Good evening, fellas! Today I want to talk about a phrasal verb that often confuses me. It’s “go off”. If you want to know what a phrasal verb is, you can click here to read more about it. “Go off” confuses me a lot because it has a lot of meanings that are very different depending on its context in a sentence. Let’s walk through the meanings of “go off” one by one.
- If you say someone goes off, that means he/she leaves a place and go somewhere else. Example: After finishing her writing goal today, she went off to her favorite cafe to have a nice drink as a form of small celebration.
- If you say how an event went off, you explain how it happened in a specific way. Example: The seminar went off really well and we learn a lot from the brilliant speakers.
- If a machine or light goes off, that means it stops working or dies. Example: The printer went off right before it started printing the last page.
- If a warning device such as an alarm or a siren goes off, that means it starts making a sound/noise. Example: My phone suddenly went off with my embarrassing ringtone during class because I forgot to turn on the silent mode. See, fellas? I always thought that a cellphone going off means it turns off. We tend to think “off” indicates that something stops working. Turns out, our phone “going off” means it is making a noise (alarm or ringtone) instead of shutting down.
- If an explosive thing or a gun goes off, that means it explodes or it fires. Example: It was pretty fun for me to just sit on the rooftop in New Year’s Eve and watch the fireworks go off from every direction.
- (British English) If you go off something, that means you stop liking it. Example: I start going off fantasy novels. I’m into sci-fi now.
- (British English) If food or beverages go off, that means it’s not fresh and starts going bad. Example: This milk tastes funny. I think it goes off.
So, now you see how the meaning of “go off” varies. If you read something that you think doesn’t make sense, it could be that one of the words have another meaning that you don’t know. You can always check the dictionary to be sure that you really know what a word or phrase means in a particular sentence.