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Good evening everybody,

Can I use "go for it" as a way to express choosing something in a formal essay, a report to be more precise.

Further education took the lead in the number of students choosing it to pursue after college with 29,665 students. The second position belonged to part-time work, with 17,735 students went for it.

Thank you in advance.

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  • Try looking it up in a dictionary: dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/go-for-it Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 15:52
  • @michael.hor257k I have already done that, but I also found this: dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/go-for-sth
    – Tinh Le
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 15:59
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    The appropriate grammatical usage of the phrase does not apply to that sentence. It should read "The second position belonged to part-time work, with 17,735 students going for it." Regardless, I have never heard that expression used in a formal setting.
    – Remi
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 16:09
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    What @Avrumi said. It would have to be which 17,735 students went for. Or more appropriately, given it's a "formal" context, which 17,735 students opted for (more naturally, simply chose [to do]). Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 17:39
  • thanks @Avrumi and FumbleFingers for your help. I think I will "opt for" FumberFingers' suggestion for the sake of it.
    – Tinh Le
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 2:26

1 Answer 1

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The OED defines it as:

c. colloq. (orig. U.S.). to go for it: to put all one's efforts into achieving a specified end; to try one's hardest, to do one's utmost; to make an attempt. Frequently imperative in go for it!, used as an exhortation or to express encouragement or support.

It is defined as a colloquial phrase, but depending on your voice in your essay, I could see it working. That being said, if you tend to have a very formal voice in whatever piece you're writing, I'd suggest against "go for it."


However, I'm not sure if your usage is correct.

with 17,735 students went for it.

This doesn't really make sense. In fact, I'm not sure what "went for it" is doing in this sentence at all, as things look and feel just fine without it:

The second position belonged to part-time work, with 17,735 students.

As such, I'd play it safe and leave "went for it" off entirely.

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  • This is correct. Using the phrase is suspect. Using a modified version of it, while grammatically correct, is verbotten
    – Carly
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 19:00
  • I put "went for it" to mean that 17,735 students chose it, but as you said, the sentence looks just fine without it. I think I will follow your suggestion or use "opted for" instead of "went for it" as some people above ask me. Thanks so much for your help @scohe001!
    – Tinh Le
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 2:33
  • @TinhLe It's not grammatical to say with 17,735 students went for it. It needs to be with 17,735 students going for it. A different construction would change that: With it having a higher salary, 17,735 students went for it. Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 4:55

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