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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread May 11th, 2007, 05:11 am
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Default That's the spirit.

I was asked about using that's the spirit and here was the situation.

My student asked: a young woman is very shy, but plucks up some courage and asks her boss for a raise. Can we say 'That's the spirit?'

I said, no. I told her that 'That's the spirit.' is used when there is a change in attitude (from negative thinking to positive thinking.)

She wasn't satitsfied and so I told her I would ask around. What do you think?
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Unread May 11th, 2007, 05:55 am
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Smile Re: That's the spirit.

Your students certainly are an opinionated bunch, aren't they? They always are asking you questions, then doubting your answers!

In this case, I think that the student may be right. It's more than a change in attitude. In the example, the shy office worker who wouldn't ask for a raise does so, which would express a change in behavior. It would also display model or excellent behavior. From Dictionary.com: "excellent disposition or attitude in terms of vigor, courage, firmness of intent, etc."

With the caveat that the idiom means a change in attitude, behavior, and thinking, I believe your right as to when it would be used.
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Unread May 11th, 2007, 07:28 am
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Default Re: That's the spirit.

Yes, I'd go along with the student too - for me it can be used any time someone decides to act positively in a difficult situation where it would be easy to give up. So rather a rejection of negative thinking than necessarily a change.

I found this in an old Time article -

Before leaving Fort Bragg, President Kennedy visited 300 men of the 82nd who had not participated in the performance; they had been on combat alert. One paratrooper startled the President by shouting in his face: "Airborne, all the way!" Replied the President of the U.S., with every reason to mean what he said: "That's the spirit."

It's an expression to give encouragement or approval to thinking and acting in a way which would overcome obstacles.
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Unread May 11th, 2007, 09:40 am
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Default Re: That's the spirit.

Quote:
Quote HUE
Your students certainly are an opinionated bunch, aren't they? They always are asking you questions, then doubting your answers!
These students (2 of them) are university level English teachers. They do appreciate my input (or I assume they'd stop paying me) but I feel they sometimes come to me for verification and they don't take too well to me disagreeing.

Thanks for the feedback. As I was writing it here in the forums, I did think there was a possibility of it's use. If she was standing up for a raise she deserved or the boss needed to be reminded, I could see using it. But it seems like something you would use just before the woman asks, when that person says to you, 'I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna ask for a raise.'

Actually, now I think it was more the way my student said it that made me think it was awkward. It may be one of those lines you need to be able to pull off.
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