Please explain where this phrase comes from. What is the preposition "along" for?

along for the ride:

Participating but not actively, as in Don't ask me how long this job will take; I'm just along for the ride. This metaphoric term often is preceded by just to emphasize the passive role of the "passenger." [Mid-1900s]


  • 'Along' can have the sense of 'accompanying others', as in 'Come along' = come with me/us. Sep 19, 2018 at 8:15
  • I came to this site to ask about the idiom used in the second verse of "Toss a Coin to Your Witcher" but I'm going with this one. +1 Feb 18, 2020 at 17:19

3 Answers 3


Apparently "along" was only added to the expression later. The Oxford English Dictionary lists the following quotes without along:

Lily would like to go to the court-house this forenoon, just for the ride, you know, and I think the air and exercise will do her good.
Husks, 1863

Large open sleighs drawn by four and sometimes six horses were resorted to, and many individuals and parties enjoyed these for the ride alone.
Reminiscences of an Octogenarian of the City of New York, 1896

The earliest quote they have for along for the ride is 1951:

I only went along for the ride, and to see what else Neal was going to do.
On the road

However, searching Google Books brings earlier quotes such as the following quote from 1933:

Who? Me, doc? You can't kill me. Anyway, I just went along for the ride.
Boys' Life


Phrase go along for the ride in the figurative sense "join in passively" is from 1956. etymonline

along TFD

  1. As company: Bring your friend along.

As in:

I'm just along for the ride = I am joining the company for the ride/adventure.


Boys' Life 1933:

The last coherent thing that Danny heard after that was Drubb, chuckling, actually chuckling, and saying: "Who? Me, doc? You can't kill me. Anyway, I just went along for the ride."

"Along for the ride" is a fairly literal expression, and likely has existed for hundreds of years. It no doubt became more popular with the automobile (as Ngram suggests).

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