Tom is at a party, hanging at the bar. A guy he knows, Matt, comes up to him to say hi. They talk, then -

Matt: Well, it's good to see you again. Enjoy the party.

Tom: Thank you.

Matt moves off/heads off/leaves.

Matt doesn't leave the party just Tom. Which of "moves off", "heads off" and "leaves" should I use? Or maybe all of them would be okay?

  • 1
    Matt heads off to the other side/corner/opposite booth. The most suitable here will be "heads off", but it should include a direction to where the person is heading off to. However, the use of both "leaves" and "heads off" is common as well in such situations. Matt left John with his drink and headed off to meet his gang. Nov 15, 2020 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


None of them really sound right to me, in the context you mean:

  • "Matt moves off": sounds strange, would make more sense if he was on something (like a bed) and moved off it.
  • "Matt heads off": sounds like he is leaving the party (which you said he isn't), or if a clear goal is given ("Matt heads off in search of more interesting company")
  • "Matt leaves": without more context, it sounds like he is leaving the party.

In your context (Matt is just going to talk to someone else now), I'd say something more like:

  • Matt wanders off
  • Matt steps away
  • Matt walks off

All are fine. I'd probably choose "moves off". This suggests he moves away from Tom. Probably to start another conversation with other people. It isn't in a particular direction.

I'd use "leaves" to mean "he leaves the party"

I'd use "head off" to mean go in a particular direction, for example "Matt heads off to the toilets"

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