Describing a pretty bad situation that can't get worse

Discussion in 'English Only' started by farhad_persona, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. farhad_persona

    farhad_persona Senior Member

    Hello everyone!
    In Farsi there is this saying: "there is no color darker than black" . We use it when there is no hope for a situation to get better so we should risk it all and fight that situation.
    Is there such a proverb in English?

    Let's say I have a girlfriend whom I think is the one. She breaks up with me because she thinks there is no future in this relationship. I say so be it. I'm going to propose. She is either going to say no "which won't be different from the current situation" or she is going to say yes."This can't get any worse" so I'm gonna roll the dice.
  2. gramman

    gramman Senior Member

    Hi farhad_persona

    Two expressions that come to mind, and which I suppose could be described as proverbial in the sense of being well-known, are:

    "Things couldn't get any worse," and "(someone) hit rock bottom."

    Interestingly, these are often associated with the idea of "tempting fate," in other words, that one should not think or say them because things will then in fact get worse. I'm wondering if Persian culture has a similar tradition?
  3. gramman

    gramman Senior Member

    I noticed that my suggestion of "things couldn't get any worse" is more or less in your thread title. So I thought I should offer another suggestion. :)

    "(Someone) has nowhere to go but up."

    I think there is an optimistic quality to this. It is often said in the context of hoping/believing that things will get better.
  4. farhad_persona

    farhad_persona Senior Member

    Thanks Gramman specially for the second suggestion.
    I remember a few months ago I heard a proverb in a movie that was almost equivalent to this Farsi proverb that I'm talking about. Unfortunately I didn't write it down.
    I'd sure be nice to find out what that was.
  5. pob14 Senior Member

    Central Illinois
    American English
    Possibly "it's always darkest just before dawn?"
  6. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    "The only way is up."
  7. gramman

    gramman Senior Member

    Hi again

    You may be thinking of a line in The Dark Knight (United States, 2008), spoken by the Harvey Dent character:
    This expression of course has no scientific or astronomical validity — the position and size of the moon would be the most significant influence on the amount of light at night. It has a long history and is used to indicate that a situation may seem at its worst just before it is about to improve. See a discussion of "The darkest hour is just before the dawn" in a thread at The Phrase Finder. Its origin is also discussed in a Wiki Answers thread, and it is mentioned in a number of threads here at WordReference.

    Other sayings have a similar meaning:

    "Nothing lasts forever" is probably based on the Biblical proverb "All things must pass." But Matthew 24:6-8 actually contains "all these things must come to pass." See a discussion of "All things must pass," also in a thread at The Phrase Finder.

    "The sun will come out tomorrow" can be found in a variety of theatrical productions and song lyrics.

    "Life always gets harder toward the summit — the cold increases, responsibility increases" is found in The Antichrist by Friedrich Nietzsche, 1883.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  8. farhad_persona

    farhad_persona Senior Member

    Thanks guys, but "it's always darkest before dawn" has a positive meaning. It sort of gives you hope that things are going to change and get better. The expression that I'm looking for has a negative meaning. It describes a pretty bad situation that can't possibly get worse.
  9. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Things can't possibly get any worse.
  10. MikeLynn

    MikeLynn Senior Member

    How about saying "as bad as it gets."? Would this work? I sort of feel it should, but not being a native speaker, I just can't tell
  11. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Moderator

    English - US
    It's hardly profound, but in the scenario you describe (proposing to a woman who has broken up with you), I would say "What have I got to lose?"
  12. farhad_persona

    farhad_persona Senior Member

    I think it's okay.
  13. Baltic Sea Banned

    It is never so bad that it can't get any worse.
  14. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    I heard "what the worst that could happen" on the TV show Scrubs. Two guys strapped together are about to bungee-jump off a bridge, but one of them gets cold feet. The other encourages him to jump and says "what the worst that could happen?" Would native speakers please tell me if this expression works well with the OP's example?

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