How do you put a positive spin on this sentence?
"You better stop that cheeky answering back young man!"
I have found the best thing to say is:
Can you say (or ask) that more politely?
What acctually is negative in the sentence ?"You better stop that cheeky answering back young man!"
Cheeky apart from being slightly rude or showing a lack of respect means being funny; It seems to me a little contradict with patronising "young man".
I thing we could say by ton of voice whether it was seen as funny or not.
As we don't have the information, so...
If it was used in the essential meaning then again, what is negative in saying that "the youg man" 's reaction was cheeky ?
It's not a statemnt about a person only about his reaction.
"You better stop (threatening) that cheeky answering back (puts a value judgment on the answers) young man! (condescending)"
Can the meaning be twisted by changes in voise?
I mean ton of voice, intonation, sters.
Tone of voice and intonation can certainly shift the intention, though not necessarily the meaning.
Saying "You better stop that cheeky answering-back, young man!" witha light tone would be less threatening and imply the person was seeing it as something not very serious. A strong tone would indicate anger and resentment.