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"his pride was getting the best of him"



 
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"his pride was getting the best of him" #1 (permalink) Mon Feb 22, 2010 20:46 pm   "his pride was getting the best of him"
 

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #497 "English Slang Idioms (239)", question 3

He knew that he should go ......... in hand back to the office to ask for his old job back. Unfortunately, his pride was getting the best of him and he was rapidly deciding that since his boss was wrong, he would wait until the boss called to apologize.

(a) fork
(b) dog
(c) hat
(d) brain

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #497 "English Slang Idioms (239)", answer 3

He knew that he should go hat in hand back to the office to ask for his old job back. Unfortunately, his pride was getting the best of him and he was rapidly deciding that since his boss was wrong, he would wait until the boss called to apologize.

Correct answer: (c) hat

Your answer was: correct
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1. Can one use "get the best of" with positive qualities as well, or only to express negative outcomes?
2. Can "desperation got the best of her" mean desperation has made her take some positive actions to overcome the situation, or can only mean she was overcome with desperation?

Thank you.
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"his pride was getting the best of him" #2 (permalink) Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:15 am   "his pride was getting the best of him"
 

1-- I think so. The sheriff got the best of the outlaw.
2-- No, only that she was overcome with desperation. For the other meaning, use 'desperation brought out the best in her'.
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"his pride was getting the best of him" #3 (permalink) Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:19 am   "his pride was getting the best of him"
 

Very good questions.
In your second question, 'desperation got the best of her' means that she couldn't control her behavior (lost control) any longer because of the desperation she faced.
With reference to your first question, I don't think this exact expression can be used in a positive way.
The definition of to "get the best of you" is: control over behavior/temper etc.

You can, however, use the expression: 'to bring out the best in someone' when referring to a positive change in behavior or state.

Does anyone else have any thoughts about this?
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"his pride was getting the best of him" #4 (permalink) Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:20 am   "his pride was getting the best of him"
 

We must have been writing a response at the same time, MM.
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