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  1. vectra's Avatar
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    #1

    a double-edged sword

    Hello,

    Commenting on the article Can smartphones be used in class for learning? | tweentribune.com, one of my students wrote:
    Well, to my mind this issue is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, smartphones can definitely help students in studying and provide them with fast, diverse and useful information. Furthermore, there are a lot of useful applications in smartphones such as: dictionaries, vocabulary lists, books, which can increase the level of students' proficiency. However, on the other hand, these gadgets can only distract students' attention from studying by providing them with different games and access to social sites.

    I am curious about the expression 'a double-edged sword'.
    I do understand its meaning and here is an example I have found in the press:
    In any case, Chevrolet's tremendous showing is a mixed blessing. ‘It's a double-edged sword,’ commented one Detroit expert. (‘Newsweek’)
    Isn't it better to use 'a mixed blessing' instead? It seems to me 'a double-edged sword' sounds too pompous in this context.

    Thank you for your time and help.
    Last edited by vectra; 13-Nov-2011 at 07:18. Reason: tyros

  2. SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: a double-edged sword

    I don't know if I would describe the use of "double-edged sword" here as "pompous", but it definitely calls for further explanation on the reporter's part.

    With that said, I have to ask what your question about "double-edged sword" is exactly.
    As far as I'm concerned, a "double-edged sword" is anything that cuts both ways.

  3. vectra's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: a double-edged sword

    I just thought that 'a double-edged sword' should not be used in this context, but as I am not a native speaker, I might be wrong. If I made comments on the article in question, I would use 'a mixed blessing'.
    Quote Originally Posted by SlickVic9000 View Post
    I don't know if I would describe the use of "double-edged sword" here as "pompous", but it definitely calls for further explanation on the reporter's part.

    With that said, I have to ask what your question about "double-edged sword" is exactly.
    As far as I'm concerned, a "double-edged sword" is anything that cuts both ways.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: a double-edged sword

    I would say that a "mixed blessing" is something which can have a good effect on one side but on the other side, not such a good effect.]

    A "double-edged sword" suggests two potentially bad results.

    Examples:

    I'm getting married on Saturday. I don't want it to be too hot because that will mean everyone will be in a bad mood and sweating a lot. I don't want it to be too cold because then everyone will be miserable and wear coats over their beautiful clothes. The ideal weather would be an average temperature with cloudy skies. That will be a mixed blessing though - the temperature will be perfect but the cloudy skies won't look so good in my wedding photos.

    My parents are divorced. Next week I'm having a birthday party. I would like to invite them both but they can't be in the same room without having a huge argument. If I invite only my mother, my father will be disappointed. If I invite only my father, my mother will be disappointed. It's a double-edged sword.

  5. vectra's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: a double-edged sword

    Dear emsr2d2,
    After your awesome explanations I think the right expression is 'a mixed blessing'.
    Here are the student's comments in full:
    Well, to my mind this issue is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, smartphones can definitely help students in studying and provide them with fast, diverse and useful information. Furthermore, there are a lot applications in smartphones such as: dictionaries, vocabulary lists, books, which can increase the level of students' proficiency. However, on the other hand, these gadgets can only distract students' attention from studying by providing them with different games and access to social sites.
    So, to sum up, I should say that if a student is responsible and mature enough, smartphones will have a positive impact on studying, if not - more's the pity that due to their immaturity they miss out on a chance to improve their knowledge.
    The student is fond of using idioms, but sometimes I have to step in and push her in the right direction.
    Thank you very much indeed.
    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I would say that a "mixed blessing" is something which can have a good effect on one side but on the other side, not such a good effect.]

    A "double-edged sword" suggests two potentially bad results.

    Examples:

    I'm getting married on Saturday. I don't want it to be too hot because that will mean everyone will be in a bad mood and sweating a lot. I don't want it to be too cold because then everyone will be miserable and wear coats over their beautiful clothes. The ideal weather would be an average temperature with cloudy skies. That will be a mixed blessing though - the temperature will be perfect but the cloudy skies won't look so good in my wedding photos.

    My parents are divorced. Next week I'm having a birthday party. I would like to invite them both but they can't be in the same room without having a huge argument. If I invite only my mother, my father will be disappointed. If I invite only my father, my mother will be disappointed. It's a double-edged sword.

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