A phrase a week (13)

Hello. Last week I looked at the phrase do/try  your bestIf we’re honest with ourselves, few of us would say we’ve really done our best, so, for most people this is just aspirational, a target to achieve if you like. What’s more, however hard we may sometimes try, we know that effort won’t always guarantee a positive outcome. Thus, to avoid being disappointed or becoming too anxious we prepare for the worst. A proverb that goes back to early eighteenth century goes: „Hope for the best and prepare for the worst”. In other words, we should be optimistic but also ready to meet trouble and difficulties when the arise. Here’s an example: „When I took that exam, I hoped for the best and prepared for the worst.”

I’ll close with a line from Eugene H. Peterson, a paraphrase of a verse from the Book of Proverbs : „Do your best, prepare for the worst – then trust God to bring victory.”

A phrase a week (12)

Hello and welcome back to A phrase a week … after a long break. This week’s phrase is do your best, which is probably known to most of you. But did you know that try your best is also possible? While they mean the same thing, the first one is the more common in spoken English. Here are two examples: I don’t know if I can finish the report by tomorrow but I’ll do my best. | „You speak very good English.” „Thank you. I try my best.”

Best is the superlative of good. The comparative is better. „Gooder” and „goodest” do not exist. It’s definitely the best-known irregular adjective alongside bad-worse-worst and far-further-furthest.

And now for a motivational quote, a funny little rhyme – first coined by St. Jerome it seems – that applies to learning foreign languages: „Good, better, best … never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best.”