This isn’t going to do any harm at all (in this context)

English translation: Typical British understatement

15:28 Nov 25, 2016
English language (monolingual) [PRO]
General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
English term or phrase: This isn’t going to do any harm at all (in this context)
Hello everyone,

Following Conor’s Cage Warriors exploits, both in the cage and in interviews, there was a lot of excitement among the MMA community as the fight approached. It peaked during an interview with well‑known reporter Ariel Helwani live on his show, The MMA Hour. Conor had never been exposed to such a large audience, particularly in North America, so it was going to be intriguing to see how it all unfolded. His charisma and sense of humour had already made him popular with fans in Ireland and the UK, but would that also translate across the Atlantic?

I watched the interview and what I saw was Conor just being Conor – no act, no gimmick, what you see is what you get – so I wasn’t anticipating the incredible reaction that followed. The internet exploded. I really didn’t expect people to be so captivated by him. They thought he was hilarious and were intrigued by his confidence. I already knew he had the ability to fight his way to the top, but as I observed how people were so taken by his personality, I thought: This isn’t going to do any harm at all. From there, the media couldn’t get enough of him.

Of course I know the usual/standard meaning of the phrase in question.
But it sounds really odd (at least to me) in this particular context.

What exactly does it imply in the context above?
Does it mean there was no need to worry about that interview? -- "Conor had never been exposed to such a large audience, particularly in North America..."

Or does it mean it's a good thing that people like Conor?

Thank you.
Mikhail Korolev
Local time: 14:09
Selected answer:Typical British understatement
Explanation:
He's saying that the people liked Conor and that was a good thing. For some reason, we British don't like to say that a thing is positive so we say the opposite and then negate it. How's the soup? Not bad!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 55 mins (2016-11-25 16:24:12 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

As Gallagy points out, the people involved here are Irish, not British. I guess they do it too. Next time I speak to any of my Irish friends, I will ask them.
Selected response from:

Terry Richards
France
Local time: 12:09
Grading comment
Many thanks to everyone.
Thank you, Terry.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



SUMMARY OF ALL EXPLANATIONS PROVIDED
4 +6Typical British understatement
Terry Richards
4 +3this is going to be useful
B D Finch
3 +1Contrary to what many people had feared (including his coach), Connor was likely to become popular
Darius Saczuk


Discussion entries: 6





  

Answers


23 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
this isn’t going to do any harm at all (in this context)
Contrary to what many people had feared (including his coach), Connor was likely to become popular


Explanation:
P

Darius Saczuk
United States
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in PolishPolish, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 112

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  acetran
2 days 18 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

31 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
this isn’t going to do any harm at all (in this context)
this is going to be useful


Explanation:
This seems to be an example of a deliberate understatement being used to mean a positive. My father tended to use this very expression in that way. It took me years to realise that when he said something I did wasn't bad, that was his idea of praise.

B D Finch
France
Local time: 12:09
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 192

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Terry Richards: My (American) wife had the same reaction when we first met. I thought I was praising her and she thought I was being dismissive. We worked it out eventually :)
6 mins
  -> Thanks Terry. She obviously twigged quicker than I did with my father.

agree  Yvonne Gallagher: well yes, Terry was first but "British" needs to be omitted
13 mins
  -> Thanks Gallagy

agree  Charles Davis
18 hrs
  -> Thanks Charles
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

23 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
this isn’t going to do any harm at all (in this context)
Typical British understatement


Explanation:
He's saying that the people liked Conor and that was a good thing. For some reason, we British don't like to say that a thing is positive so we say the opposite and then negate it. How's the soup? Not bad!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 55 mins (2016-11-25 16:24:12 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

As Gallagy points out, the people involved here are Irish, not British. I guess they do it too. Next time I speak to any of my Irish friends, I will ask them.


Terry Richards
France
Local time: 12:09
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 120
Grading comment
Many thanks to everyone.
Thank you, Terry.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  B D Finch: You were first!
8 mins

agree  Jack Doughty
1 hr

neutral  Yvonne Gallagher: yes, we do it too...we actually have a lot in common with you! Just use "understatement" and it's fine//:-)
1 hr
  -> Sorry about that, I hadn't realised that Conor was Irish. The name should have given me a clue :) You were entirely right to object.

agree  Cilian O'Tuama: no bad will come of it
11 hrs

agree  Charles Davis
18 hrs

agree  Christine Andersen: I was discussing this recently about approval from west Jutland (my husband's family). People may go into ecstasies in Copenhagen, but in west Jutland, if something is 'not bad', there is almost no higher praise!
21 hrs

agree  katsy
1 day 2 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)



Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs (or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.

KudoZ™ translation help

The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.


See also:

Your current localization setting

English

Select a language

Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search