Archive for August 13, 2010

inseparable phrasal verb: go by


The phrasal verb for this week is “go by”. It is inseparable which means that the object (either a noun or a pronoun) will come after the word “by”.  It has three meanings in English.

1. to use as a name (usually a shorter form of someone’s real name). For example:

My name is Michael, but usually I just go by Mike.

My friend Takahiro goes by the name Taka with his foreign friends.

2. for someone to believe something that someone else tells them (often used in the negative). For example:

I never go by what a salesperson in a store tells me. They’ll say anything to make a sale.

If I were you, I wouldn’t go by anything Ian tells you. He tells a lot of lies.

3. to let a chance pass. For example:

My father let his chance for success go by, and now he’s very unhappy.

I have a great opportunity to make some money, and I can’t let it go by.

In the case of the last definition, “go by” is intransitive which means that there is no object in the sentence.

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