She has a very good foundation.

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Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect

It seems that I've been making this mistake all the time.

I always say "Because she has a good foundation", to mean someone who is better than others even though they start doing things at the same time. Here I would like to use learning English as an example.

Some classmates were having dinner with a foreigner, the man talked to each of us and finally asked that why A's English is better than the others. Then A said when he was young he thought English was interesting and he concentrated on it. So now it's easier for him to learn than others who thought that English was difficult to learn initially.

Can I say "It's easier for her to pick up English because she has a solid foundation".

Thanks a lot
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    That makes sense, Silver. It would make even more sense if you said "It's easier for her to pick up English because she has a solid foundation in the language."


    Senior Member
    English but my first language was German
    You have to be a little bit careful though. English speaking people have been having fun with the double entendre fundament=bottom=body part for a long time.

    There's an anecdote from the 18th century where a famous author gets laughed at for saying "she has a bottom of good sense". He imperiously corrects his phrasing to "she is fundamentally sensible", and his audience hides its even greater amusement.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    In addition to the meaning pointed out by exgerman, "foundation garments" are underwear designed to improve a woman's shape - from old corsets and girdles to today's Spanx. If I said "she has a solid foundation," I would be absolutely certain to add "... in English" (or whatever) to avoid confusion or amusement.

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, I came back to the thread all ready with my "bum and tum" remarks only to find that exgerman and Egmont have "pipped me to the post". There's a nice idiomatic expression for you, Silver. It means they got there before me.

    I agree with the suggestion that foundation be followed by '... in English ...'.
    A possible option is the word 'basis'. Or you could even talk about a 'grounding', (' to build on').

    I am sure that foundation would be understood if the context is right but I don't think using it like this is really idiomatic.

    Your English is improving by leaps and bounds, Silver! :) Congratulations!

    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English English
    I had exactly the same fundament/foundation-related thoughts as Exgerman, Egmont, and Hermione before I opened this thread.
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