Idiom: to take advantage of; used as a verb. This idiom can have a positive and negative meaning.
First example: It has been raining for the past two weeks, but today is sunny. Tom has decided to take advantage of the good weather to get some exercise outside.
Meaning: In this example, “to take advantage of” means “to have a good opportunity and use it to get something good for oneself.” This is the positive meaning of the idiom. The weather has been bad for the previous two weeks, but today is a nice day. Tom is able to enjoy the nice weather and has the opportunity to exercise outside.
Here is another example:
Second example: Jennifer, Joe, and Dan are working on a project together. Dan wants to date Jennifer, but Jennifer wants to date Joe. She knows Dan will do anything to impress her. Jennifer takes advantage of Dan and asks him to finish the project by himself. While he is working on the project, Jennifer and Joe go to dinner and a movie.
Meaning: This example shows the negative meaning of “to take advantage of:” “to get something for oneself by hurting someone else.” Jennifer knows that Dan likes her. She uses his feelings to convince him to do the project alone. Then she goes on a date with Joe while Dan finishes the project. When Dan finds out, he will definitely be hurt.
This idiom is from LSI's book "Reading Transitions," which is used in the Level 4 Listening/Speaking classes. For more information, please visit http://www.languagesystems.com/