Yes! Welcome back to another of our great deliveries on (drumroll, trumpets, and a spotlight moving towards our main attraction) phrasal verbs! This time, we bring you a new phrasal verb that can adjust to many different situations. Thus, it has several meanings that have nothing to do with each other. Why? Just because English is as beautiful as that! This time we will deal with “To go off”.
The phrasal verb “to go off” applies to many situations that we live in our everyday lives. However, you may have never heard of it because its synonyms are very common. Knowing the different uses and meanings of phrasal verbs can help us express using an extensive vocabulary. As a plus, they can also help us understand other people or texts without the need to ask what they are saying. So, let’s jump to the different uses of this phrasal verb!
In this section, we will try to give you not only the different meanings of the phrasal verb “to go off”, but also some examples to make them clear enough. As you read them, try to apply them to other situations, or think of other examples. Remember the best way to improve your vocabulary is to put it into practice. This way, it becomes more difficult to forget and next time you need it, it will come up very quickly.
Our first meaning of the phrasal verb “to go off” is to explode, just as bombs do. Funny thing, if you come to think about it. If we take electronic devices as a reference, “off” wouldn’t be the first preposition we would use to say something exploded, right? Well, remember two things: first of all, electronic devices were invented a long time after this phrasal verb started to exist. Secondly, and most importantly, this is English, and many things do not follow logic!
So, next time you are watching a film and you see people running away from a place because a villain has put a bomb in there. You can say “Oh, I hope MacGyver (you don’t know him? Really? He’s so cool right now) can defuse that bomb before it goes off!”.
Well, maybe the heading is not that clear. “To go off” can also be used when an alarm starts beeping. Yes, I know, once again we’re using “off” for something that’s not actually turning off. Still, alarms go off when they start making that irritable and annoying noise that makes us get out of bed in the morning. However, any kind of alarm can go off. Fire alarms, security alarms, you name it!
This is a great way of dodging a bullet when you arrive late at your English class (you’re welcome for it, just thank me by using it whenever this happens). Just look down showing regret and tell your teacher “I’m very sorry I’m late, something must be wrong with my cellphone because the alarm never went off”.
Our third meaning of the phrasal verb “to go off” refers to food. You know you can’t leave food uneaten for a long time. There is a process that involves microbial, physical, and chemical reactions that… oh, sorry, wrong class. Whatever the process, if you leave food uneaten for a long time, it spoils. This means that it stops tasting the same, and it may even be bad for your health if you eat it, too!
Now, this example will be of great use. Imagine you go to a birthday party. Before leaving, you notice that there’s some cake left, and you know you enjoyed that microscopical piece they gave you after the “happy birthday” song ritual. Approach the birthday person. Now, with your best “I’m trying to help you” face, say: “why don’t you give me some of that cake and I’ll take it home. It would be such a pity if it went off”. Boom. Easy win.
So, these are three different meanings that the phrasal verb “to go off” can have. Have you ever heard or used any of them? Try to put them into practice the next time you need to use any of its synonyms, and get a step closer to mastering the English language! Remember to subscribe to our newsletter to receive news, tips, and updates on the English language. Thanks for reading, see you next time!