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I read somewhere that the expression "I'll do my best" doesn't sound very positive. Is this true? If so, how do you say to assure the listner of your enthusiasm and determination to perform to the maximum extent of your ability.

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    The idiomatic phrase has an inherent non-committal tone to it and is usually a glossing over for no more than a 'let me see.' On the other extreme, a guy boasting to his girl would want to say 'I shall die for you' (when he means, 'let me try, only if it doesn't cost a bomb.') -- We still need something middle-ground, something real.
    – Kris
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 14:46
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    Maybe the listener is assured of your enthusiasm and determination but not your capability. Would you rather your surgeon be someone who has performed the procedure flawlessly 10,000 times before or a complete novice? The experienced surgeon does not need to do his best to outperform the novice.
    – emory
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 17:31
  • Part of the problem is that several "authorities" in motivation and management have decreed that "I'll do my best" is not good enough, so the phrase has become "poisoned".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 19:41

3 Answers 3

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It depends on the degree of enthusiasm with which it is said. If it occurs as ‘I'll do my best, but I’m not promising anything’, then it doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence. To sound more positive, a speaker would have to say something like ‘I’m going to do my very best, because I really want to help you’. Assuming it’s spoken, much depends on the tone of voice, and indeed on the facial expression, with which it is delivered.

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"I'll do my best", in fact, does not say that it will get done and is subjective since 'your best' may not be enough to accomplish the task, regardless of your good intentions.

If you want to give the most positive response, you would have to say something like this:

"I will get it done."

Or

"Rest assured, it will get done."

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Rest assured is very good (thank you Kristina), but more in the spirit of "I'll do my best" is

"You can count on me!"

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