Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

how to use take advantage of in English

Do you take full advantage of your weekends?

What do you usually do?

At the end of a weekend do you feel satisfied or regretful?

Today we’ll zoom in on the phrase “take advantage of” and we’ll find out how to use it in natural everyday conversations.


Hi Lindsay, Michelle and Jessica!

“My name is Fabiano and I am from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I go twice a year to Boston to spend my vacation time and use some of my time off to study and improve my English. Last July I was in Boston and found All Ears English when looking for an English podcast to follow. It was love at first sight (or ear!). No one makes learning English more natural than you girls! I have a question and hope you can help me with it. Here it goes: When I wanna say that “I wanna take the best out of a situation” I can use the expression “take advantage of” for example “I wanna take advantage of my time off to read” there would be another expression that I could use that has the same meaning? and, more what can I do to do not sound negative when using “take advantage of”  Thanks a lot!” – Fabiano


What does it mean?

The phrase “To take advantage of ” could have a negative or positive meaning, depending on what you are talking about.

However there are some contexts in English where we don’t use this phrase, for example in Spanish “approvechamos” is something you say before you eat.

I believe it roughly translates to “let’s take advantage,” but in English if you said that before eating it would be weird.

 But there are lots of ways to say that you want to take a situation or a block of time and get as much as you can from it.


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Other ways to say it:

  • To get the most out of it.
  • To take advantage of it.
    • Positive- maximize time, opportunity
    • Negative- to take advantage of someone who is vulnerable, disabled, etc.
  • To maximize a situation.
  • To make the most of it. (This is slightly different, usually when you don’t have much.)
  • To make the best of it.
    • Usually when things are not perfect.
    • Another common phrase that means the same thing is, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”



Let’s take advantage of our lives!

It’s so easy to go on autopilot and let our lives pass by.

What are your habits?

What do you do on Sunday nights?

Do you spend the evening thinking about work on Monday morning?

Why not start a weekly movie night tradition with friends?


What questions do you have?

Leave your comments below.

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