[Music] Hello there, it’s Mark, and this is the Everyday Language for English learners podcast. This idiom, today, is “do it justice”.
Have you heard this before? “To do it justice” or “do something justice.”
Well, I’m gonna tell you what it means, and I’ll give you some example sentences and explain a bit about how to use it.
To do it justice has two meanings, which kind of overlap. The first one is this – to do something justice – is to show or emphasise the good qualities of someone or something.
The first example – to emphasise the good qualities of somebody – it could be like this:
This photo doesn’t do her justice; she is much more beautiful in real life.
So imagine you’ve got a photo of your friend, who is a really beautiful girl. In the photo, your friend doesn’t look as beautiful as she does in real life.
Sometimes the angle is a bit weird, or the light isn’t quite right in the photo. It doesn’t show the person’s qualities, your friend’s qualities as well, as they might.
So in that kind of context, say it’s a photo, or it’s a painting, you could say, “It doesn’t do her justice; she is much more beautiful in real life.”
And you can replace your friend with another person, a guy, or an old person, a young person, or with a, with a scene, with a place or an object.
[For example] This photo of the new school building doesn’t do it justice, in real life, it’s much, it’s much bigger than in this photo.
Or, this photo doesn’t do the City of London any justice. In real life, it looks much better, London looks much better than it does in this photo.
Okay so, you know, I’ve given you examples which are kind of negatives. Like it doesn’t do it justice, or it doesn’t do her justice. But you can also use it in a positive sentence.
You could say, you know, this photo does her justice. She looks amazing, you know, she looks really beautiful.
Or, this portrait of the Queen is amazing; it does the Queen justice, she looks as she should look, she looks good.
Okay, the second meaning of “to do it justice” is to deal with something in a way that it should be dealt with.
Okay, it’s kind of similar to the first one, but it’s about an action which you may be doing. For instance, if you’ve got lots of work to do but it’s really important you may say this:
“This is important work; I don’t want to rush it, I want to do it justice.”
Meaning, for important work, if you rush it, maybe you’ll make a mistake. So you want to take your time and do really good work. To be really, thorough and do it justice, you know, do your best, give your best piece of work, give your… all your effort and do it justice.
And a second example is this:
Today is an important day; it’s the final exam day, make sure you do your best, do it justice.
Okay, so when you’ve got something really important to do, you may use this phrase “to do it justice”.
Okay, that’s it for today’s idiom. Thank you for listening as ever. I really appreciate your support.
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If you want an easy to use reference dictionary about English idioms this is my recommendation:
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Intro music Happy by Setuniman, see his work on Pond5.com Royalty free licence
Outro music: Accordion Improvisation song by Tristan Lohengrin (CC attribution licence)
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