In Danish there's a saying:

Intet er skidt uden at være godt for noget

Which means (literally)

Nothing is bad without being good for something.

I want to say that this exact wording is also a saying that English people will recognize (not just understand), but Google returns only one result which seems to be from another Dane, so now I'm beginning to have doubt. If this particular wording isn't common in English, is there another saying or idiom with the same meaning?

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of encapsulating a positive thing among many negative things Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 14:45
  • Although the most highly upvoted answer is the same in both questions, I don't think that the questions are effectively identical. The older question seems as much interested in characterizing the person who finds (or "encapsulates") a positive among negatives as in identifying a phrase that expresses the idea that all bad things have some aspect of good in them.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 17:57
  • adcoon, here's a nice multilingual dictionary you might like: linguee.com. I tried it out on your phrase and it gave me the silver lining phrase right off the bat. Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 2:58

4 Answers 4


I think what you're looking for is "every cloud has a silver lining":

every difficult or sad situation has a comforting or more hopeful aspect, even though this may not be immediately apparent

The meaning and origin of the expression: Every cloud has a silver lining - The Phrase Finder

Every cloud has a silver lining - Cambridge Dictionary

  • I'm ashamed this didn't occur to me immediately. Thanks
    – user76879
    Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 14:43

Even a broken clock is right twice a day

This saying is usually applicable for people who are perceived to be incompetent and useless.

This means no one is ever completely wrong. As most of us have experienced, sometimes we receive the best advice from the most unexpected source.



Rosalind Fergusson, The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs (1983) lists 13 English proverbs—including the rather obvious "Every cloud has a silver lining"—under the heading "Nothing is all bad" and a number of additional ones scattered under other headings. Here are some of them:

It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good.

It's a hard-fought field where no man escapes unkilled.

It is an ill bargain where no man wins.

Of evil manners spring good laws.

There's no great loss without some gain.

After a typhoon there are pears to gather up.

The bee sucks honey out of the bitterest flower.

God tempers the wind for the shorn lamb.

God never sends mouth but he sends meat.

Crosses are ladders that lead to heaven.

Adversity comes with instruction in its hand.

Suffering is bitter but its fruits are sweet.

Bitter pills may have blessed effects.

Clearly much folk wisdom has accumulated on the subject of finding good in a mostly bad situation.



One man's loss is another man's gain.
Prov. When one person loses something, another person gets it. (You can substitute appropriate names or pronouns for the phrases one man's and another man's, as in the second example.)
Mike found a five-dollar bill on the sidewalk. "One man's loss is another man's gain," he thought to himself, as he took the money.
Jane: Andy just got fired. Jill: I know. And Andy's loss is my gain; I'm getting promoted to his job!

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.