Como falo em inglês: a intenção dele foi boa

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What’s up, everyone?

Hoje eu falo sobre as intenções de alguém em inglês. Como dizer a intenção dele foi boa, ou de boas intenções o inferno está cheio? Confira também duas expressões para dizer “falar bem de alguém” neste episódio.

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[audio:http://media.blubrry.com/podcast_ingls_online/www.inglesonline.com.br/mp3/podcast-intentions.mp3]

Transcrição

What’s up, everyone? You’re listening to the new episode of the Inglês Online podcast. Thank you for telling everyone you know about this podcast and, enjoy!

So you know when someone behaves in a way that ends up doing more harm than good, but you just know they had the best intentions when doing so? They were just trying to help; they really meant well. You know this person is well-meaning. When someone is well-meaning, that means they… mean well.

However, you were there when they did what they did or said what they said and you know that the end result wasn’t that great. Rather than being mad at them, though, you’re just lamenting the sad outcome. You know that their heart was in the right place.

So that’s our first idiom of today: their heart was in the right place when they did that or said whatever. It may not have helped, it may even have made matters a bit worse, but… in the end, their heart is in the right place. You may just need to have a quick word with them to maybe make them aware of the effect of their actions.

For example: Steve offered to put in a good word for you with his boss, knowing that you’re coveting a new position in his department. He goes ahead and does just that: he tells his boss you’re great to work with, and very competent too. However, he goes and says that you’ve been doing an awesome job in project XYZ, which is a top secret project that you’re not supposed to be talking about to other people.

So now Steve has basically made clear to his boss that you can’t keep your mouth shut. Great. That kinda ruins the whole point of talking you up to the boss. You were sure Steve knew that project XYZ was confidential. Maybe he didn’t. Anyway, you have known Steve for years now and you know he’s a good guy. You know he would never do anything to harm your chances at getting that job. You just know that his heart is in the right place. He screwed up a little, but his heart is in the right place.

…Which leads me to the second one of today’s episode – I guess we can call this one a proverb: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Obviously, people often mean well but end up doing bad things or even wreaking havoc sometimes. We say something very similar in Brazil, don’t we? However I could never work out whether that saying applies to someone who really meant well; someone whose heart is in the right place but ends up making things worse.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I think that’s exactly the case and that is how this saying came about: good intentions that end up causing trouble. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And, as we do in Brazil, you can say that proverb in order to imply that someone knew full well what they were doing when they were “trying to help”, so to speak. Basically you’re accusing them of not being honest: “So Jane, now I know why you offered to bring me lunch. You were trying to give me food poisoning! This sandwich is the worst thing I’ve ever had.” And you finish your rant by telling your colleagues “The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Beware of Jane and her lunch runs.”

So I guess we can all think of great examples of people who meant well but ended up making things worse. Let me know in the comments, and talk to you next time!

Key expressions

  • someone’s heart is in the right place
  • the road to hell is paved with good intentions

Vocabulary

put in a good word for you with = falar bem de você para

coveting = querendo, desejando

talk someone up = falar bem de alguém

mean well = ter/tem boas intenções

wreak havoc = arruinar, causar muito problema

work out = figure out

lunch run = a ida até algum lugar de comida pra comprar o almoço pro grupo/pessoal do escritório

beware of = cuidado com

290 episodes available. A new episode about every 10 days averaging 3 mins duration .