Did you know that forego and forgo are different words with different meanings? A simple way to keep them straight is to remember that “fore” means earlier, previous, or before. Thus forego and foregoing should be used in the sense of “to go before” or “preceding.”

If the foregoing arguments are accepted, several recommendations should be considered.

The word foregone means “past” or “previous”:

Yakov remembered the foregone winter evenings with fondness.

The phrase foregone conclusion refers to a result that is certain or inevitable—in other words, the conclusion of something has “gone before” the thing itself:

Her success in the race was accepted as a foregone conclusion.

But forgo, with no e, means “to go without” or “to abstain from”:

Already nervous, Kira decided to forgo a second cup of coffee before her presentation.

Here’s a handy tip: If you can remember that the word before contains fore (with an e), you won’t go wrong.

Photo of Erika Suffern

Erika Suffern

Erika Suffern is associate director of book and style publications at the MLA. She received degrees from Bard College and the University of Delaware and has worked in academic publishing since 2006. Before joining the MLA staff, she was associate director of the Renaissance Society of America and managing editor of its journal, Renaissance Quarterly.