Is there any difference between these two sentences? Which one is grammatical in speech?

  • I will do my best.
  • I will do my level best.
  • 1
    Have you looked up level in a dictionary? See definition 36. Apr 19, 2012 at 13:12
  • They are both correct/grammatical. The second one adds more color.
    – Mitch
    Apr 19, 2012 at 14:41
  • OP doesn't ask about the etymology of "level best" - which might be a bit more complex. I think it's General Reference that it means "very best", so all we're really dealing with here is the difference between trivial and very trivial. Nov 10, 2012 at 16:28
  • A lesser stackexchange might have provided a single link to a standard internet reference source. For anyone else who stumbled upon this like myself, The Free Dictionary has a good definition drawn from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs: idioms.thefreedictionary.com/level+best Jan 26, 2017 at 22:15

2 Answers 2


Go for "I will do my best." "level best" is cliched and unnecessary to express this idea.

  • thanks for rpl ,but once i said "I will do my best" my senior (having good communication skills) corrected me, "I will do my level best."
    – nibha
    Apr 19, 2012 at 13:17
  • 1
    I half-guessed from the question that you are from India. Tell your senior he/she is using a hackneyed, dull and needless phrase. This is passe now.
    – Bravo
    Apr 19, 2012 at 13:21
  • 6
    That's awfully prescriptive. Level is merely an intensifier, shop-worn though it may be, and does bolster the assertion a bit.
    – Robusto
    Apr 19, 2012 at 13:28
  • 3
    @Robusto, I agree. See this interesting explanation of the origins of level best from a January 1899 periodical. books.google.com/…
    – JLG
    Apr 19, 2012 at 13:40
  • 5
    @Shyam - your link says that saying "level best" is fine. > There is nothing wrong in saying level best. Apr 19, 2012 at 14:02

Curiously, the statements

I will do my best.


I will do my level best.

are, on the face of it, assurances that the speaker intends to try hard and really hard, respectively. But they also can be used to cast doubt on the assertion. If someone gives you a task you feel is impossible to perform, responding with "I will do my best" actually can mean you believe you will fail even though you are going to try as hard as you are able. Adding "level" or any other intensifier can be used to enhance the mood of doubt.

Ain't English grand?

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