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Phrasal verbs with 'go'

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Phrasal verbs, or multi-word verbs, are verbs that are combined with one or two particles (a preposition or adverb), for example, 'up' or 'down', to make verbs with new meanings.

These new meanings are usually non-literal. For example, to pick means to select or choose (she picked him for her team), but to pick on someone means to criticize someone repeatedly and unfairly (Tim always picks on Jack because he thinks Jack is lazy).

Phrasal verbs often have more than one meaning. Also, many verbs combine with several different prepositions. Here are some phrasal verbs that use the verb 'go', with some of their different meanings:

go along:

a. to proceed or continue to happen
The party was going along fine until the police arrived. Then we had to turn off the music.

b. go along with someone: to agree with someone or something

I go along with what you say. Let's see what the others think about your idea.

go by:

a. for time to pass
Last month went by so quickly. I can't believe it is nearly your birthday!

b. to base a decision on something
Going by last year's sales figures, we'll need extra staff over summer.
You should always go by the facts, not others opinions.

c. to use a different name for yourself
When I first met her she went by the name of Sarah, but now she calls herself Zara.

go out:

a. to leave your house to go somewhere, usually for fun
I went out last night and had a great time at the nightclub.
Alice went out with the other nurses on New Year's Eve.

b. to have a romantic relationship with someone
Bob and Sally have been going out for ages. When do you think they'll get engaged?
Have you heard? Tony is going out with Sarah!

go down:

a. to sink below a surface, usually water
The Titanic went down incredibly quickly after it hit the iceberg.
The sun goes down at 5.50 p.m. today.

b. to become less or decrease
House prices will continue to go down next year.

c. to be received or accepted in some way
The decision to cancel the Christmas holiday went down really badly. The staff are threatening to go on strike.
The fireworks went down really well with everyone. It was a great display.

d. to go down with something: to become ill
Helen went down with 'flu at Christmas.

go off:

a. to stop working, (especially of electrical things)
The lights went off suddenly. Fortunately, we had some candles in the kitchen.

b. to stop liking someone or something
I went off the idea of buying a motorbike when I found out how dangerous they are.
Helen went off her food when she was ill; she didn't want to eat anything.

c. for food to lose its freshness and become rotten
This milk has gone off. Have you got any more in the fridge?
You can tell when meat has gone off by smelling it.

go over:

a. to check something carefully for mistakes
Before you hand in your essay, go over it and try to spot any spelling mistakes.

b. to repeat something a lot in order to learn it
As an actor, he spends a lot of time going over his lines so that he's word perfect.

c. to repeatedly think about something, that is perhaps confusing or emotionally stressful
I keep going over the meeting in my head. I wish I had said something about their plan to sack so many people. Perhaps I could have changed their minds.


to go down with 'flu
to become ill with influenza (a very heavy cold)

to go off your food
to not want to eat anything, to lose your appetite


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