mixed blessing: meaning and explanation

If you say that something is a mixed blessing, it means that something has positive and negative aspects, advantages as well as disadvantages.

It is often used to point out that something which people assume is a very good thing also has some drawbacks. e.g. The new rail development may turn out to be a bit of a mixed blessing for the village. It will be much easier to get to London, but noise pollution is likely to increase.

Have a go at this dictation exercise to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Dictation #1

Accent: North America

Many people the lottery, it be a .
Many people dream winning the lottery, apparently it actually be a blessing.

…apparently it can actually be a mixed blessing…

Apparently is used to introduce an idea or opinion which you have heard from someone else. You are saying that it may not be true, but it is interesting.

It is often used when you are gossiping, e.g. Apparently, Michael’s been having an affair for the last 2 years.

Discussion questions

Write your answers to these questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • Can you think of an example of something which is generally assumed to be a very good thing, but which might actually be a mixed blessing?
  • Do you agree with the speaker in the second example, who thinks that winning the lottery might be a mixed blessing?

Was this helpful?