're looking for a much stronger meaning then you can say:
14. I can't stand her/him
- I'd rather you didn't invite her, I can't stand her.
A little more formal but still just as strong as I can't stand her is:
15. I find her intolerable
- I'd rather you didn't invite her. I find her intolerable.
All right now is the part that I know you've been hanging out for. We're going to talk about some options that have a much stronger meaning okay so when you really, really want to make it clear that you don't like something.
You're not worried about being polite, you want your message to be crystal clear, you don't like it. I'm serious, you don't like it. I want everyone to know that.
16. I find (something) intolerable
17. I can't stand (something)
So we just talked about using I find someone intolerable or I can't stand someone. We can use both of these expressions to talk about people or things and probably specifically activities.
- I can't stand watching cricket.
- I find horse racing intolerable.
And there are some really, really strong synonyms of dislike so if you want to get serious say that you loathe something or someone or you detest them or you despise them.
- I loathe the idea of getting stuck on a cruise ship for three whole weeks.
- I detest the way he takes credit for Sam's work.
- I despise people who leave their cigarette butts in the sand at the beach, it's disgusting.
21. Disapprove of (someone's behaviour)
You can also say in a really strong way that you disapprove of someone's behaviour if you don't like what they're doing.
- I know John's going through a rough time at home but I really disapprove of him turning up late every day.
22. To have no desire (to do something)
No desire whatsoever
If you want to make it really clear that you don't want to do something, then you can say “I have no desire to do it”
- I have no desire to spend three weeks on a sailing boat in the middle of the ocean.
And if you want to make it even stronger again you can add: no desire whatsoever.
- I have no desire to spend my holiday completing an accounting course. No desire whatsoever.
What do you have no desire to do? No desire whatsoever. Make sure you share it with me down in the comments. I'm super curious now.
So that's it, my friends, they are my suggestions on alternatives that you can use for I don't like it. I wonder if you can think of any others? There are so many different and quite frankly better ways of saying that you don't like something in English so I hope that you were able to build on your vocabulary and learn something new with me today.
Keep practising your natural English expression with me right here in this imitation lesson and make sure you subscribe to mmmEnglish as well. You can do that right down here. I make new lessons every week. You've got to subscribe if you want to keep up to date.
Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next lesson!