"in all fairness to", "out of fairness"

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What are the meaning of "in all fairness to" and "out of fairness"?
I have checked the definitions of them online but still confuse about how to use them

Thank you!
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    In AE, these phrases are fairly common:

    "But, in all fairness (to Judy), ..."
    "But, to be fair (to Judy), ..."
    "But, out of fairness (to Judy), we should..."

    The expressions are used when we have only been talking about one side of an issue, but there is another side to it. If we want to "be fair" to everyone, we need to consider the other side also before reaching a conclusion or making a decision.

    For example, we have only mentioned the reasons for throwing Judy out of our club. But if we want to be fair to Judy, we must also discuss the reasons for not throwing Judy out of our club. We should only make the final decision after considering both.

    The expressions are used to introduce a change in the discussion, and to start pointing out the "other side" reasons.

    Example: "I agree that her behavior on Tuesday night was unacceptable. But, to be fair, she was put in an impossible situation. I am not sure that any of us would have handled it better."
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