When someone asks "What is the most horrible movie you ever watched?" which one is more correct as an answer?

I go for Avatar.

I will go for Avatar.

Is there any other better-suited answer?

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    All that's necessary is Avatar. Both your answers are acceptable in speech because they're understandable. But maybe native speakers would prefer something like "I vote for Avatar". – user264 Mar 4 '13 at 1:33
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    Normally I say "I'd go for something" if I am given a finite list of choices, which is not the case here. – deutschZuid Mar 4 '13 at 2:40
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    You could also say, and perhaps more likely, "I'll go with Avatar." – Der Übermensch Mar 4 '13 at 7:01
  • As a native speaker in this context of open choice, I would say either just "Avatar." or "It's got to be Avatar". I wouldn't say any of the examples here in this context, unless choosing between X and Y. In the case of a defined choice, "I will choose" or "I will go for" would be correct, like FF's response. – Felix Weir Mar 4 '13 at 14:34
  • I'd say "I'm going to have to go with Avatar" or simply "I'd say Avatar" – DarkLightA Mar 4 '13 at 22:03

A native speaker would say something more like:

"I say, Avatar."

or maybe:

"I'd nominate Avatar."

The two-word expression go for can indeed mean "to choose or decide on," but I don't think I'd use it in the context you mention. For one thing, "go for" generally has a positive connotation, so it sounds especially awkward when using it when selecting the "most horrible" movie ever watched.

I'm trying to think of a conversation where a similar expression would be used in a similar context. The best I can think of at the moment is:

"What's the worst movie you've ever watched?"
"I'd say, Avatar."
"Oh, Avatar awful. I could go along with that."

but, in that case, go along with means agree with, not decide upon.

Using go for to mean choose would work better if the question is less open-ended, and the speaker has only a few options. I'm imagining someone going through a cafeteria line:

"And what can I get for you?"
"I think I'll go for the fish."

  • Nah. I'd go for my answer! :) – FumbleFingers Mar 4 '13 at 2:39

From the OED entry for verb to go [for]

To have for one's aim; to aim at securing; †also = the later go in for (see to go in at Phrasal verbs 1). In recent use also with stronger sense (cf. 2e), to concentrate effort on the attainment of (an object). Also, to be enamoured of or enthusiastic about; to care for, like, or prefer; to choose, accept, or support.

As regards whether to use present or future tense, it's really just a matter of personal choice:

Q: "Do you want A or B?"
A1: "I choose A"
A2: "I will choose A" (often articulated as "I'll choose A"
A3: "I would choose A" (often articulated as "I'd choose A")

For most contexts, all tenses convey exactly the same meaning, as do various alternative verbs. In OP's exact context, go for, pick, say, for example, would all work. In my example, have, take, etc., would also work if, say, A and B were two alternative meals being offered by a waiter in a restaurant.

You can see all the answers as "self-embodying" statements (you're making your choice by saying it), so logically it might seem A1 is the most appropriate. But in fact it's probably the least likely form. Also note that most Anglophones would never say "I am choosing" (though I suspect speakers of "Indian English" might well tend to use that form).

A3 I would might seem logically "strange" (since you are choosing, there's nothing "conditional" about it), but that is in fact the most likely verb form in almost all such contexts.

  • Can you please elaborate the "I am choosing" part? Even though it sounds odd I would still like to know the reason? – Thor Mar 4 '13 at 14:50
  • @Batman: I'm not an expert on Indian English, so I'm not even sure they'd be likely to use (or accept without demural) present continuous in such contexts. It just "sounds Indian" to me. But "mainstream" Anglophones certainly wouldn't, because we normally only use that tense for actions which are continuous over some time, from past through present, continuing into the future. Which doesn't really apply to OP's context of expressing a choice. – FumbleFingers Mar 4 '13 at 14:57

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