Portuguese has the expression "modéstia à parte" (literally: "modesty aside"), which is used to (still rather bluntly) introduce statements where the speaker praises himself. Is there something similar in English?

Most translations here actually miss the mark: "without being immodest" and "modestly speaking" actually have the opposite meaning. "Not to say modestly" seems to be the better one, but I don't know how idiomatic that is.


10 Answers 10


Well you, yourself suggest, 'Modesty aside'. It is quite commonly used.

Google ngram: modesty aside


Of course, all modesty aside, I'm the better swordsman. The Phantom's Opera By Sadie Montgomery 2007

  • 1
    This is the only answer that truly captures the attitude of the desired meaning! The other answers I'm seeing are suggesting "I'm looking for a modest-sounding way to hint, without outright admitting, that I'm aware that I'm about to say something that's actually immodest" whereas the intended meaning is a blunt "I explicitly acknowledge that this is going to be immodest, and I'm fine with that".
    – hemflit
    Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 10:55
  • According to ngram, it seems that @josh61 answer in all modesty is more frequent that "modesty aside".
    – Graffito
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 19:26
  • I favour this over the figurative variant that references musical instruments. Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 20:11

A frequently used idiom is:

"I don't want/like to blow my own trumpet but ..."

Example: I don't like to blow my own trumpet but I think you will find I'm rather good at answering these questions.

Here are some more examples

  • 16
    I've never heard it phrased this way, but I've very often heard "Not to toot my own horn", which is the exact same concept.
    – user116680
    Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 16:16
  • It appears that "blow your own trumpet" is UK and "toot your own horn" is NA. Regional differences aside, this was my first thought too, +1
    – Sabre
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 15:55

In UK English a common phrase used for this purpose is "though I shouldn't say so myself", for example:

Though I shouldn't say so myself, I am an excellent darts player.

There are regional variations of this, such as "though I say it as shouldn't" which can be rather impenetrable, but the standard version should be clear to any English speaker.

  • 10
    I usually hear it phrased slightly differently and placed after the declaration, as follows: "I'm great at everything, if I do say so myself." This doesn't meet the "introduce" part of the question but seems notable. Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 15:54
  • Hmm. To me "though I say it as shouldn't" has a completely different connotation, implying that the speaker is criticising someone for something they are themselves guilty of. "She should lose a bit of weight, though I say it as shouldn't." Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 20:29
  • Or, better, Strider to the Hobbits in Bree: "There are queer folk about. Though I say it as shouldn’t, you may think." Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 20:39
  • @DanielRoseman: I haven't heard it used in that particular context but it wouldn't surprise me in the least; it may be a regional thing.
    – Spratty
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 7:28

Yes. Not to pat myself on the back, but this is probably the best answer to your question :)

pat someone on the back

  1. Fig. to praise someone for something.



I don't mean to brag, but ... is often a lead-in to a joke.


In all modesty or modesty aside

  • something that you say when you are going to talk about your own achievements:

    • I have to say, in all modesty, that we wouldn't have won the game if I hadn't been playing.

Modesty aside:

  • Modesty aside, I am qualified to judge him. Against such a background, I had to decide whether to write this biography with or without Arafat's assistance. (Arafat, from Defender to Dictator)

Ngram: in all modesty, modesty aside

The Free Dictionary

  • 1
    Shucks, I was thinking "With all due modesty..." and now you've pre-empted it.
    – JEL
    Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 9:53
  • The definition here says "used to stress that a statement you are making about yourself is true even if it sounds like something said because of pride", but the idea of "modéstia à parte" is "let's put modesty aside". So the baseline of the first expression is that one would be boasting while the latter's would be that one would be reluctant to praise oneself. Cultural difference? :)
    – Artefacto
    Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 9:59
  • In my opinion, "modesty aside" means that you take the liberty of praising yourself and "in all modesty" means that you regret to be immodest. However, both are a polite way to apologize for boasting.
    – Graffito
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 19:44

Not to brag, but... is commonly used, in a semi-comic manner, when about to brag.


A suitable idiom would be:

At the risk of sounding immodest ...

For example:

At the risk of sounding immodest, I might add that I read extensively.

This expression directly acknowledges the fear of appearing immodest while you make a statement praising yourself.

Google Books search for this expression


There is the expression "to blow one's own horn". It is normally used in informal situations and usingenlgish.com defines it as

If you blow your own horn, you boast about your achievements and abilities. ('Blow your own trumpet' is an alternative form.)

A couple examples of how you could use it are "I hate to blow my own horn, but..." and "I try not to blow my own horn, however..."

EDIT: I didn't see @chasly from UK's answer but it's basically the same as this one. If no one objects I'll leave this answer too in case someone finds it useful.


"In my not so humble opinion..." conveys that the speaker is not feeling modest.

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