You are likely to hear the term benefit of the doubt many times when listening to English conversation, but what does this saying mean? We are going to be taking a look at the meaning of this term as well as finding out where it first came from. We will also see some examples of how the term works in order to further understand how it works.
Benefit of the Doubt
Benefit of the Doubt Meaning
When someone uses the term benefit of the doubt they are saying that they will not make a judgement on a person or situation before seeing the end result, even if the situation seems like it will fail.
Origin of this English idiom
The term benefit of the doubt can be dated back to the late 1700’s and is a reference to the legal term reasonable doubt.
“Benefit of the Doubt” Examples
We will now take a look at some examples of how the term benefit of the doubt can be used within a sentence.
The first statement is being made in a news report.
- Police decided to give the lady the benefit of the doubt since there was no evidence and she had never been involved with a crime in the past.
The next sentence is being said by a mother.
- I’m not too keen on my son’s new partner but I will give her the benefit of the doubt.
- The referee gave him the benefit of the doubt.
- I didn’t know whether his story was true or not, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
- We went easy on Baker and gave him the benefit of the doubt.
- Something didn’t seem quite right, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
- She claimed she wasn’t trying to commit suicide, and doctors gave her the benefit of the doubt.
There are a variety of conversations in which the term benefit of the doubt might appear, we are now going to take a look at some examples of this.
The first conversation is taking place between two friends.
- Person 1: “I do not trust Sandy, she keeps acting very strange.”
- Person 2: “Yes, but you’ve no proof that she is up to no good.”
- Person 1: ” I guess I’ll have to give her the benefit of the doubt then.”
The next conversation is happening between two co-workers.
- Person 1: “The new guy claims to have done this job before but I don’t think he has.”
- Person 2: “We will have to give the benefit of the doubt until he messes up.”
Other Ways to Say the Idiom
You are able to reference the term benefit of the doubt by using other wording.
Let’s have a look at some examples of other things you might say in its place.
- Reasonable doubt
- Give them a chance
- In case of doubt