I remember there's an English idiom, but I can't recall it clearly.

That idiom says if you feel uncertain about whether someone's performance is good or lousy, you might as well give him/her more positive assessment.

The idiom is NOT a legal jargon, just an ordinary idiom. And compared to "presumption of innocence", the idiom goes a little further, which is why I made up the phrase "favorable presumption".

1 Answer 1


There are possibly a number of idioms, but the one that springs to mind is to "err on the side of grace". This means to overlook errors rather than harshly judge them in situations where you are torn between the two.

It is perhaps a corruption of "err on the side of caution", which means to be careful when undecided about a matter. Searches throw up a number of instances where people use other words in a similar way, ie "err on the side of [x]". One example I found was to "err on the side of positive", which is perhaps more easily understandable than "grace".

Another very common idiom is "the benefit of the doubt", but this very specifically means defaulting to believing someone if you are unsure if they are trustworthy, or giving someone a chance if you are unsure. It wouldn't really relate to your scenario of marking someone favourable.

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    Give them the benefit of the doubt is another possibility, meaning 'when there is doubt, choose the more favourable option'. Jun 17, 2020 at 10:27
  • @KateBunting True, although that normally relates to doubt over believing someone or not.
    – Astralbee
    Jun 17, 2020 at 12:38

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