#174: 7 Different Ways to Use ‘Go Out’ [English Phrasal Verbs]

Apr 15, 2020 | Advanced Vocabulary

This lesson was originally posted in December 2015. It was updated with new content and a video lesson in April 2020.

Advance your English vocabulary with phrasal verbs and have fun doing it! I know. That seems crazy, right? But it’s possible.

Maybe you think English phrasal verbs are difficult to learn because:

  1. There are so many of them.
  2. The meaning is often idiomatic.
  3. Some phrasal verbs have more than one meaning.
For example, did you know the phrasal verb ‘go out’ has 7 different meanings?
Look at these examples:
  • They’ve been going out for 3 years.
  • I love going out to my favorite Italian restaurant on Friday nights.
  • You’ll need to go out the back door. The front door is broken.
  • Yesterday the kids went out for the day.
Can you tell the difference in meaning?
In this Confident English lesson, you’ll learn, understand, and know exactly how to use the English phrasal verb ‘go out’ easily.
Plus, at the end, I have 3 fun idioms for you as well.

The Meaning of Go Out in English – 7 Different Uses

1 – To be social, to do social activities, to go outside the home for enjoyment or to go to a restaurant

In this short conversation, a couple is discussing going out to dinner (or going to a restaurant):

A: Let’s go out tonight. I’m so tired and I don’t have time to go to the grocery store.

B: Sure. Where do you want to go?

A: It doesn’t matter – just somewhere quick and easy. You decide.

Other common examples to express being social, doing social activities or going to a restaurant include:

  • I love going out on the weekends but I usually stay home during the week.
  • Sarah is such a social butterfly – she is always going out with friends.
  • Let’s go out dancing!
  • Last night we went out for Italian food. We went to a new restaurant that opened around the corner and it was fantastic!

2 – To go on a date; to be dating (romantic)

These questions can be used to ask for a first date:

  • Would you go out with me?
  • Would you go out to dinner with me?
  • Do you want to go out this weekend?

When used in the progressive (or present continuous) tense, we use “going out” to talk about how long a couple has been dating:

  • Dave and I have been going out for almost 2 years now.

3 – To leave or exit a room or building

  • You’ll have to go out the back door because the front door is broken.

In this sentence, two or more children may exit a house to go outside and play a game:

  • Let’s go out and play!

4 – To stop, to cease or to fail in function

Here we can imagine a group of friends sitting around a fire in the winter, talking until the fire goes out:

  • We stayed up chatting and drinking hot chocolate until the fire went out.

This could be a common statement when the power goes out or the electricity stops suddenly and unexpectedly:

  • Oh no! The electricity went out! What happened?

5 – To no longer be in style, to no longer be fashionable or popular

  • Acid-washed jeans went out after just a few years.
  • I think skinny jeans will go out of style this year and, instead, baggy* clothing will become fashionable again.

*baggy = very loose, not tight

6 – The movement of water (in the sea or ocean) away from the land

We use “go out” to talk about the water slowly moving away from the land during the different tides. When the water goes out, we refer to it as low tide. The opposite – high tide – is when the water “comes in.”

  • The tide is going out – we will only have another 20 minutes for surfing.
  • The tide goes out really quickly here near Mont Saint-Michel so you have to be careful near the water.

7 – To express that one’s thoughts or sympathy are with someone else as a result of the person’s suffering or unfortunate circumstances

This is a common expression when showing sympathy or grief for someone who is suffering from a death of a friend or family member.

  • My heart really goes out to her right now – losing a loved one is never easy. Her father was such a kind man. We always enjoyed the opportunity to talk with him.

Bonus! Common Idioms with Go Out

to go out of one’s mind = to be (or feel) crazy or irrational
  • I’m going out of my mind! I have too much to do today and not enough time!
  • Have you gone out of your mind? You have to accept the offer – you won’t get a better one!
to go out on a limb for someone = to do something risky or dangerous, to be in a vulnerable or difficult situation, to be without a lot of support
  • I’m going out on a limb here, but I am willing to bet my entire paycheck that he will win.
  • Don’t go out on a limb for him! He won’t be there to support you if something goes wrong.
to go out like a light = to go to sleep very quickly
  • He must have been so tired! He went out like a light!

Now let’s try using some examples from your real, everyday life!

  1. Share 2 – 3 example sentences with the phrasal verb ‘go out.’ Try to use a different meaning in each sentence.
  2. Choose your favorite idiom from today’s Confident English lesson and use it in a setence.

As always, you can share your examples with me and the Confident English Community in the comments section at the end of the lesson.Thanks so much for joining me this week!

Have a great day!

~ Annemarie

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