Friday, February 10, 2012

Clean slate/ Wipe the slate clean

A clean slate is a new beginning. It is an opportunity to start again without prejudice. What happened in the past doesn’t matter anymore.

1. Since 1994 South Africa has been called “The New South Africa”, because that’s when apartheid ended and the first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, took office. It was seen as a fresh start for the country as a whole – to try and do things a different way. It was a clean slate so to speak.

2.  You can be bitter (angry/ have resentment) towards someone or you can forgive them and wipe the slate clean. It’s not easy to “forgive and forget”, but if you are able to, you can have a new beginning.

3. Don’t you feel like you have a clean slate at the beginning of a new year? You have new possibilities and a fresh start. We can learn from our mistakes in the previous year and move forward.

4. When someone “turns over a new leaf”, it means that they wipe the slate clean and make an effort to be a better person and to change completely. Do you believe that people can change, or are you skeptical?

5. At the start of a new year at school or a new semester at university, everyone has a clean slate. Their grades from the last year/ semester will not affect the new one. They have a new beginning.

6. A Brazilian driver’s license has a 20-point system, where points are deducted for infractions (not obeying the rules of the road). A minor speeding infraction will result in a 3-point deduction. A person driving with their elbow outside the window will lose 4 points. Not wearing a safety belt will result in the loss of 4 points. The points for an infraction are considered for one year, starting at the day of the offense. You will have a clean slate after a year (if you don’t accumulate any more infractions).


  1. Let´s wipe the slate clean and start again!!!
    Sometimes "forgive and forget" is really neccesary!!

  2. Hi Roberto,
    some small corrections:
    "to wipe the slate clean"/ "forgettING could be a little naive..."/ "It depends ON the situation".

    Have a great weekend too Roberto!

  3. Once again it looks like Roberto's comment has been abducted by the aliens. =]

  4. That is very strange... I posted his comment again manually... and that one disappeared too! Alien abduction insurance is looking more necessary than I could have imagined... just in case!
    We need to get to the bottom of this...

  5. Hey Frank,

    Thanks a lot for all corrections... Let's see if this comment is going to vanish as well...I don't know what do...It's look like some Aliens are against my ...Anyway...

    Keep in touch


  6. Hi Roberto,
    finally, a comment that has not vanished!
    Have a great weekend


  7. I'd read the idiom for a dozen of times before I realized it was saying "clean slate", not "clean state". Seriously, "state" could be an appropriate word here as well. What does "slate" mean in this case, anyway?

    You can wipe the slate clean and start everything over not only at the New Year's. I mean, nothing prevents you from that in any other day. Moreover, lots of people seem to come up with these new year resolutions and promises to take up a new activity in the new year, and then usually fail to keep up with it. As for me, it's more harmful than useful.

    I believe a person can change, but if and only if he/she wants to change. Nothing else will do. BTW, this point is coupled with the previous one.

    Thanks a lot for the blog, Frank!

  8. Hi Eugene (Pluton),
    Here's a link to a picture of a slate:

    Now you will see that when you wipe a slate clean, you can start all over again... Have a new beginning. This idiom is figurative.

    A slate is a mini version of the blackboards we used to have at school.

    You are right... most people give up with their New Year's Resolutions after not so long... at least for a moment, though, they feel as if they have a new beginning. It works for a few people.

  9. Aha, I think I've got it. It does look like a mini blackboard, but I've never used these slates at school. I remember a simple toy for children, which was like a slate, but made of plastic, where one could draw (an image would persist because the top layer of the thing would get pressed to the bottom one by a pen), and then swipe the special handle from top to bottom to clean it.

  10. Oh, one question about the rules of the road in Brazil: "A person driving with their elbow outside the window will lose 4 points." Really?? I can't understand what's the problem with that.

  11. It's an interesting rule, I know! But it makes sense, somehow. I've spoken to my students about it and they agree that it is dangerous to drive with your elbow sticking out of the window, because you have less control of the steering wheel. However, most of them admitted that they would disregard that rule if they were driving really slowly along the beach or in a traffic jam.

  12. It's up to us whether wiping the slate clean or not.