I've used the expression "to be something else" in a lot of different contexts. I'm wondering now whether sometimes I have used it wrongly. This is when I have said it to refer to someone as a mess or a disaster. e.g.:

A: "He lost his phone again".
B: "Really? I can't believe it. He's something else".

Is the use of this expression correct to say such things? Can this phrase be used negatively?

  • 1
    Cambridge Dictionary says something else: unusual, especially extremely good or extremely bad. Commented Aug 19, 2023 at 23:25
  • 2
    Every compliment can work sarcastically and therefore negatively. You humble child, you. Sweets for the sweet. Classy. A god. Big help. Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 12:56

1 Answer 1


Something else has a pretty broad scope: It can be used both positively or negatively, the only requirement is that it be referring to an extreme.


unusual, esp. extremely good or extremely bad:


  1. To be hilarious and extremely entertaining.
    Jack's story was something else, wasn't it? I thought I was going to cry, I was laughing so hard!

  2. To be very remarkable or intriguing.
    That performance was something else, Sarah. I've never seen anything like it!

  3. To be abhorrent or repugnant.
    I mean, we've all done things we're not proud of. But stealing money from your dying mother? That's something else, Marty.

So, no, you're not wrong to use it as you did.

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