Posted by ESC on June 24, 2007
In Reply to: Not bad at all posted by Juan on June 24, 2007
: Can the phrase: "Not bad at all" mean anything else but pretty good in American English? I'm a Filipino and learning English as a second language. My friend Rain asked me what I thought about her friend Honey's picture and to which I replied: "Not bad, not bad at all". Meaning I was pleased with what I saw, or so I thought. Rain told Honey and she took offense with what I said. I tried to defend myself saying that I meant she looked pretty but she wouldn't believe the expression "not bad at all" means pretty good. Have I used the expression the wrong way somehow?
No. You used it correctly. "Not bad at all" is an understatement. You were actually saying you thought she looked quite good.