Funny grammar issue with the verb aprovechar

I saw this word the other day and was inspired to write a little about some of the fun Spanish language "finer points" that I have picked up along my four year Spanish language-learning journey. I don't claim to be a perfect grammarian, but I have learned a few things along the way.

Here is one fun point:

So you may probably already know that "aprovechar" means to take advantage of an opportunity, with positive connotation. But how you ask, does one say to take advantage in a negative way?

The answer lies in one of the most beguiling points of the Spanish language (at least for thick-headed Anglophones like me). It's the reflexive verb.

By making aprovechar reflexive, and adding the preposition de before the object you can indicate taking advantage in a negative sense.

So, for example: No tuve que trabajar ayer, y aproveché el dia para descansar. I did not have to work yesterday, and I took advantage of the day to relax.

Al parecer que el jefe no ha pagado a los trabajadores. El ladron se aprovechó de ellos. Apparently, the boss didn't pay the workers. The thief took advantage of them.

Aprovechar is positive. Aprovecharse de is negative.

I like how reflexives can totally change a verb's meaning–makes things a lot more interesting to me.

submitted by /u/regurgitater
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