In the middle of a conversation he had with my father, [Mr. X] asked him: “What does your son want to do in future?”. “He wants to do religious studies,” my father replied.
He talked on my behalf without talking to me about it beforehand.

(This is not a quote from a book, it's my own translation from a weird language into English.)

In the above context, when the child and his father are both present and the father doesn't let the child answer the question, is it correct to say "my father talked on my behalf without talking to me about it beforehand"?

Is absence of the child needed?

Is it polite for the child to say "my father speaks for me without talking to me beforehand" or does it have a negative connotation that the child is angry with his father because of what he has done?

  • 2
    Actually, it does. On my behalf is fine but 'He spoke on my behalf without talking to me...' or '...without consulting me beforehand.' would sound more natural. Dec 25, 2013 at 20:40
  • on my behalf is absolutely appropriate here, and conveys, even, the unfairness of the situation. However, I would ask you to think about your use of talked. While talk and speek are quite similar, it's more common to "speak" on one's behalf, unless it is perhaps a long conversation someone is having on your behalf. Dec 26, 2013 at 5:30

1 Answer 1


On someone's behalf is correct, unobjectionable and fine in the context. on behalf of does not require the absence of the person – there's no such connotation in the expression.


As the agent of; on the part of.
The guardian signed the contract on behalf of the minor child.

TFD Idioms:

for the benefit or support of someone A team of lawyers sued the company on behalf of the workers who lost their jobs.

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