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General Writing and Grammar Help/Make the most of something

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Question
Dear Ted:

When should I use "to make the most of something"?

Would you please give me some examples?

Also, is it possible to "make the most of SOMEONE"?

Again, many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

When should I use "to make the most of something"?

*** This expression is slightly different from "get the most."  "Make" involves the active participation of the "maker."  

Would you please give me some examples?

*** John was born into a poor family, a family whose poverty placed extreme limitations on himself.  Despite his background, John was determined TO MAKE THE MOST OF HIS LIFE, seizing on every opportunity that came his way.

Even though the winter storm prevented most people from attending Mary's birthday party, she MADE THE MOST of the situation and saw that everyone had a good time.


Also, is it possible to "make the most of SOMEONE"?

*** It would be very rare and negative.  "Making the most of another person" suggests that you are USING that person for your own purposes.  Usually, one MAKES THE MOST of some particular aspect OF the other person:

The candidate for political office decided TO MAKE THE MOST OF HIS FAMOUS FAMILY'S NAME.  It seems that anyone with the name "Kennedy" is easily elected, if he can prove his relationship to that family.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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