I used to say "Forgive my behavior" and I am quite sure you can say this in English. I am quite sure, if you need to use that phrase too often, there might be a social issue and any grammar issues are less important. However, in a recent conversation, just before sending out a message to a lot of our customers, I suggested using the following sentence to ask for understanding in case the message was received multiple times:

Please forgive us the duplicates.

A colleague pointed out that this is not proper English and we ended up with

Please forgive us for any duplicates.

Which definitely sounds better.

Is the former version of this sentence (without the pronoun) really invalid? Does it sound bad to a native speaker? Would the following, without pronoun, work too?

Please forgive us any duplicates.


Please forgive us any duplicates.

As far as I'm aware, this is not idiomatic. However, there are two options here, relatively close to what you want.

When looking up "forgive" in the OED, notice that there are two different objects that you can use:

  • I'll never forgive David for the way he treated her.
  • You will have to forgive my suspicious mind

You can forgive a person, or you can forgive a mistake. Both are correct, as long as they're the object of the sentence.

That means that you have options too:

  • Please forgive us [for any duplicates].
  • Please forgive any duplicates [made by us].

Both mean the same thing, assuming that "us" is the only party who could be responsible for making duplicates.
Otherwise, if another party could also possibly be responsible for making duplicates, then "forgive us" seems to omit forgiving the other party, whereas "forgive any duplicates" covers both you and the other party.

  • 3
    I immediately thought of "Forgive us our trespasses" in the traditional English version of the Lord's Prayer. This version, although much-loved, contains several forms of words that we don't use today. I agree with Flater's suggestions. – Kate Bunting Oct 3 '17 at 8:51
  • 1
    @KateBunting Came here to say this, except that my ancestors would have it "forgive us our debts". Grammatically, this is similar to the asker's original sentence. – MetaEd Oct 3 '17 at 21:33
  • Thank you for the answers. However, the question was whether the "for" between "forgive us" and the object is required. – Kariem Oct 11 '17 at 21:21
  • @Kariem: See KateBunting (and MetaEd)'s comment. There are occurrences of "Forgive us [the object]" which omits the "for", but this phrasing is no longer used nowadays. – Flater Oct 12 '17 at 7:51

Wiki and the OED both say that 'forgive' comes from the Dutch 'vergeven' and the German 'vergeben' and appears in Old English as forgiefan. http://www.verbix.com/webverbix/go.php?D1=23&T1=forgiefan

The problem is that 'forgiefan' and, therefore, 'forgiven' mean 'completely given' or completely permitted. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=forgive

'Pardon' is different. Something is wrong and is accepted as wrong, but the person doing the wrong receives a pardon, despite the wrongness. Or else receives a pardon on the basis that they never did it in the first place.

But 'forgive' completely absolves everything. The debt disappears, the wrong is forgotten, the person is seen as guiltless.

To 'forgive' is actually an injustice.

So they who forgive, must forgive both the act and the perpetrator. And they must do so simultaneously.

  • 2
    How is this an answer to the question? – Flater Oct 3 '17 at 6:56
  • @ Flater the Question was 1. Forgive us 2. Forgive us for. It is a question of forgiving the person or forgiving the act. – Nigel J Oct 3 '17 at 15:09
  • Well, no. The premise of the question was if "Please forgive us the duplicates." or "Please forgive us any duplicates." was grammatically sound, neither of which use "for". – Flater Oct 3 '17 at 15:38
  • @ Flater I think that the accuracy of the grammar depends on the concept of 'forgiveness'. Does forgiveness relate to the person or the action ? – Nigel J Oct 3 '17 at 18:49

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