Writing for Business

May 30 2012   5:17PM GMT

Forego or forgo?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?

“We don’t know whether platform or service is the direction enterprises are going to go — whether enterprises are willing to ______ a client/server environment.”

a. forego

b. forgo

Answer: b.


Forgo is the word you want here. It means, essentially, to give up or to go without willingly. A lot of people don’t understand that these are two different words, but they are. Forego means to go before, as in “Choose the right word to fill in the blank in the foregoing sentence.”

In a post on forego vs. forgo, Grammarist provides these examples of incorrect choices in the mainstream media:

The Democratic-controlled U.S. Congress could forego trying to approve a budget blueprint this year … [Reuters]

Unions representing the county’s 8,000 workers agreed to forego cost-of-living raises for the next two years … [Baltimore Sun]

Hobson announced he will forego his senior season in pursuit of his NBA dreams. [Daily Lobo]


No wonder so many of us get it wrong. But just because all the big kids do it doesn’t mean you should too. Set yourself apart by forgoing blindly following the leaders — especially if they’re heading over a cliff.

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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