Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022

Why do we say "Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right"?

Well-Known Expressions

Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right


It is not acceptable to do a bad thing just because someone else has done it.


The expression has a great many uses as it can be used in the context of it not being okay to do wrong to someone else because they have wronged you, such as it is not right to vandalize a person's property because they have vandalized yours. It can also be used in the context of it not being acceptable to justify something because one sees others do it - for example a politician justifying his untruths because others also lie.

It could be argued that this seemingly simple expression is at the heart of civilization as a whole. For example, a society that believes in the law of retaliation ("an eye for an eye") holds, at a legal level, that two wrongs do make a right. While the society that believes that, as Martin Luther King, Jr once put it, "the old law of an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind," is built on an entirely different ethical norm.

The first known citation in the USA is in a 1783 letter by Benjamin Rush: Two wrongs don't make one right: Two wrongs won't right a wrong.

Alphabetical list of expressions

Challenge yourself with BookBrowse Wordplays

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    by Richard Powers
    In 2019, Richard Powers won the Pulitzer Prize for The Overstory, a sprawling novel whose characters...
  • Book Jacket: I'm the Girl
    I'm the Girl
    by Courtney Summers
    YA author Courtney Summers doesn't believe in shielding her teenage readers from the world's darkest...
  • Book Jacket: They're Going to Love You
    They're Going to Love You
    by Meg Howrey
    Teenage Carlisle lives with her mother in Ohio, but their relationship has never felt particularly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
    by Isaac Blum
    That irreplaceable feeling of everyone knowing your name. The yearning to be anonymous. Parents ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    by Lydia Millet

    "Tender but never sentimental, wearing its intelligence in a low-slung style, Dinosaurs is a garden of earthly delights."—Vogue


Solve this clue:

W N, W Not

and be entered to win..

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
by Thrity Umrigar
Set in India, a tender and evocative novel about love across a cultural divide, familial devotion and betrayal.
Who Said...

Never read a book through merely because you have begun it

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.