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I'm worried that 'take advantage' could have a slightly negative connotation. Could you say "make advantage [of a situation]"?

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Or you could turn a situation to your advantage. – Robusto Jan 24 '13 at 21:38
There's nothing wrong with take advantage per se. If I said, "Airline fares are only discounted through Sunday, so make sure you take advantage of that when getting your tickets for this summer." There's no negative connotation whatsoever. In fact everyone will look favorably on you when you tell them how much you paid. So if it's not a "negative situation" go ahead and use take advantage. In a situation in which take advantage is negative, rephrasing it won't help: "I took advantage of the shopkeeper's distraction and pocketed a candy bar" isn't changed by using made the most of – Jim Jan 24 '13 at 21:51
@Jim I am writing a document where the idea of "taking advantage of somebody's naivety" is already being suggested. – user36388 Jan 24 '13 at 23:07
@FumbleFingers In what reference work can you look up the absence of an expression? – MετάEd Jan 25 '13 at 3:05
@MετάEd: Okay, maybe "no-one" was putting it a bit strong. There's one which makes advantage of in Google Books. But that's up against 225,000 instances of which takes advantage of. As to citing a reference work to back me up on that, I couldn't be bothered even if there was one. Are you seriously going to defend the usage in the absence of specific instructions not to? – FumbleFingers Jan 25 '13 at 3:20

No, but you could "make the most" of a situation.

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I'm a fan of this, thank you. – user36388 Jan 24 '13 at 23:08
to me this suggests that things are sub-optimal. – Matthew Plourde Jan 25 '13 at 0:04

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