An idiom a day keeps your English okay! In this series we examine English idioms and teach you how to use them.
Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining
The clouds in this idiom are the dark ones that bring rain. A lining goes at the edge of something. For example, you might buy a wool coat with a cotton lining.
A cloud with a silver lining is a dark cloud that has a light-coloured edge – a hint that though it is dark now, it will be sunny soon. The meaning is ‘even bad things have good consequences.’
How to Use It
When you get some bad news, think about what good might come. For exam, you fail your English exam. That’s the cloud. But your company pays for more online English lessons for you. That’s the silver lining.
Your football team loses. That’s the cloud. But the manager realises he needs to buy a new striker. That’s the silver lining. (The team will be stronger in the future.)
You break up with your girlfriend and you’re sad about it. That’s the cloud. But now you’re free to move to Argentina and live on the beach like you always wanted. That’s the silver lining.
Real Life Examples
– Oh, no!
– They don’t have any tomato sauce. I can’t make pizza tonight! We’ll have to eat lentils.
– At least we won’t get fat!
– Why are you sad?
– I’m not.
– You are.
– Well, maybe a little. My girlfriend left me.
– Oh… Well, you know what they say: Every cloud has a silver lining.
– Huh? What do you mean by that?
– At least you won’t have to go to her father’s house for Christmas dinner.
– Oh, yeah!