It wouldn't hurt you to be a bit more serious.

Wouldn't/won't/never hurts make perfect sense in this example. I'm wondering if there's any alternative way to preserve the meaning of this phrase in a little bit less strict context, while also avoiding a negative connotation, such as in these sentences.

  1. It (or whatever) ... to say "Thank you".
  2. It (or whatever) ... to keep an eye out for the perfect job.

And if there are other ways to say never hurts, what do you think about their differences then?

  • What exactly do you mean by "in a little bit less strict context?" Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 17:29
  • @NathanArthur, I just wanted to say in more 'neutral', rather positive contexts, like in the examples I brought. My poor English. 'Hurt' seems a bit tough to my non-native ears. But that might simply be my perception. Like, Art, would you say to your 5-6 year old 'it never hurts you to put your toys in the box before going to bed'?
    – Arman
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 18:59
  • Just for the record: I think you’re misinterpreting hurt here. Its meaning here is different from the sense of causing physical, bodily injury to someone (“I hurt my foot”, “Ouch, that hurts!”, etc.). Here, it just means ‘have an adverse effect on [the situation]’; so “it never hurts to X” just means “X never adversely affects the situation”. Commented Sep 26, 2015 at 18:41

7 Answers 7


How about "No harm in?"

  1. No harm in being a bit more serious.
  2. No harm in saying "Thank you."
  3. No harm in keeping an eye out for the perfect job.

I'm not sure if this what you mean by "little bit less strict context" but a more casual, sarcastic way to say the same thing would be "It wouldn't kill you to say thank you."

  • 2
    'little party never killed nobody' :) Thanks for your example, Kristina.
    – Arman
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 19:05

"It would be a good idea to"... Perhaps?

It would be a good idea to say "Thank you". It would be a good idea to keep an eye out for a new job.


This way, it seems constructive instead of bringing in the negative connotations of "hurt" or "harm".

  • 'negative connotations', just what I was looking for to put in instead of 'strict context'. Thank you, Chandler!
    – Arman
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 19:15

Just use the word behoove

  • It behooves you to say Thank You.
  • It behooves you to keep an eye for that perfect job.


  • 1
    That meaning isn't the same thing. Behoove implies something is required or expected; "it never hurts" implies optional etiquette.
    – wallyk
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 20:04
  • Thanks. Very nice word. Reminds me one dialectical variation of Armenian 'who'; ov - hoove :)
    – Arman
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 21:04

How about "nothing to lose"

Why not say Thank you. You've got nothing to lose


I think the expression you might be looking for is:

Better safe than sorry.

It doesn't have any negative connotation and it only implies why not go ahead and do it type of dynamic.


Could use/do with might fit the bill.

You could use to be a bit more serious.

I guess I could use a "thank you."

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