What Is “Forgo”?

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You’d be surprised how many things you can do without. You can do without fancy coffee beverages. You can do without social media. You can do without reading the news. You might also do without knowing what the word forgo means, but if you got to this point in the article, you already know it—to forgo something means to do without it.

How to Use Forgo

Forgo is a verb that means:
To give up on something; to do or go without something:
“Most people’s lives are virtual monuments to cowardly indecision. Ah, that we lack the courage of our romantic convictions; and thereby miss the wine of life, forgoing the very thing that makes living worthwhile.”
—Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway
“The city of Mitchell’s mayor wants more buffer strips along a creek in order to help Lake Mitchell, but some farmers are reluctant to forgo land.”
The Washington Times
“In the early days, the miscreant employees chose to forgo tea in favor of vodka or beer.”
Vanity Fair

What About Forego?

The relationship between forego and forgo is where things get tricky. If you were to look up the word forgo in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, you would see that the word forego is listed as a variant of it. However, if you were to look up forego in the same dictionary, you would notice that it has another meaning—to go before or precede. But then, if you were to look for real usage examples of forego, you’ll find that it’s used almost exclusively as an alternative spelling for forgo:
“So maybe we should forego the fun and focus on upping her grit game.”
The Wall Street Journal
“He could not immediately forego his wild heritage and his memories of the Wild.”
—Jack London, White Fang
As you can see, many writers use forego to mean forgo. However, some style books, including the AP Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style, advise against doing that. You might want to take into account the advice they give.

How to Use “Foregone Conclusion” and “the Foregoing”

There are two phrases in which forego has retained its distinct meaning. One of them is “foregone conclusion.” When we say that something is a “foregone conclusion”, we mean:
Something that is certain to happen (as if the conclusion came before the event):
“But French squads do have a tendency to self-destruct if things aren’t going well, so their triumph is not a foregone conclusion.”
Times of Malta
“It was practically a foregone conclusion to his teachers that he would go into his high school’s rigorous International Baccalaureate track.”
—The Washington Post
The other phrase where forego has retained the meaning of “going before” is the phrase “the foregoing.” It’s a phrase used in formal writing, and it means:
Something that has already been mentioned:
“‘The foregoing goals shall be used by the board to measure the performance and effectiveness of the superintendent,’ the contract states.”
—Chicago Tribune
“What about all the enlightening (not to say emotionally moving) prose which came before He closed the door firmly? Shouldn’t this tell us how he closed the door? And if the foregoing prose does tell us, isn’t firmly an extra word? Isn’t it redundant?”
—Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

The post What Is “Forgo”? appeared first on Grammarly Blog.

from Grammarly Blog https://www.grammarly.com/blog/forego-forgo/

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