In GLU we had a question on difference between schlimm-schlecht (bad-poor). My rule of thumb was:

  • use bad if something feels bad, affects you emotionally in a negative sense
  • use poor to judge objectively something which doesn't affect you emotionally, e.g., like a teacher judging the grades of a distinct pupil, while the pupil's mother would judge them rather as bad grades from a very personal and emotional point of view, feeling bad about the future of her child.

I'm not looking for spanish adjectives/adverb of fatal, sick, sad in English. Doesn't match the the general meaning of poor & bad in my opinion. Is there a word matching malo,mala for this differentiation in a similar way as in Ger?

  • 1
    "malo" for bad and "pobre" for poor can also be used in the same way
    – Juanillo
    Commented Dec 3, 2011 at 19:25
  • @Juanillo that's just how I personally would see the english counterparts of german schlimm/schlecht, while neither of both german adjectives means poor in any way
    – Hauser
    Commented Dec 3, 2011 at 19:32

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking, you cannot expect 1:1 mapping of words when you translate. Most of the times you'll translate schlimm to malo, sometimes maybe even malvado. In case of schlecht your translation will vary. Sometimes it will also be malo. In other cases, like for example in case of grading you can say "notas bajas", which I think is used more often than "notas malas".

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