General Writing and Grammar Help/Go ahead - get ahead


Dear Ted:

Is there any difference between "to GO ahead" and "to GET ahead"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.


Dear Paolo:

  Is there any difference between "to GO ahead" and "to GET ahead"?

*** In some instances they mean the same thing.  However, each one has a specific usage.

GO AHEAD -- means "to proceed"

I plan to go ahead with my graduate studies, even though I am lacking sufficient funds.

Ted [in a supermarket check out line]:  "Paolo, please go ahead of me."

GET AHEAD -- means "to rise above others"

If you are going to get ahead in this world, you must take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.

I was polite and allowed Paolo to get ahead of me in the class registration line.  That was my mistake, because Paolo got the last available space in the Shakespeare class, and I must wait until next year to take this class.


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Ted Nesbitt


I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.


I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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