Forgo vs. Forego

Forgo vs. Forego

As language changes over time, words that originally meant different things converge and their meanings in usage are more similar. Forgo and forego are two such words. While originally they were used very differently, they are now used almost interchangeably.

Forgo is a verb meaning to go without or to refrain from.

1. If I am going to fit into my wedding dress, I need to forgo dessert.

2. We will forgo the small talk and get right down to business.

3. Let's forgo lunch today and just have a big breakfast.

Forego is a verb that originally meant to go before or to precede in time. This is an archaic meaning and we do not hear this word used in this manner very often today.

1. The army will forego the king by a day to make sure the road is safe for his travel.

Today, we use forego in the same way as forgo-meaning to go without or refrain from.

1. Let's forego the meeting and go swimming instead.

2. I would like to forego the apology and just take my punishment.

One way that the original meaning of forego is preserved is in the phrase "foregone conclusion." If something is a foregone conclusion, it means that the outcome has already been decided in advance.

1. It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

I hope that this explanation of forgo and forego will help you to forgo any confusion when you have the opportunity to use these words again!

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