Если бы она могла нас увидеть, она бы нам не спустила.

I assume this is an equivalent of "let someone get away with it", but considering that "спустить" is a transitive verb, some element seems to be missing here. Is the following the full version of this expression?

Если бы она могла нас увидеть, она бы нам не спустила это с рук.

Incidentally, is the function of the dative "нам" related to "спустить это с (наших) рук"?

2 Answers 2


Yes, you could say it like the full version „она бы нам не спустила это с рук“. So, the first quote is just a contraction.

Seems like in modern Russian people use the shorthand form „не спустить кому-либо“ very rarely (and say „не спустить кому-либо (это) с рук“ more often), but it remains in literature and poetry.

People often omit even the pronouns (нам, им, мне, тебе) in this phrase:

Если бы она их увидела, она бы (им) не спустила это с рук.


I wouldn't say it could be used as "Она бы не спустила это с рук". If you drop the pronoun, then drop "с рук" as well. But using "спустить это кому-то" is also ok and well-understood. Besides, there is the proverb.

Еду-еду, не свищу, а наеду - не спущу.

It denotes "take care if I suddenly find out you've done something wrong". More than that, there is a connected expression without denoting a person who will punish somebody.

Им (мне, тебе, вам, ему, etc.) это с рук не сойдет! (They are sure to be punished)

Ему (вам, им, ей, etc.) это сошло с рук. (They have escaped the punishment)

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