I can say "I am a novice in English" or "I am a newbie in English". Is there any difference between these?

closed as primarily opinion-based by FumbleFingers, Rory Alsop, tchrist, aedia λ, choster Jul 18 '14 at 14:03

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


"Newbie" is extremely informal, whereas "novice" has a somewhat old-fashioned sound to it. "Beginner" might be a better choice than either of your candidates.


Newbie: someone who has just started doing an activity , a job , etc.: (The guide helps newbies understand the internet).

Novice: a person who is not experienced in a job or situation : (I've never driven a car before - I'm a complete novice), (This is quite a difficult plant for novice gardeners to grow).

Yes you can say "I am a novice in English" or "I am a newbie in English". You can also say "I am a beginner in English". Rookie is also a related word but it is used more commonly in jobs and sports context.


The difference is in the connotation. It is considered more rude to call someone a newbie than to call someone a novice. Also, a newbie could be someone new to something rather than a novice being someone who's always inexperienced.

  • I think part of it is generation-related. I'm in my mid-thirties and I wouldn't consider being called a newbie as rude. I suspect many people in my age group or younger would feel similarly about this. – cornishninja Jun 7 '17 at 16:06
  • @cornishnjnja looking back at this 3 years later, "newbie" has sort of become obsolete in my experience. Now I hear "noob" more, and only in gaming-related situations – Cilan Jun 7 '17 at 17:18
  • I wish I could agree 100%. Sadly, I can't. "Newbie" is still being used often enough in my experience, that it hasn't quite become obsolete. If someone calls you a "noob", or worse, a "n00b", then you're being mocked. As a side note, I play World of Warcraft. ;) – cornishninja Jul 27 '17 at 2:48

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