Talking about Forgiving in English
Hi English learners. Welcome to a new lesson. We will look at 12 phrases and expressions you need for talking about forgiving in English.
- Bury the hatchet/your differences
- Forgive and forget
- Let bygones be bygones
- Let off
- Let something go
- Make allowance for
- Make peace with someone
- To err is human (to forgive divine)
- Turn a blind eye
- Turn a deaf ear
- Water under the bridge
- Wipe the slate clean
Bury the hatchet/your differences
Meaning: to end an argument and come to friendly terms again.
- 10 years after the war, the two countries finally decided to bury the hatchet and began trading again.
- I think it’s time we bury our differences and try to be friends.
Forgive and forget
Meaning: to stop being angry at someone for something they said or done to you and act as if it had never happened.
- I don’t approve of what he did to you but don’t you think it’s time to forgive and forget?
- It seems like Molly is in no mood to forgive and forget her husband cheating on her.
Let bygones be bygones
Meaning: use the phrase when you decide to forgive and forget about past conflicts and arguments.
- If you are ready to forgive me, I think we should let bygones be bygones.
- Mike and Lucy decided to let bygones be bygones and be friends again.
Let someone off
Meaning: to forgive or not punish someone for doing something wrong.
- When she saw him crying, she decided to let him off.
- They were supposed to stay in prison for a week but the police let them off with a fine.
Meaning: to not argue with someone over something wrong they’ve done or said.
- I think we should let go of our past differences and move on.
- It’s difficult to forgive and forget sometimes, but we should let go of the past because we can’t change it.
Make allowance for
Meaning: to let someone act in a way that would not be accepted under normal circumstances.
- You have to make allowances for Michael because he’s ill.
- Her father is always making allowances for her behaviour on account of her age.
Make peace with someone
Meaning: to stop arguing and start living happily with someone or forgive them.
- You have to make peace with your sister if you want to go on a picnic with us.
- Sofia made peace with her ex-husband before he moved abroad.
To err is human (to forgive divine)
Meaning: a proverb meaning that it is natural to forgive people when they make mistakes.
- It’s understandable that you can’t forget what he told you but to err is human and to forgive divine.
- You should forgive yourself for the accident. To err is human.
Turn a blind eye
Meaning: to ignore something wrong or pretend you don’t see it.
The authorities should never turn a blind eye to the problems of refugees.
How could you turn a blind eye to our child’s drug problem?
Turn a deaf ear
Meaning: to refuse to listen to people when they ask for help or complain.
- Schools should never turn a deaf ear to children’s problems such as drugs and violence.
- We are trying not to turn a deaf ear to the problems of asylum seekers.
Water under the bridge
Meaning: refers to problems we used to have but don’t have any more because they existed a long time ago.
- Paula did have a few arguments with her boss but it’s water under the bridge now because she’s got a new job.
- The problems we had when we were children are water under the bridge now.
Wipe the slate clean
Meaning: to forget and forgive past mistakes and make a new start.
- Sandra and her boyfriend decided to forget the argument and wipe the slate clean.
- There is no need to apologize. Let’s just wipe the slate clean and start all over again.
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