Is there a verb that can replace "waste" in the original phrase to get the opposite meaning? For instance, wouldn't it sound awkward if I say "I used all the chances I've been given"?

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    Can you give some context please? – Laurel Apr 25 '18 at 21:24
  • When opportunity knocked, I opened the door. – J.R. Apr 25 '18 at 21:27
  • Thank you @J.R. , I know there are ways to express the idea differently, but I'm really wondering if there is a verb that can replace "waste" in the original phrase to get the opposite meaning? – V. G. Apr 25 '18 at 21:30
  • Not that this answers your question but the awkwardness can be remedied by using a more parallel structure (I doubt that is proper English terminology) ie: "I've used all the chances I've been given." or more minimally "I used all the chances given" ( the explicit "having" removed in both places). Both of these I think flow a bit better but the example sentence in the question is certainly functional. – Quaternion Apr 25 '18 at 21:39
  • 'Take a/your chance' works, but the expression 'take a chance' is ambiguous. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 25 '18 at 22:32

The two words that come to mind are seize or grasp an opportunity. With the word chance, I think the most common verb would be grab or ‘jump at.

Avail has been suggested, and works. You have to use it with a reflexive pronoun: I avail myself of an opportunity.


"Avail" is your word, or is pretty close. It means "to use or take advantage of (an opportunity or available resource)" (Google). But to use it you'd need to change your sentence slightly, because it acts on individuals that are phrased as objects. For example, I availed myself of all opportunities.

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    If you don't mention that you cited "Google" as a reference, then neither will I and hopefully nobody will notice. – Nigel J Apr 26 '18 at 0:25
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    I knew the word but I searched "define avail" and used the definition provided. Is this bad practice? Apparently Google gets their definitions from the Oxford American College Dictionary. – Osiano Isekenegbe Apr 26 '18 at 4:46

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