One meaning of English phrasal verb 'to go ahead' is 'to travel in front of other people in your group and arrive before them'. Starting from that meaning, it can potentially also be used in a figurative sense, such as in 'Go ahead, I'm much slower than you, I'll meet you at the answer.'.

Can 'to go ahead', with the meaning explained above (literal of figurative), ever imply 'to pave the way' for a party other than the subject of 'to go ahead' itself?

For example, 'A went ahead of B to inform C.', can this sentence imply that A, while going ahead to inform C, 'paved the way' for B to reach C at all? If yes, how common is it to apply the verb 'to go ahead' with such an implication? And do people really expect such implications when coming across that verb?

  • 5
    I'd say not. Dictionaries (eg Longman) don't include a 'facilitate' denotation, and I don't believe there's a connotation either. You need say 'I go ahead to prepare a place before/for you.' //// But 'go ahead of [another party]' isn't a classical phrasal verb; it's the opposite of 'go behind [some party]'. The MWV ('he went ahead with the plan') is a different matter. Commented May 10 at 15:58
  • 3
    There may be some specific contexts where this implication is understood (because it's clear that the way needs to be paved, and the first travelers will do it), but not in general.
    – Barmar
    Commented May 10 at 17:47


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