From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishpromiseprom‧ise1 /ˈprɒmɪs $ ˈprɑː-/ ●●● S2 W2 verb 1 [intransitive, transitive]PROMISE to tell someone that you will definitely do or provide something or that something will happen Last night the headmaster promised a full investigation.promise to do something She’s promised to do all she can to help.promise (that) Hurry up – we promised we wouldn’t be late.promise somebody (that) You promised me the car would be ready on Monday. ‘Promise me you won’t do anything stupid.’ ‘I promise.’promise something to somebody I’ve promised that book to Ian, I’m afraid.promise somebody something The company promised us a bonus this year. ‘I’ll be back by 1.00.’ ‘Promise?’ ‘Yes! Don’t worry.’ He reappeared two hours later, as promised.2 [transitive]EXPECT to show signs of somethingpromise to be something Tonight’s meeting promises to be a difficult one. dark clouds promising showers later3 → promise somebody the moon/the earth4 → I can’t promise (anything)5 → I promise youGRAMMAR: Patterns with promise• You promise to do something: He promised to help.• You promise that you will do something: I promise that I will come to your party.• You promise someone that you will do something: I promise you that I will come.• You promised that you would do something: She promised that she would come. • You promised someone that you would do something: My parents promised me that they would buy me a new car. ✗Don’t say: My parents promised me to buy a new car.• You can also promise someone something: My parents promised me a new car. THESAURUSpromise to tell someone that you will definitely do something, or that something will happenHe promised to give the book back.The organisers have promised that this year’s event will take place.swear to make a very serious and sincere promise, for example in a law courtHe had sworn to tell the truth.I would never do that, I swear.give somebody your word especially spoken to promise sincerely that you will do something or that something is true – often used when you are trying to persuade someone that they can trust youI give you my word that your money is safe with me.I’ll let you go out tonight if you give me your word that you’ll be home by 11.vow to make a very serious promise, often to yourselfShe vowed that she would never drink alcohol again.They vowed to carry on their campaign for justice.assure to promise someone that something will happen or that something is true, in order to try to make them feel less worriedPolice have assured the public that they are doing everything they can to find the killer.guarantee to promise that you will make sure that something will definitely happen, so that there is no question of it not happeningI guarantee that you will have the documents by tomorrow.How can you guarantee that this won’t happen again?pledge to promise publicly or officially that you will do something, for example to give help or moneyThe government has pledged to increase overseas aid to $4 billion over the next five years.undertake formal to make an official or legal promise to do somethingThe government undertook to keep price increases to a minimum.The two sides undertook to respect each other’s territory.commit to something formal to make a firm and definite promise to do something important, which will affect you for a long time and which could result in serious effects if you failBobby felt unready to commit to a romantic relationship.A group of 11 companies has committed to developing a new passenger plane. → See Verb table
Examples from the Corpuspromise• "I can't take you to the beach today, after all.'' "But you promised!''• Money promised for language classes and business start-ups did not arrive.• Tanui promised he would be looking out for news about me during the week.• He promises himself an easier workout tomorrow.• Have you assured yourself that you can deliver whatever value is promised in your set of products and services?• Since the Tory election win in April, Mr Major promised interest rates would come down.• I promised Jamie a ride to school this morning.• Richardson apologized and promised that appropriate action would be taken to fix the problem.• I promised the kids I'd take them to a movie.• Anything about the bond market promises to be long and dull.• The government had promised to investigate the cause of the accident.• Dole repeatedly promises veterans that he would not touch their benefits.as promised• On Monday, the hostages were released as promised.• Inevitably, therefore, the government fails to deliver the goods as demanded, as expected, and sometimes even as promised.• Jarrett Keach reappeared two hours later, as promised.• Only make sure they pay you as promised.• The women spun the flax and were invited to the wedding as promised.• In Part Three of the present book, as promised, I shall celebrate the sacred power of Imagination.• I had been training throughout the winter and Andy, as promised, sneaked me some races in the summer.• On the inside, as promised, was a label, printed black on gold, scratched and ink-stained but clearly legible.promise to be something• And what a morning it promises to be!• Educational standards promise to be a flash point in the presidential campaign this year.• All in all, it promises to be a huge weekend with a happy hour and disco etal.• Next year promises to be even better.• The circle seems unbroken, and now, in this new millennium, Showcase promises to be even more successful.• These promise to be of such importance that I shall briefly relate them here, before journeying north.• Their fleets soon arrived at Constantinople and the war promised to be the most wide-ranging since the fall of the first Napoleon.promisepromise2 ●●● S3 W2 noun 1 [countable]PROMISE a statement that you will definitely do or provide something or that something will definitely happenpromise of We received promises of support from several MPs.promise to He would never break his promise to his father.promise to do something She made a promise to visit them once a month.promise that I received a promise that this would not happen again.2 [uncountable]SIGN/INDICATION signs that something or someone will be good or successful a young man full of promise Bill shows great promise as a goalkeeper. She didn’t fulfil her early promise.3 [singular, uncountable] a sign that something, usually something good, may happenpromise of the promise of spring The letter gave a promise of greater happiness.COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 1: a statement that you will definitely do or provide something or that something will definitely happenverbsmake a promiseI made a promise to my mother that I’d look after Dad.keep a promise (also fulfil a promise British English, fulfill a promise American English formal) (=do what you promised to do)She said she would come back, and she kept her promise.The mayor has fulfilled his promise to get tough on corruption.break a promise (=not do what you promised to do)Once again, the government has broken its promises.go back on your promise (=break it)They were angry that the company had gone back on its promise.renege on a promise formal (=break it)It is tempting for the government to renege on its promise.have somebody’s promise (=they have promised you something)‘It’ll remain a secret?’ ‘Yes, you have my promise.’hold somebody to their promise (=make them keep it)The next day, Gareth held me to my promise to take him fishing.ADJECTIVES/NOUN + promisea solemn promiseAs governor, I made a solemn promise to defend the laws of the Republic.a firm promise (=definite)What had happened to all those firm promises of help?a vague promise (=not definite)Larry made some vague promises to leave his wife.a false/empty/hollow promise (=one that will not be kept)I didn’t make any false promises.a broken promise (=one that has not been kept)There have been too many broken promises.a campaign/election promiseHe was accused of breaking a campaign promise not to raise taxes. THESAURUSpromise a statement that you will definitely do or provide something, which may not be reliable‘I’ll call you tomorrow.’ ‘Is that a promise?’Politicians are always making promises.pledge a public or official promise to do a particular thing in the futureThe Government has fulfilled at least 50% of its election pledges.We have received pledges of help from various organizations.vow a very serious promise to do something or not to do something that you choose to makeHe made a vow never to drink alcohol again.your marriage vowsoath a formal promise, especially one that someone makes in a court of lawWitnesses swear a solemn oath to tell the truth.Public officials must take an oath to support the US Constitution.undertaking a serious or public promise to do something, especially something difficult which needs a lot of effort or moneyThe police have given an undertaking to reduce street crime in the city centre.He was made to sign a written undertaking that he would not go within a mile of her house.assurance a promise that something will happen or is true, made so that someone is less worried or more confidentYou have my assurance that it won’t happen again.The manager gave me his personal assurance that the goods would be delivered today.guarantee a very definite promise that something will happen. A guarantee is also a formal written promise by a company to repair or replace a product free if it has a fault within a fixed period of time.With any diet, there’s no guarantee of success.I’m afraid I can’t give you a 100% guarantee.Is the camera still under guarantee (=within the period during which it can be repaired or replaced free)? COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 2: signs that something or someone will be good or successfulverbsshow promise (=seem likely to be good or successful)She showed promise as a singer at an early age.hold promise (=seem likely to be good or successful – used of things)The Internet clearly held great promise as an educational tool.fulfil your/its promise (also live up to your/its promise) (=be as good as expected)This young player has begun to fulfil his promise.The rest of this movie never quite lives up to the promise of that opening moment.adjectivesgreat promiseHe’d initially shown great promise as a goalkeeper.early promiseTracey showed early promise in mathematics.
Examples from the Corpuspromise• "I'll call you tomorrow." "Is that a promise?"• He left with a promise that he would be back before six.• Usually the sins confessed were minor in nature: a broken promise, a plagiarized term paper.• Scott made a campaign promise not to raise taxes.• Mannheim's relationism seemed to his detractors like a hollow promise, an attempt to have it both ways.• But Comcast has made the investment and delivered on its promise.• Even worse, it turned out that being able to offer drinks was not a key promise for his customers.• Making promises is risky for a company, but it usually does result in improved customer relations.• The refugees are relying on promises of food and aid from the West.• The security of both was the promise of a large proportion of the land after the drainage operation had been successfully completed.• These promise to be of such importance that I shall briefly relate them here, before journeying north.• Inherent in this promise is a kind of security blanket; the union chief is replaced with a mutual fund manager.• Not withstanding this promise, the use of road pricing to change travel habits still seems some way off.promise that• There has been a promise that prosperity will be permanent.• Food Reform promised an end to sickness if certain procedures were followed, a promise that was not, of course, fulfilled.• Feminism once held out a promise that there would be some precincts of womanly life that were not all about men.• Benn promised that the first thing he would do when returning home would be to go straight to see Michael Watson.• The commission promises that its proposals under the social chapter will be squeaky-clean in their impact on jobs.• The thrifts, many of which were forced into insolvency, say the change violated contractual promises that federal thrift regulators.• City Hall had promised that urban renewal would be used to help restore and stabilize the community.• Smith lamely promised that help would be given to any women wanting to lead a decent life.fulfil ... early promise• In September 1976 he joined Spurs for £200,000, but his career there never fully fulfilled its earlier promise.• As I entered my fourth lustre, it became evident that I was not going to fulfil my early promise.Origin promise2 (1300-1400) Latin promissum, from the past participle of promittere “to send out, promise”