Podcast: Como fazer críticas em inglês

By Ana | Podcast Inglês Online

May 19
Podcast Como fazer críticas em inglês

Hello, everybody. How’s it going?

Nesse episódio do podcast Inglês Online falamos sobre vocabulário relacionado a fazer críticas.


Hi, all. Today we have a new episode of the inglesonline podcast. To download or just listen to other episodes and download transcripts, go to inglesonline.com.br and click Podcast Inglesonline.

Today I’d like to talk about a business-related topic… criticism. First things first – listen to the word criticism again: CRITICISM. It’s as if you had an “a” between the S and the M: “criticisam”. OK, so for the second time I’m using a newsletter issued by technology company HP, or Hewlet Packard, as inspiration. This time what caught my eye was the vocabulary involved when you’re criticizing someone’s work. Or maybe I should say, when you’re constructively criticizing someone’s work. It is still very common for people to take criticism the wrong way, or to be offended, and… of course, the way you deliver your criticism makes all the difference.

However if you are planning to maintain some kind of professional interaction with American people you probably should get used to giving and receiving constructive criticism. People say ‘constructive feedback’ as well… same thing. In the time I studied and worked in the United States, no matter what kind of project I was involved in there always came a time when we had to meet with other people in order to get some feedback. Of course it can be nerve-wracking, but if you’re lucky enough to have a good boss and peers, you probably won’t be caught off guard by that kind of meeting.

So the HP newsletter I read is all about how to make criticism and the language you can use for that. I recommend reading the entire article since it’s gonna give you some insight into American culture, and also because I’m only going to touch on a few expressions from the article here, so, just click the link here on the podcast and read it to become familiar with a lot more vocabulary related to criticism.

The article splits the suggestions in three categories, and the first one is mild criticism. Mild means soft or weak, something that isn’t strong or extreme. Do you get the idea of mild criticism? Mild criticism comes across more like a suggestion but, don’t be fooled, if it’s your boss giving you the suggestion my guess would be… you’d better take it! Listen to some phrases from the article that can be used to give mild criticism:

  • “I think it’s good but there are a couple of things I’d like changed.” Here your boss is basically saying he or she likes what you’ve done and there are a few things you should change.

Here’s a good one:

  • “I’m not sure if the figures you quote on page 5 are completely up to date. Could you please have another look at them and adjust them if necessary?” “Figures” means numbers. This is an indirect way to communicate that your boss thinks you made a mistake with the numbers and they would like you to check your figures again.

Let’s move on to a few examples of moderate criticism. This one is, of course, a bit stronger or more comprehensive than mild criticism.

  • “It’s basically fine but it’s not quite there yet.” That means, what you did is good, it’s in the right direction, I like it, but it’s not 100% yet; it’s not completely right yet. After your boss says that, he or she will probably let you know in more detail what you should add or change.

Here’s one more:

  • “First of all, I don’t think the figures that are included can be right. Could you please take another look at them?” So this is another way to ask you to revise your numbers, right? But this time around your boss is being more direct. It sounds like the mistakes you’ve made here are more serious than in the first example.

And now let’s look at a couple of examples of what the article called heavy criticism.

  • “It’s taken me a few days to get back to you with my feedback because there are quite a few points I’d like to discuss with you.” The article points out that “quite a few” means “a lot”, and I would agree with that. When your boss says there are a few points to discuss, he or she means ‘many points’ to dicuss. When they say “Do you have a minute? I’d like to discuss something with you” they really mean “Do you have a half hour?” and so on.

And here’s one more:

  • “Do you see what I’m getting at? Does this make sense?” Your boss is asking you if you understand what he or she is saying; if you’re getting the point; if you see what they mean. These are very common phrases to check whether you understand, whether you get what they’re saying. Do you see what I’m getting at? Does this make sense?

So these were my chosen examples for this podcast. I disagree with how the author of the article classified the expressions: some of them don’t sound like heavy criticism to me, but I guess it really would depend on the content of the criticism. What you might notice when you read through the list is that people usually try not to sound aggressive when they’re giving someone feedback. Many people use mild words and expressions to deliver their criticism.

So tell us: have you received some criticism at work recently? How was it delivered? What do you think about the expressions mentioned in the article?  Talk to you next time.

Link para o artigo original (não disponível)


Key expressions

Vocabulary concerning criticism.



constructive criticism = crítica construtiva

there always came a time when = sempre chegava uma hora em que

nerve-wracking = qualidade de algo que nos deixa muito nervosos

be caught off guard = ser pego desprevenido, ficar sem reação

if you’re lucky enough to = se você tiver a sorte de

I’m only going to touch on = eu só vou falar brevemente sobre

comprehensive = abrangente

Gabriel 20/08/2012

Hi Ana!

I received a mild criticism recently. My boss say that i could be a bit unmotivated. Really i was very unmotivated but I am changing his perception.

Carlos Schults 22/05/2012

I’ve got neither a mild criticism nor a moderate criticism – let alone a heavy criticism – to make about this awesome episode!

Um exemplo com nerve-wracking:
Speaking in front of a huge audience is usually a nerve-wracking experience for most people.

Estas frases estão corretas?

    Ana 24/05/2012

    Yep, that’s nerve wracking for most people.

    Thanks for the compliments;)

Zecca 22/05/2012

Hello Ana you are on the top of my englsih podcasts thank you so much for your help! So could you make a podcast about how to use the word EVER some times i have difficulties do use it. See you and thanks again ! Hugs from Rio !

Carol 21/05/2012

Hey ana, I think you’re amazing and very intelligent , Your podcasts are helping me a lot , I love reading it :**

Vera Abreu 21/05/2012

Dear Ana luiza.

Thanks a lot for this podscast.

Daniele 21/05/2012

Yeah Ana! Good podcast, as always. Well I’ve already received a mild criticism from my boss about something that he wasn’t satisfied. Well it was when I did some graphics with figures from company’s projects. He said: “Daniele, I like it but it’s not exactly what I want. You can better the kind of graphic and you could make it as if the figures were increasing through of the trimester instead of starting over again as if our projects had decreased through the whole year instead. Do you know what I mean?”
PS: if there’s something wrong in this comment, please correct me! :)

    Ana 24/05/2012

    Nice example, Daniele! I think you meant “…you can improve the type of graphic…”

Diogo Higino 20/05/2012

Hello Ana, nice comment something here again.

I was travelling and only when I got home saw your new podcast. This topic make remember my boss, he’s a sales manager and he’s very demand when the content is write. He’s fifty-one years old and I think he has his own way to write. So even we knowing it, sometimes he’s getting by and aks me to write a comunicate to our sales team.

However, I write it and dedicate as much as I can to put better words, but I sometimes feel over these years that I’m in another world regard to texts, and every time when I finish it he call me and say, you intented it was well but I have something to change. Mild criticism always, he’s very smart and I’ve learned a lot of with him. Mild criticism, the companies will be pretty well we had only it. Excellent tip.


    Ana 24/05/2012

    Great examples, Diogo. Seems like you’re taking your boss’ mild criticism well.

CLAUDIA 20/05/2012

I love reading your articles, thanks a lot!!!!

Julio Costa 20/05/2012

Yeap, there are some good points on this podcast.. I liked it! I was in need of them at work, thanks for that!

Take care!

Agree, you have a very good grasp of the English language.


You are moving in the right direction!
You made great comments about critisism – keep up the good work!

    Ana 19/05/2012

    hehe… Thanks Günter.

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