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put behind: meaning and explanation

If someone puts something behind them, then they move on from something bad or negative that has happened to them. Perhaps they are able to forget about it, or maybe they find a way to stop letting it affect them. The result is that they can move on with their life.

An example could be someone who has suffered some kind of traumatic experience such as being a victim of a crime. This could have long lasting effects, but talking about the experience with a counsellor might help the victim to put it behind them.

This phrasal verb might be used to say that someone has moved on, e.g. It was a horrible experience, but I managed to put it behind me.

It could also be used to advise someone to move on, e.g. I know you’re upset about this, but you’ve got to try to put it behind you and think about the future.

Have a go at these micro-dictation exercises to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Listening exercises

Dictation #1

Accent: Scotland

, .
This been , but I’m ready it me get on .

About the sentence

…and get on with my life

The phrasal verb to get on with sth = to continue with sth. e.g. Once the children have gone to bed, I’m going to get on with tidying up.

Dictation #2

Accent: North America

Dictation #3

Accent: Ireland


Extra practice

Here are some questions/links to help you learn the new vocabulary:

  • Is there anything that people can do to help them to move on from a bad experience and put it behind them?

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