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    forgive/ pardon/excuse/condone

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to explain to me in plain English the difference between the meanings of the verbs in bold in the following sntences?

    “Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgeve them.”
    “After the revolution all political prisoners were pardoned.”
    “There are some acts of injustice which no national interest can excuse.”
    “Failure to protest the policy may imply a willingness to condone it.”

    What about absolve, acquite, exonerate, overlook, pardon, remit?

    Thank you for your efforts.



    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 13

    Re: forgive/ pardon/excuse/condone

    forgive/ pardon/excuse/condone

    I see why you are asking. In all of the sentences, they are used correctly and how Americans would use those words.

    Forgive implies personal relationships or debts
    Pardon implies a government agency and incarceration, but is has a social use: pardon me please (I need to pass by), I beg your pardon ( you have offended me or I didn't understand what you said. It's rather formal and not used much anymore.
    Excuse means that it can be made different and can be used in many different contexts
    Condone means that it is approved of, sanctioned, permitted. It implies a moral view or a judgment.

    Forgive, pardon, and excuse can all be used in place of one another
    Condone means that the person approves of or sanctions the act. It is different.

    absolve, acquite, exonerate, overlook, pardon, remit?
    The words that are the most alike are: absolve/pardon/forgive/excuse
    acquit means that the person is not quilty as judged in court. It doesn't relate to most of the others. They are innocent of the charges.
    exonerate means that the penalty or judgment has been lifted and the person is returned to their normal status
    overlook implies that something is wrong, but the person is willing to not hold someone responsible for it
    remit means to pay something, usually in monetary terms, like paying a bill.

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