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Урок 32. Pointing out the positive side of a situation. (Взгляд на ситуацию с позитивной стороны.)

Amber: Hello, I’m Amber with another edition of ‘How to…’ – the series that gives you useful language to do things in English.

Today, we ‘look on the bright side’ – we look at a handful of ways you can point out the positive side of a situation. And the good news is – this is not a difficult thing to do, and by the end of the programme, you should be able to use five simple expressions to point out the positive side of a situation.

Let’s start with the expression that we use the most to perform this function in everyday conversations in English.

At least…
At least…

Amber: For example, if a friend complains to you:

My flatmate, Sue, is always borrowing my CDs and she only gives them back when I go and ask her for them!

Amber: You can point out the positive side of this situation – the fact that Sue does return the CDs when she’s asked! You can say:

Well, at least she returns them to you.

Amber: Listen again.

My flatmate, Sue, is always borrowing my CDs and she only gives them back when I go and ask her for them! Well, at least she returns them to you.

Amber: Next, here’s another short and simple way to point out the positive side of a situation. You can just use the word ‘but’. For example, a friend complains:

My mum always calls me in the evenings when I’m trying to study.

Amber: You can point out the positive side of this situation – the fact that their mother does call! You could say something like this:

Yeah, but she does call you! My family never call me. I have to call them!

Amber: Easy, isn’t it? Listen again.

My mum always calls me in the evenings when I’m trying to study.
Yeah, but she does call you! My family never call me. I have to call them!

Amber: So far, we’ve looked at two expressions to point of the positive side of a situation – ‘at least’ and ‘but’. Now you try to use one of these. You’ll hear a complaint about someone called Pete, and just think about how you could use ‘at least’ or ‘but’ to reply to this complaint to point out the positive side of the situation.

Pete’s always telling jokes when we should be studying for our exams.

Amber: Here’s the complaint again.

Pete’s always telling jokes when we should be studying for our exams.

Amber: Now you try to answer, pointing out the positive.

Pete’s always telling jokes when we should be studying for our exams.

Amber: Did you manage that? In that situation, I’d say something like ‘Well, at least he makes us laugh!’ or ‘But it’s easier to study when we’re feeling relaxed.’

Now, let’s look at three more handy expressions to point out the positive. First, here’s a nice one to use with friends because it’s reassuring and you can use it with ‘but’– you can say ‘but when you think about it…’ For example, if a friend tells you this about a new romance:

We’re having a great time though I’m not sure he’s right for me.

Amber: You can point out the positive side of this situation – the fact that they haven’t known each other for very long! You could say something like this:

Yeah, but when you think about it, you haven’t had much time to get to know each other yet – it was just your first date!

Amber: Now this next expression is easy to remember because you can think of your hands! For example, if a friend says to you:

I’m really pleased! I’ve got a job in a bar near my college. The only problem is I’m the only person working there who can’t speak English very well.

Amber: You can point out the positive side of this situation – you could say something like this:

That’s tough – on the other hand, it’s a good way to practise your English!

Amber: Listen again.

I’m really pleased! I’ve got a job in a bar near my college. The only problem is I’m the only person working there who can’t speak English very well. That’s tough – on the other hand, it’s a good way to practise your English!

Amber: Now here’s our last expression for today – and it’s slightly stronger than the others – you can say ‘don’t forget’! For example, a colleague complains:

I always hate going to ask the boss for a pay rise!

Amber: You can point out the positive side of this situation – you could say something like this:

Well, don’t forget, she’s the only person who can help you get a pay rise!

Amber: Listen again. And good luck looking on the bright side!