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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

To Take Something Back

To Take Something Back

Meaning: to say that something you said before is not true

Example 1:

Terri: I feel just awful! I told some friends at a party last week that Cindy was cheating on her husband because I saw her having dinner with another man at a really nice restaurant. However, I just found out today that the man was her brother who was visiting her for the weekend.

Selma: Oh, no! How many people did you tell? It is going to be so hard to take it back. I bet people have been gossiping about this for a week!

Terri: Yes, I know! I really wish I could take back everything I said, but I’m afraid it’s impossible. But I’m going to try. I’m going to call everyone at the party to tell them I was wrong.

Selma: That’s going to take a lot of time. Good luck!

Terri: Thanks, I’ll need it.

Example 2:

Ken: Jolene, could I talk to you in private for just a moment?
Jolene: Umm…I don’t know, Ken. I’m still a little upset about last night.
Ken: I know. I just want to tell you that I had a little too much to drink at the restaurant and I didn’t mean the things I said.
Jolene: What? Do you really think you can take back what you said about me? Maybe your true feelings were showing when you said that I am just a spoiled little rich girl!
Ken: If I could take it all back I would! I really didn’t mean it, Jolene. Please believe me!
Jolene: I just can’t forget what you said! Maybe you should be more careful from now on. It’s so difficult to take back the things you tell people, especially the insults.
Ken: I know and I hope you can forgive me someday….

To take back means to say that something you said in the past is not true. In the first example, Terri told a lot of people that Cindy was having an affair. Those people will tell other people and pretty soon many people will think she is having an affair. However, it is not true, but it will be very hard to take back this piece of gossip because so many people have heard it. In the second example, Ken said something very hurtful to Jolene. Because of this, Jolene cannot forget his words and will not forgive him. Ken cannot take back his words.
This idiom can be found in the LSI textbook Reading Connections. This book is used at LSI schools in the level 3 Reading/Vocabulary classes. For more information, please visit:

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