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    make amends

    Dear teachers,

    Would you tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentences?

    He made amends for the damaged goods.

    He wanted to make amends for the damage that he had caused.

    make amends = compensate

    She made amends for her sins by acts of penance.

    What punishment can make amends for such frightful misdeed? (W. S. Maugham, “Catalina”)

    make amends = expiate, atone; submit to punishment for wrongdoing

    Thank you for your efforts.



    • Member Info
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    Re: make amends

    Sounds fine to me V.

    I have no idea but "amends" sounds like it comes from "mend" and that make amends means in a sense, loosely, to make "a mend" i.e. to fix a situation that one has created. I think that make amends is particularly used to refer to compensation for ones own past misdeeds, whereas compensate can just as easily refer to the act of an insurance company for instance, which compensates third parties for the actions of its customers, for instance. However, I can imagine, someone saying, in literature at least "If only I could make amends for the sins of my forebears." Hmm....even then I think (I am not sure) that it implies that one feels bad about the act, or at least that the act was bad, whereas an insurer compensating a lightening strike mightnot. Thus, to make amends implies for me an act of contrition, and this distinguishes it from plain old compensate.

    But I would not bet my bottom dollar on it.

    And rerearding your example it is clear that is not only contrition, since one can have others make amends for their wrong doings in the form of punishment.

    Well, perhaps then it contains a moral aspect not included in compensate.
    Last edited by timtak; 27-Oct-2010 at 09:36.

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