1. At work, he made up lies as he went along.
  2. At work, he made up lies as he went.

Is one of those two wrong?

  • What's with the exclamation mark at the top of the question? Noting the difference in the revision. – Epitorial Feb 6 '13 at 7:02

Either is correct, and in this context they mean the same thing.

Generally, "he went along" emphasizes the continuous act of going, spread out over time, whereas simply "he went" only draws attention to the fact that he went. However, in your sentence, the word "as" makes them mean the same thing. With or without along, "as he went along" means during the time in which he was going.

So there's a difference between he went and he went along, but there's little if any difference between as he went and as he went along.


The correct sentence would be:

At work, he made up lies as he went along.

Both "went" and "went along" are correct, but "went" is the abbreviated version of "went along." However, "go" and "goes" as you originally had, would not make sense in this tense.

  • So, went is wrong? – Nortonn S Jul 2 '12 at 19:34
  • Both "went" and "went along" are correct, but "go" and "goes" would not make sense. – Alex W Jul 2 '12 at 19:38
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    I can't see any justification for saying "went" is an abbreviation of "went along". They are just different phrases which in this case mean the same. – Colin Fine Jul 2 '12 at 20:42
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    But it could also be an abbreviation of he went to his boss or he went on his way. He went is simply broader (hence more ambiguous) than he went along, but it's not necessarily an abbreviated version. It is ellipsis, but not necessarily elliptic of he went along. – Daniel Jul 3 '12 at 14:37
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    I disagree this answer. OP's subject could quite reasonably say "I'll make it up as I go." Adding "along" is an optional addition just as much as something "expected" that you can optionally omit and assume to be implied. – FumbleFingers Jul 13 '12 at 23:33

To my ear (I have no source), "as he went along" makes the lying it seem less purposeful or planned than "as he went". Maybe it's just the informality of the language that creates that sense.

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    I think that's a spurious distinction. – FumbleFingers Jul 13 '12 at 23:34
  • If anything, Charles, I'd think the opposite of what you just assumed. It seems more purposeful, assuming I'd like to waste time and space partaking in banter for my own reasoning. Other words, I'm agreeing with @FumbleFingers – Souta Sep 13 '12 at 15:42

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