I was asked to introduce myself and what languages I spoke. So I mentioned all the languages I know and in the end, I added "... and I can speak a little bit of German"

After I said that, I was wondering if I used the correct expression. Should it have been:

  1. I can speak some German
  2. I can speak a little German
  3. I can speak a little bit German
  4. I can speak a little bit of German
  5. All 1-4
  6. None of 1-4

Please provide your comments.

  • 3
    Welcome to EL&U. You may be interested in our sister site for English Language Learners, but the short answer is that all are fine except #3, where German would probably be interpreted as an adverbial usage.
    – choster
    Jun 24, 2014 at 13:52
  • As others have said, all but #3 work. Interestingly enough, in German you would say "Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsche," which translates to "I speak a little German." (Well, I think it is interesting, at least.)
    – RaneWrites
    Jun 24, 2014 at 18:30
  • @MrsLannister, you made a good point connecting the German translation.
    – KSK
    Jun 25, 2014 at 5:13

2 Answers 2


Any of 1,2 or 4, I would say; but they imply a subtly different amount of knowledge, with 1 being the most and 4 the least.

The form in 3 feels ungrammatical, though I think it might be used in some dialects.

  • 5
    (3) means that you can assume a slight German accent.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 24, 2014 at 14:16
  • 1
    Good point, @Andrew. :-) Jun 24, 2014 at 14:17
  • Thank you @Andrew. Asking the question was the easy part. Selecting the right answer is tough.
    – KSK
    Jun 25, 2014 at 5:11

All of them but three are grammatically correct; I think preference probably stems from the dialect of the speaker. Four is more common in the SE US.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.