Saturday, October 25, 2003

All for the best
Prerana Trehan

LIFE is, at best, a tough cookie, my grandfather loved to say, but you should give it your best shot. Even at the best of times, things donít always go your way, but it is important to do your job as best you can and always put your best foot forward. And then whatever happens will be for the best.

Although the best part of life was spent in struggle, he said, it paid to make the best of things and never forget, even at the worst of times, that laughter was the best medicine. Good manners were important to him and whenever we went out with him he always told us that we had best be on our best behaviour. Life, he told us, was not just about work but about people too and if we remembered that we would get the best of both worlds.

He said that honesty was the best policy, and our best bet was to do our work with sincerity and dedication, because then it would not matter even if we came off second best. To get ahead in the world some people, for reasons best known to them, chose to be dishonest, yet, he maintained, to the best of his knowledge, such people never succeeded.

The best way to live, he told us, was to do our best and hope for the best and the next best thing to being successful was knowing that we lived in a way that brought out the best in us.

Key to phrases used

At best: used to emphasise that something is not very good even when you try to think of all the good things about it

Give it your best shot: to do something as well as you possibly can, although you are not sure whether you will be able to succeed

At the best of times: if something is not very good enjoyable etc, at the best of times, it is usually even worse than this

As best you can: as well as you can even if this is not very good

Put your best foot forward: do something as well as you can

Be for the best: used to say that a particular event may not be as bad as it seems

The best/better part of something: almost all of something

Make the best of something: try to think and act in a positive way when you have to accept a situation that you do not like but cannot change

Laughter is the best medicine: used to say that it is good for your physical and mental health to laugh

Had best: ought to

Be on your best behaviour: to behave very well, usually because you are in an important or formal position

The best of both worlds: a situation in which you have the advantages of two different things without the disadvantages of any

Honesty is the best policy: used to say that it is best to be honest

Your best bet: the thing someone should do that is most likely to achieve the result they want

Come off second best: to be beaten in a competition or an argument

For reasons best known to himself/herself: used to say that you cannot understand why someone has done something

To the best of your knowledge/belief/ability etc: used to say that something is as much as you know, believe or are able to do

Do your best: to try as hard as you can to do something

Hope for the best: to hope that a bad or difficult situation will end in a way that is good

The next best thing: the thing or situation that is almost as good as the one you really want

The best in somebody: the qualities that someone has that are good

(Reference: Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms)