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

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"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

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