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  1. #1
    optimistic pessimist is offline Member
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    Default the use of "go off"

    Dear all,

    I understand it's okay to use "to go off" this way.

    "When I was wathing TV last night, the image suddenly went off."

    But I'm not sure if it's okay using that way.

    "The actor had the image of a family man. But it went off when we learned he had been two-timing with a young acress."

    If it's wrong, how do you say it correctly?

    Thank you!

    OP

  2. #2
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: the use of "go off"

    No, not "went off" in this context. You could say that the image was shattered.

  3. #3
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    Tullia is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: the use of "go off"

    You're using two different meanings of the phrase.

    In the first instance, you're using it to mean "turned itself off" or "switched off without a visible reason" - the implication of the phrase is that you do not know why the image vanished, and you did not cause it to vanish.

    In the second example, the phrase means "went rotten" or "decayed" - his reputation metaphorically died and started to smell, because you found out it was not based on the truth.

    I would disagree with Dave and say that both are valid and reasonably idiomatic uses of the phrase. I do like his alternative of the image being shattered, though.




    (Note that "two-timing" as a verb probably requires a direct object (his wife?). You also misspelt "watching" but I assume that was a typo not a genuine error.)

  4. #4
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: the use of "go off"

    Americans don't generally use "went off" to describe rotting/expired food. So that didn't even occur to me.

    (I also think that "two-timing" is self-explanatory without requiring a direct object.)

  5. #5
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    Tullia is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: the use of "go off"

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    Americans don't generally use "went off" to describe rotting/expired food. So that didn't even occur to me.

    (I also think that "two-timing" is self-explanatory without requiring a direct object.)
    Oooh really? What idiomatic phrase would you use for that instead then? In BrE it's quite common to say things like "The milk's gone a bit off.", for example.

    I agree that two-timing without a d.o. is understandable, I just don't think it sounds right in BrE, especially not when there's an indirect object there.

  6. #6
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: the use of "go off"

    I would typically say that something has gone bad or expired. Milk might be said to turn or go sour.

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