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What is a more decent/formal alternative for the word suck? I want to use it in the context of being bad at something.

To be precise, I want to translate "To suck less at a job every day" to formal English.

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closed as general reference by MετάEd, tchrist, Carlo_R., FumbleFingers, Robusto Jul 17 '12 at 2:17

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

If your purpose is to use this for a CV, you should cast things in a positive, not negative, light. Even a negative construction phrased in acceptable formal English — say, "to be less awful at a job every day" — would be a red flag to recruiters. @AndrewLeach got it right when he told you to turn it around with a positive verb like improve. I suggest you try to focus on the bigger picture here. – Robusto Jul 15 '12 at 12:31
The formal synonym for suck is fellate, albeit perhaps not in quite the sense you mean here. :) – tchrist Jul 15 '12 at 15:25

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think you just used it. Any alternative is going to depend on exactly where you are using the phrase. A CV will need a different expression from chatting to your mother.

I'm bad at ...
I'm not all that good at ...
I find it difficult to ...
I can't ... for toffee.

If I tried to arrange flowers it would end up looking like a hedge.

To suck less is to improve:

Every day, I want to improve at ...
I'd like to get better at ...
I'm working at becoming more proficient in ...

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to be precise I want to translate "To suck less at a job everyday" to a formal English, yes for a CV like document. – Umer Hayat Jul 15 '12 at 12:12

You should be more careful because what you're writing is a CV and not just any story.

Basically, what you would like to say is that you suck but you are a "fast-learner."

Like you said, "I suck less at a job every day."

Now, the problem is how to word it because the expression "fast-learner" or "quick-learner" is actually a kind of cliche in CV writing.

You could say:

"Positive attitude with ability to adapt to new challenges."


"Enthusiastic, knowledge-hungry learner, eager to meet challenges and quickly assimilate new concepts."


"Succeeded in only _ months to educate myself in _ areas."

The last one is actually an example of how you can "show" and not "tell" that you are indeed a fast-learner.

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