Saturday, August 3

Revenge Expressions

Life isn’t always nice and sweet. And the English language isn’t only for greeting people and saying kind words to them. Sometimes we have to be tough and give a warning. Usually because we are angry or sometimes because we are joking.

Revenge, although negative, is also a part of life. Of course we don’t need to think about revenge, and it’s better to take this feeling out of our heart if we have it. But sometimes we can’t help feeling it so we should learn how to express it, whether with a loud voice or secretly inside our mind.

Below are some expressions that we use when we want to express revenge:

1. I’ll get you back for this.

2. You’ll pay for this.

3. It’s payback time.

4. Watch your back.

Revenge is a Noun

First of all, you have to remember that the word “revenge” itself is a Noun. It is rarely used as a Verb.

Some learners are confused about this. They say:

I will revenge him. = X

I will revenge on him. = X

But they should say:

I will take revenge on him. = Ok

I will have / get revenge on him. = Ok

As you can see, you need to add the Verbtake(or have, get) and the Prepositionon.”

This is because “revenge” is a Noun.  The Verb revenge is sometimes possible but it is formal and used in a different way: 

I will revenge myself on him. 

Now, let’s study our expressions one by one…

1. Get Somebody Back

You know that “Get” is a very common word. It has many meanings and uses.

But did you know that some of the meanings of “get” are about revenge? Surprising, right?

There are at least 3 different revenge expressions with the word “get”:

A. get somebody back

B. get back at somebody

C. get somebody

Let’s make one example for each of them:

A. I’ll get him back. I’ll have the last laugh.

B. She started dating him just to get back at me.

C. The gang members threatened to get him.

All the expressions above mean to hurt or upset someone after they have hurt or upset the Subject. Sometimes the expressions even mean to attack or kill.

All the sentences can have the Prepositionfor” to add detail or reason.

Take a look:

A. I’ll get him back for this.

B. She was trying to get back at me for dumping her. (breaking up with her)

C. The gang members threatened to get him for going to the police.

Get Back At vs. Get Back To

Please be careful. “I’ll get back at you” is different from “I’ll get back to you.” There’s a small difference in Preposition yet, because of this, the first means revenge while the second one means communication.

To be exact, “get back to” means to telephone, write, or talk to somebody later because you are busy or can’t answer their question now. It’s a useful expression in Business English.  

For example,

I’ll find out the exact figures and get back to you.

Can you get back to me by the end of the day?

You can also add the Prepositionon.”

I’ll get back to you on the figures.

Can you get back to me on those prices by the end of the day?

As you can see, it also means giving information to someone.

2. You’ll Pay for This

Another simple word like “pay” can also mean revenge.

But don’t worry. The common, basic meaning of “pay” is to give money to buy something.

For example,

My parents paid for my education.

Let me pay for dinner this time.

Thanks! I’ll pay you for the ticket later.

We have to pay them for the repairs.

But “pay” can also mean to suffer or be punished because you did something bad.

Just like in our title:

You humiliated me (made me feel ashamed)
You’ll pay for this.

In this case, it doesn’t mean money.

You can use this word alone.


He will pay.

A lot of customers got angry so somebody will pay.

Or, like with the revenge expressions of “get,” you can add “for” :

I paid dearly for my mistake. (pay dearly = suffer a lot)

You’re going to pay for making me look stupid!

Lastly, you can use “pay” together with “make.” It has the same meaning of revenge:

I’ll make you pay.

3. It’s Payback Time

Here is another revenge expression with the word “pay.”

This can get confusing for learners. Yes, “pay back” means to return money that somebody borrowed.

For example,

Hey, can I borrow some cash? 
I promise I’ll pay you back next week.

But sometimes, “pay back” also means to do something bad to someone because they did something bad to you first.

Take a look:

I’ll pay them back for what they did to me!

Indeed this expression is very similar to our No.2 expression with “pay,” but you have to remember that in No. 2 above, the Subject is the one who will receive the punishment.


You will pay.

But in No. 3, the one who will give the punishment is the Subject.


I will pay them back!

It’s also common to see this expression as one word, not two. Like this:


But please remember that “pay back(two words) is a Verb while “payback(one word) is a Noun.

Especially in American English, you can say:

This is payback for what you did to me.

Maybe you’ve heard it in movies or TV series, this Noun is also used in the phrase “payback time.”

After last season, it’s payback time in this game.

4. Watch Your Back

Among all 4 expressions, this last one is the easiest. It’s because there’s usually a direct translation of “Watch your back” in other languages.

Basically it means that you have to be careful of people around you, and to make sure that they do nothing to hurt you.

Maybe you can feel it; this expression will become a warning to someone if you say this when you are angry. Your enemy doesn’t need to be careful of many people. He needs to be careful of only you.

But he doesn’t know when you will attack him. He can’t expect when your revenge will come.

The complete version is:

I’ll get my revenge. So watch your back.

Hope You Learned Something!

Keep on learning !

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