“I wouldn't say he's stupid. A little naive, maybe.”

You're talking with a friend about a book that you both read. Your friend says that one of the characters is stupid. You don't exactly agree with that description, although you understand why your friend would say that. You say this in response to his review.

I wouldn't say he's stupid. A little naive, maybe.

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I wouldn't say (something) is (adjective). (A different description)

When you want to slightly disagree with someone's opinion or description, use the phrase "I wouldn't say ___ is ___" and then say your own opinion about it:

I wouldn't say it's necessary to have a college degree, although that does help.

Well, I wouldn't say he's the best player. He good, don't get me wrong, but I think there are a few others who are a bit better.

When you disagree in this way, it sounds like you're only slightly changing what the other person said, so it's a pretty polite phrase.

(someone is) naive

A "naive" person is someone who doesn't have much experience or understanding of life. Naive people are often gullible (meaning that they believe things that other people tell them). Some examples of people who are naive are

  • a teenager who falls in love with her first boyfriend and thinks that they will stay together forever.
  • someone who invests money in the stock market and loses it because they put all their money on one company.
  • someone who supports a certain politician and believes his or her promises.

Being naive is a little different than being stupid. The word "stupid" has a more general meaning which includes not knowing things, but also not being able to think quickly or learn new things easily. The word "stupid" also has a more negative image than "naive".