My English teacher ripped our heads off if we tried to explain something that we couldn't really describe by adding "something like that".

Sample: "This is a board game or something like that".

What are the better alternatives? "Something similar"?

  • Your teacher could answer this better than EL&U
    – tenfour
    Mar 26, 2011 at 0:06
  • My last English lesson was 9 years ago so I can't ask anymore :) Mar 26, 2011 at 1:09
  • As the other have suggested, there is nothing idiomatically wrong with "something like that", though "something similar" might be more common in a sentence like yours. Mar 26, 2011 at 2:03

1 Answer 1


"Something similar" is okay, and perhaps slightly better, but I don't think the phrasing was what made your teacher mad. Using "or something similar" does not explain something you couldn't really translate; it just is noise, and does not add anything. Leave it off.

  • 2
    This is pretty much it. I think your teacher is trying to get you to put more thought into your explanations.
    – Yozomiri
    Mar 26, 2011 at 0:00
  • 1
    @WarrenFaith: You're not the only one :) Many of my teachers hated that phrase, as well. Even my physics teacher would not have his students reply any question whatsoever using that phrase. For instance, one could hear the following exchange: "Are you in [...]'s class?" "Something like that, sir." Absolument ridicule. Yes, avoid it like the plague!
    – Jimi Oke
    Mar 26, 2011 at 0:06

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