Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

talk about accountability in English

What does it mean when you say that someone is accountable?

The meaning of this word usually depends on the context, but it means that someone is responsible, trustworthy, or in charge of something.

Today we have a listener question about this word.

In today’s episode you’ll find out what this word means and when you can use it natural English conversations.

Hi Girls

My question has to do with a word that doesn’t have an equivalent meaning in Portuguese, except when it comes to ocupation or profession: accountability.

Does it mean responsability, commitment or express our willingness to relate our progress in something to someone else? Thanks a lot for your attention


What does it mean?

Dictionary definition: “The obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. It also includes the responsibility for money or other entrusted property.”

The word “accountability” has a core meaning then the word can be applied to many different areas of life like the law, your career, and your personal life.


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 Different uses of “accountable”

  • An accountant is someone who does your taxes
  • To hold someone accountable for their actions: This means that you hold someone responsible for what they have done. We see this in the courtroom, in the justice system, or with a mother disciplining her child.
  • When you do what you say you will do: If you are training for a half marathon or cleaning the house you should put your cleaning or running schedule on the fridge so that you will be accountable.
  • Online marketplaces: For airbnb users, guests are held accountable for how well they took care of the place where they stayed. The host reviews you so if you trash the place you get a lower review and it’s harder to use again. The same is true with other new companies like Uber or Lyft.

Quote about accountability:  At the end of the day we are accountable to ourselves – our success is a result of what we do.”- catherine Pulsifier


Debate about accountability:

Do you think that we’re more or less likely to complete our goals when we share them before we achieve them?

Derek Sivers did a good TED talk on this topic.

He said that if you come up with a goal or idea and you share it you’ll be less likely to accomplish your goal because you get a positive feeling by just speaking about it and having someone else acknowledge it.

Your mind is tricked into feeling you have already accomplished the goal.

Do you agree with this?

Has this happened to you in the past?

What do you think? Who is your accountabilty partner? Do you think that if you share your goal you will be less likely to do the work?


What questions do you have from today?

Let us know in the comments below.

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