It's a sample sentence in Google Dictionary:

run along

phrasal verb of run


go away (used typically to address a child).

"run along now, there's a good girl"

synonyms: go away, be off (with you), shoo; More


Do it mean "If you go away now, you are (still) a good girl"?

Or "You'd better hit the road now, especially when/because there's a good girl (somewhere else) waiting for you"?

  • 1
    Please see this.
    – user3395
    Jun 18, 2018 at 15:02

3 Answers 3


"Run away" and "run along" may seem similar but are used quite differently. The difference is idiomatic. Your question title says one but the body of your question asks about the other, so I will address both.

Run away is self explanatory. It means to depart (at speed) from something, because "away" is a relative direction meaning anywhere but here.

Run along is an idiom which is an order to leave, not in any particular direction, but "along" implies that the person continue with their other business.

Your example:

"run along now, there's a good girl"

I would describe this as quaint British English and would expect to see it in period literature, either said to a little girl by an elder as a way of asking her to perhaps go and play elsewhere; or perhaps said to someone older as way of patronising them. The implication is that they are behaving, or being a "good girl" by following the order to go away.

In this instance "there" is not used as a direction, but as a sort of introduction, the way you might say "there's somebody at the door".


In essence it means,

I am asking you to leave and, as you are a good girl, I expect you to do so.

  • 1
    This is the clearest explanation of the meaning. It might be noted that this language "condescending" It is how some people talk to children. It would be rather rude to speak to an adult this way.
    – James K
    Jun 18, 2018 at 14:29

According to Cambridge Dictionary

there's a good boy/girl/dog!

used to show approval or encouragement

It matches your first idea:

If you go away now, you are a good girl

  • 3
    +1. Compare thatta girl! and thatta boy! (attagirl! and attaboy! ). It can be encouraging or condescending, depending upon the relationship of the parties. Jun 18, 2018 at 13:40

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