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Don’t forego forgo Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day

Here’s something I didn’t know until I read today’s installment of Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day:

forego; forgo.

Although a few apologists argue that these words are interchangeable, they have separate histories. And their meanings are so different that it’s worth preserving the distinction. “Forego,” as suggested by the prefix, means “to go before.” “Forgo” means “to do without; waive; renounce.”

“Forego” displacing “forgo” is a persistent problem — e.g.: “That realization not only helped Lavelle's brother but convinced her to forego [read ‘forgo’] a career as a social worker or psychologist and instead become a teacher.” “Challenged Students Get Special Help,” L.A. Times, 11 Apr. 1997, at B2.

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