Is the use of the phrase set agoing legitimate? By legitimate I mean that if an author uses this phrase then her\his readers catch its meaning.

Incidentally, I have not found any evidence rejecting the hypothesis that the word ``agoing'' is not an established word.

Thanks so much beforehand!


1 Answer 1


Actually, absence of contradiction isn't proof. If your claim is that agoing is an established word, then I can provide some evidence to refute it:

GloWbE, CoCA and BNC have less than 12 results between them, and all of them are stylistic variants of going.

Across over 1.9 billion words, there are just eleven examples of it.

There appears to be just one example of set agoing. I don't know what meaning you want to convey, but you probably want to avoid this construction, unless you're using it in some kind of narrative.

In answer to your question, though, yes, native speakers will probably understand your meaning if you mean "going", but they're likely to assume that it's a typo, or that you're mimicking someone with unusual speech characteristics.

Since you're asking for help on a language learners' site, I hope you won't mind me correcting other issues with your post:

  • In English, we use the forward slash as a conjunction (/), not the backslash (\).

  • Also, thanks so much beforehand isn't idiomatic. You may want to try thanks so much in advance instead.

  • By the way, one can only disprove rather than prove something outside mathematics; that is why I say `` I have not found any evidence rejecting the hypothesis that the word agoing'' is not an established word'' instead of simply The word `agoing' is not an established word''. The latter is an assertion, while the former is a hypothesis just passing a test of mine.
    – Yes
    Jul 4, 2014 at 2:09
  • 2
    @Bri I think I must have misread the question, since I seemed to have it in my head that you were claiming agoing was an established word.
    – jimsug
    Jul 4, 2014 at 3:16
  • 1
    I'm agoin' fishin' in the mornin'. -- I don't see the problem. Oh wait, yeah set agoing I've never heard of.
    – user6951
    Jul 4, 2014 at 13:27

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