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 this dictation exercise to hear this phrasal verb being used in context – how much can you understand?

Dictation #1

Accent: Scotland

This been , but I’m ready it me get on .
This year has been , but I’m ready to it behind me get on with life.

…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.

Discussion question

Write your answer to this question in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • 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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