I often stumble over the fact that in English, apparently, we imply the reverse when we negate a positive. For example,
That wasn't very good. [⇒ That was bad.]
That wasn't bad. [⇒ That was good.]
Sometimes I wish to convey a more literal meaning of "That was not very good.", i.e.: "That wasn't very good, but it almost was." (I think there are a couple more contexts in which this problem has arisen, but I can't think of them at the moment.)
Is there a proper way to do this? Or a more efficient way than explicitly outlining the precise measurement, as in "That was better than good, but not quite very good."?