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.

  1. Bury the hatchet/your differences
  2. Forgive and forget
  3. Let bygones be bygones
  4. Let off
  5. Let something go
  6. Make allowance for
  7. Make peace with someone
  8. To err is human (to forgive divine)
  9. Turn a blind eye
  10. Turn a deaf ear
  11. Water under the bridge
  12. 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.
Talking about forgiving in English
Talking about forgiving in English

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.

Let go

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.
Talking about forgiving in English
Talking about forgiving in English

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.
Talking about Forgiving in English
Talking about Forgiving in English

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