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Thread: Turn the tables

  1. #1
    patran is offline Member
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    Default Turn the tables

    Dear Teachers

    When I want to say, the guilty party usually likes to file a suit first to pre-empt action by the victim, is there any way that to express it that sounds nautral to native English speakers? I have the follow:

    1) The baddie turns the tables around.
    2) The guilty party manages to turn the tables on the victim.

    Other suggestions are welcome.

    Regards

    Anthony the learner

  2. #2
    JMurray is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Turn the tables

    not a teacher

    The baddie might well turn the tables in that he changes the situation to his advantage, but "turning the tables" doesn't necessarily mean gaining an advantage by acting first against an anticipated problem, which is the point of a preemptive action.
    Perhaps:
    The victim was beaten to the punch when the company sued him first.
    The company got the jump on the victim by suing him first.
    The victim was going to sue the company, but the company got in first.

  3. #3
    SlickVic9000's Avatar
    SlickVic9000 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Turn the tables

    (Not a Teacher)

    You could say that the criminal's defense team "stole/took the initiative".

  4. #4
    Alex Thompson is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Turn the tables

    Games like backgammon are known as 'tables' games. The phrase 'turn the tables' derives from these games and from the practise of reversing the board so that players play from their opponent's previous position.
    The first known example of the figurative use of the phrase in print is in Robert Sanderson's XII sermons, 1634:
    "Whosoever thou art that dost another wrong, do but turn the tables: imagine thy neighbour were now playing thy game, and thou his." Thanks

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