Give the benefit of the doubt

Most Important Level 2

"to give someone the benefit of the doubt"

Meaning: to trust or believe someone even though you are not 100% sure that they are right or telling the truth; to keep a favorable or neutral opinion about something or someone until all information is available

Why does it mean that?

Even though there is doubt about somebody or something, we still keep a positive opinion of the person of thing. When we do not know what to think about some situation, we give the benefit or advantage to the person or thing. In other words, we regard somebody or something as innocent until we see clear evidence that they are guilty.

When do we use it?

We use this to show that we trust or support someone or something that is being accused of something.

When a person, company, or thing is accused of doing something bad or wrong, we can use this expression to say that we support or trust the person until we see clear evidence that they actually did the crime or bad thing.

How do we use it?

We can use "give somebody the benefit of the doubt" or "give the benefit of the doubt to somebody" in a sentence.
  • Everybody says that Jane stole the watch, but I am not sure. I will give Jane the benefit of the doubt because she is my friend.
  • Nobody gave me the benefit of the doubt when I was accused of stealing. Everybody thought I did it.
  • Mark is my best friend, so I will always give the benefit of the doubt to him. I will always trust what he says.
Example English Conversation

A) I think we should always give a person the benefit of the doubt. We should know for sure if they committed a crime or did something wrong before we blame them.
B) I agree with. Many times, people jump to conclusions and start blaming people without proper evidence.
A) That is exactly what I mean. Everybody deserves the benefit of the doubt.

It is important that you know English expressions and idioms if you want to have fluent English conversations with native English speakers or other advanced English speakers. Do not try to learn many expressions and idioms at one time. Instead, study a few of these free English lessons each week and learn English expressions and words well. This will help your English vocabulary improve steadily, and you will start speaking English like a native speaker.