the context:

I want to write a sentence/phrase in which I convey the idea that when one make a choice in life one have give up on something else. So the options are:

1 - each choice means forgo.

2 - each choice means a forgoing.

3 - each choice means to forgo.

also I would like to know if these phrases/senteces can finish in "forgo" not having to complement with a specific thing to forgo


2 Answers 2


Forgo is transitive, and it is rare to use it without an object.

I think what you are looking for is:

Each choice means forgoing another.

To look at your specific samples, I would find 1. and 3. acceptable with an object; but 1. only barely so - I would regard it as colloquial. As I say, I prefer my example. with an -ing clause and an explicit object.

Your 2. is grammatical, and can manage without an object, because a forgoing makes it a noun phrase, not an -ing clause.

But it is odd. The iWeb corpus has only three instances of a forgoing. One is a mistake (the "a" shouldn't be there) and the other two are both qualified (example "a forgoing of short-term solutions")


None of these.

It is hard to know quite what you want here. There is not enough context given to know that by "each choice" you actually mean "every choice that we make in life". Then the verb "means" seems like a dictionary definition, rather than the philosophical idea you seem to intend. Finally, "forgo" is a verb, so saying "... means forgo" is ungrammatical, and "... means to forgo" sounds like a poor dictionary definition of "choice".

You might hope for a noun "a forgoing", however that is rare. If you had "a forgoing of something" that might be acceptable.

So none of these work well.

As for an alternative, it depends on the context. Is there a need to be so poetic? Can you say "Every time we make a choice in our life we must give up on something else" (as in your question)? Why do you need something much shorter?

  • what i'm trying to attain here is the write shortest phrases as possible while yet being able to convey the idea I'm trying to. Why? becouse I think it is hard to accomplish so I thought I should practice it. Headlines does something alike and it would help me improve my English. So pelase let me ask you this: don't you think numbers:1,2,3 can be linked to a general idea dismissing any specific context? I mean :"each choice ends up in (replacing the means) forgo." can be just connect with the idea of a general choice? Dec 18, 2022 at 13:24
  • It is a game, but it isn't really an important skill for a learner. 1 and 3 are ungrammatical, 2 uses a coerced noun. You have forced the -ing form of the verb into service as a noun. So with enough context, we know what you are saying, but it isn't a very natural expression. Without specific context - No these are all bad English.
    – James K
    Dec 18, 2022 at 16:10
  • I appreciate your point of view. But as a learner please allow me one last attempt. How about: "each choice brings forgoing, thta is how it work in life" do you think that is ok? is that providing a specific context? or if that is not ok can that be saved by tweaking a little? Dec 18, 2022 at 21:21
  • For me this just doesn't work well. "forgo" is transitive, it wants an object.
    – James K
    Dec 18, 2022 at 23:07
  • Can nummers 1 and 3 be also saved with an object? Dec 19, 2022 at 11:43

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