Set Right: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
September 1, 2023

We often come across idioms in the English language, but what does it mean to "set right"? When you say something is set right, you imply that you have corrected or adjusted a problem or error to the proper condition. 

In short:

  • "Set right" means to correct or adjust something to its proper state or condition.

What Does “Set Right” Mean?

The idiom “set right” has a straightforward meaning and can be applied in various contexts.

Here's a comprehensive understanding:

  • To Correct or Adjust: It refers to correcting an error or mistake, putting things back in their proper order or state.
  • To Clarify Misunderstanding: Set right can also mean clearing up confusion or misunderstanding, or explaining something so that others understand it correctly.

The idiom can be used in different contexts and has variations such as “set things right” or “set the record straight.” These variations align with the main idea of correction or adjustment.

Where Does “Set Right” Come From?

The origin of the idiom “set right” can be traced back to the English language and its development over the centuries.

Historical Usage

Literature and publications dating back to the early 19th century have used the phrase "set right."

"I endeavoured to set right what was amiss, and to finish what was left undone,"

- Jane Austen, in "Mansfield Park" (1814).

The historical usage of this idiom shows how integral it has been in articulating the act of correction or clarification.

10 Examples of “Set Right” in Sentences

Here are some examples to demonstrate the use of "set right" in various contexts:

  • After the misunderstanding, they decided to set right the situation by talking openly about their feelings.
  • When the books were not balanced, the accountant had to set right the numbers.
  • After spilling his coffee, Tom realized that the day had started off on the wrong foot, so he took a moment to set right his thoughts and prepare for the meeting ahead.
  • You can always count on Tom to set right any technical issues with your computer.
  • The coach decided to set right the training schedule to improve the team’s performance.
  • It's time to set right our environmental policies for the betterment of our planet.
  • The mayor promised to set right the city's public transportation system.
  • The company had to set right their marketing strategy to reach their target audience.
  • When the weather got rough, they had to set right the sails on the boat.
  • The manager made a point to set right any issues in the dock before the shipment arrived.

Examples of “Set Right” in Pop Culture

Here are some real examples of “set right” in movies, songs, and TV shows:

  • The movie "12 Angry Men" portrays a jury's effort to set right the course of justice.
  • In the song "Set Right the Time," by The Rolling Stones, the lyrics refer to the act of correction.
  • A storyline in the TV series "Friends" where characters try to set right their complex relationships.
  • The novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" includes themes of trying to set right societal injustices.
  • It is a documentary about environmentalists striving to set right the damage done to nature.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say “Set Right"

When you want to convey the same meaning as "set right," you can use these synonyms:

  • To Correct: For example, the teacher helped to correct the student's mistakes.
  • To Amend: For example, the legislation was amended to include new guidelines.
  • To Rectify: For example, he rectified the error in the document.
  • To Repair: For example, the mechanic repaired the car's engine.
  • To Fix: For example, the plumber was called to fix the leaking faucet.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About “Set Right”:

  • What does "set right" mean?

Set right means to correct or adjust something to its proper state or condition.

  • Where did the idiom “set right” originate?

It originated in the English language, with historical examples dating back to the early 19th century.

  • How can I use "set right" in a sentence?

You can use "set right" to indicate the correction or adjustment of something, like a mistake or misunderstanding.

  • Is "set right" a common phrase in pop culture?

Yes, "set right" has been used in movies, songs, TV shows, and literature to depict various forms of correction or adjustment.

  • Can you use "set right" in formal writing?

Yes, "set right" is appropriate for formal writing and can be used in essays, reports, and official documents.

  • What are some synonyms for "set right"?

Synonyms for "set right" include correct, amend, rectify, repair, and fix.

  • Is "set right" used in legal contexts?

Yes, "set right" can be used in legal contexts like "in the dock," where it may refer to correcting legal misconceptions or adjusting legal proceedings.

  • Can you use "set right" to wind back a situation?

Yes, "set right" can be used to "wind back" a situation by restoring it to its correct or original state, such as winding back a clock or revisiting a previous condition.

  • What common misconceptions exist about the idiom "set right"?

Some people might mistake the idiom for being related only to physical adjustments, such as setting a clock to the correct time. However, it extends to correcting mistakes, misconceptions, or putting things in order in various contexts. This idiom can be applied to relationships, business, education, and more.

  • Is it possible to use the phrase "set right" in formal writing like business or academic papers?

Yes, the phrase "set right" can be used in formal writing, though it's more commonly seen in everyday conversation and informal writing. In formal contexts, it may be more appropriate to use synonyms like "correct," "rectify," or "amend" to convey the same meaning.

Final Thoughts About “Set Right”

The idiom "set right" is a versatile idiom used to convey the act of correction, clarification, or adjustment. Its presence in literature, pop culture, and daily conversations highlights its significance in the English language.

Here’s a summary:

  • Used to correct or adjust a situation or thing
  • Found in various contexts like relationships, technical issues, and societal matters
  • Has a rich historical background with examples from literature
  • Used across different mediums in pop culture
  • Has synonyms like correct, amend, rectify, and repair

The idiom "set right" continues to be an essential part of English communication, allowing us to express the idea of fixing or clarifying something with ease and clarity.

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