When something "bad" happens to someone, a comforting message from another person my be "Look at the bright side: (at least) ...", then describing something positive that this "bad-event" brought with him. like:

We had an accident, but look on the bright side - no one was badly hurt.

I wonder how to convey this sense in Latin. We can briefly say at least or saltem (I believe) in Latin, but it less colorful, and I believe a similar phrase can be found in Latin.

The expression that came to mind is specta partem bonam, which sounds (to me at least) reasonable, but it becoming less attractive the deeper I look; for, first, I could not attest it, and second, in bonam partem accipere seems to be quite an idiomatic expression which like the Englsih "to take in good part" means "to not become too angry or upset about something" (M. Webster), so it feels in bonam parter spectare might mean something quite similar like "consider/regard this as not bad", which is not the sense we are looking for, which is rather more along the lines of "it is not good, but at least we can see some good angles in it". Moreover, according to L&S, bona pars might mean "for the great part" (DRN: inde bonam partem in lectum maerore dabantur.).

So maybe not pars, not bonus nor even specto are THE words to use here.

  • 2
    Excellent question. I feel there must be, if not a standing expression, then at least some example to adopt, be it in a comedy, in a letter, or elsewhere. Sep 11 '21 at 16:45

Two words for side come to mind: latus and facies. But I'm not sure which one best covers it. And instead of an imperative you could use a gerundive. With conspicio as the verb, you get:

  • Latus clarum conspiciendum
  • Facies clara conspicienda
  • 2
    Thanks! I wasn't thinking of using the gerundive, I actually like prefer it over the imperative now. I'm not sure though clarus is quite accurate choice here - since the "bright" in the English phrase is rather in the sense of 'good'/'positive' and less 'clear'/'distinguishable'; also have my doubt of latus which scanning L&S pertains more for a literal side, and less to "face/respect/angle". If you could find some usages examples for those terms and others in your answer, it would be fantastic.
    – d_e
    Sep 10 '21 at 21:14
  • This is a good literal translation of the English idiom, but do you have any examples of this being used by a Latin-speaker? (French and Spanish, for instance, tend to speak of the "good" side of things rather than the "bright" side of things.)
    – brianpck
    Sep 11 '21 at 18:27

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