General Writing and Grammar Help/Go after someone

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Question
Dear Ted:

Does the phrase "to go after someone" exist?

If so, what does it mean?

Would you please give me some examples of how to use the above phrase correctly and properly?

Also, is it possible to "go after SOMETHING"?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Does the phrase "to go after someone" exist?

If so, what does it mean?

Would you please give me some examples of how to use the above phrase correctly and properly?

Also, is it possible to "go after SOMETHING"?

*** Both of the phrases exist.  If you "go after someone or something," you are looking for that person or thing.  That is the most common usage.

EXAMPLES:

If Jane leaves the party, I intend to go after her.
  This sentence has two interpretations.  (1) I will go after her in order to get her to return to the party.  (2) If Jane leaves, I will leave also.  [I will follow her.]

The police went after the robbery suspect.

Jack would not leave Jill's side.  Everywhere she went, he would go after her.

**** Another usage is the second example (2) I gave above.  "Go after" means not only to pursue someone or something [as in looking for him or it].  The phrase also means "to follow."

EXAMPLES:

Jim wanted to follow in his father's footsteps.  Since his father was a banker, James decided to go after a position in a bank.

Nearly every member of the Kennedy family took the lead from John F. Kennedy and decided to go after political offices.

Ted  

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Ted Nesbitt

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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.

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

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

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