In a previous post, we looked at the character 來. In this post, we will take a look at its opposite: 去.
The ancient writing of 去 is a person on top of a cave (his home), meaning someone leaving where he is living (the house, or the homeland). The shape evolved and become the present day 去.
The radical of 去 is 厶, which is counted as 2 strokes. 去 has a total of 5 strokes.
Basic meaning of 去
The most basic meaning of 去 is “to, to go”.
去 can be a one word sentence on its own: 「去！」which is giving an order for someone to go (away, forward, …).
Some common uses of 去 are:
* all of the examples quoted in this post are characters taught in the Sage Formula curriculum, unless otherwise specified.
Examples of words containing 去
As with many other characters, 去 can combine with other characters to form new words. Some of these words have very little to do with its original meanings. In general, it signifies the removal or reduction of something. It can be a verb, or an adverb. Below are some examples:
過去 and 下去 are two very commonly used words. We will take a closer look at these two below.
There are 3 distinct meanings and usages of this word.
"in the past".
It can be used together with other verbs to show the direction of the action, such as:
- 過去 - to go over
- 走過去 - to walk over
- 跑過去 - to run over
- 看過去 - to look over
- 打過去 - to hit over
- 踢過去 - to kick over
- … etc
"Passable". Take a look at the examples below:
- 說得過去 - acceptable (of an excuse or explanation)
- 說不過去 - inexcusable
- 過得去 - not too bad
- 過不去 - to make it difficult for someone, unable to make it through
Pay attention to the use of 不 and 得 in the second pair of examples, as they are not opposites.
While this word can simply mean “to go down”, it also means to carry on doing something, depending on the verb it pairs with, such as:
- 說下去 to continue to tell
- 看下去 to continue to watch
- 聽下去 to continue to listen
- 寫下去 to continue to write
- 讀下去 to continue to read
- 做下去 to continue to do
In the following situations, the words can have either meaning, to show direction or to show continuity, depending on the context:
去 and 來
In general, 去 and 來 are considered opposites. They tell of the different location of the speaker in relation to the object, much like “come” and “go”, or “here” and “there”.
去 and 來 can be used in the same word (or idiom). The most straightforward meaning of this kind of words is to show direction of movements. Let’s look at some examples:
- 跑來跑去 to run about
- 飛來飛去 to fly about
Many other action words that involve movements that cause a change in location can be used in the same fashion, such as:
- 踢 (to kick)
- 轉 (to turn)
- 走 (to walk)
In some cases where the verb do not involve movements in location, it gives a sense of back and forth, or in many directions:
It can also be used as an adjective, such as 直來直去, describing someone being very direct and straightforward.
An adjective worth learning is the idiom 死去活來. This idiom gives a very vivid picture when used with the following verbs:
Some exceptional cases
In some cases (such as with the verbs 看 /聽 /吃 /穿), the meaning doesn’t change whether you use 去 or 來：
去 is taught in Book 2 of Beginning Reader, one of the very first words that your child learns. As they learn more characters, they start to learn about different combinations of the characters to build new words.
The best way to expand their vocabulary is to build upon what they have already learnt.
In our coming post, we will share with you some games and activities that you can do at home to expand your child's vocabulary based on 去.