Based on Merriam-Webster: "all clear" means a signal that a danger has passed

I would like to use it for another purpose in the sentence:

I have rejected him the moment he came all clear about his feelings toward me.

Is my usage of the phrase proper?

  • 1
    Since you're referring to a thing that took place in the past ("the moment he came clean about his feelings") as the time of your rejecting, you cannot use the present perfect in your main clause. I rejected him the moment he came clean..., not have rejected. If you want to make his coming clean the starting point of your ongoing rejecting then you can use the perfect with "ever since": I have been rejecting his advances ever since the moment he came clean... Jan 18, 2019 at 12:56
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo - We have been taught that we should use the present perfect when an action happens in the past but has effect in the present. So, I somehow applied that on my sentence. However, I clearly see your point, and I think I have a few sentences that would perfectly work with the present perfect continuous + ever since. Thanks for shedding light on the tense issue.
    – Tasneem ZH
    Jan 18, 2019 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


No, your use of all clear isn't proper.

Not only because that's not the meaning we would associate with all clear but also because there is already a common phrase that's used in the way you describe: come clean.

From Merriam-Webster's definition of come:

transitive verb
come clean

: to tell the whole story : CONFESS
// came clean about her crimes

In your example sentence, what people would already say is:

I rejected him the moment he came clean about his feelings toward me.

  • This is exactly the phrase that I wanted to use, but remembered it as "all clear". Thanks so much.
    – Tasneem ZH
    Jan 18, 2019 at 3:15

All clear:

If someone in authority gives you the all clear, they give you permission to continue with a plan or activity, usually after a problem has been sorted out.

  • I was given the all clear by the doctor to resume playing.

(Collins Dictionary)

You sentence makes an inappropriate usage of “all clear”. You should probably say:

I rejected him the moment he clearly showed his feelings toward me.

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