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Is it preferable to say "go for a trip" or "go on a trip"? Is there a difference in meaning? My textbook says "for", but "on" seems to be more common online. Oxford Collocation Dictionary also says "on".

4 Answers 4

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Americans would say..."go on a trip."
For example.. "Let's go on a trip." We would say..."go for a drive" or "go for a walk" but not "go for a trip."

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I believe that saying 'Go for' something implies that you are more in control of it, while 'go on' is more passive. You can 'go for a bike ride', but you would 'go on a rollercoaster ride'. Unless you are the one driving or flying for your trip, I would use 'go on' as you are just a 'passive' passenger on the trip.

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  • It's not always passive/active though. Someone could ask me "Do you want to go for a ride in my new car?" and it would imply that I would be a passenger, not the driver.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 17, 2016 at 15:19
  • I didn't mean to say that 'for' is active and 'on' passive 100% of the time. They are just trends. A lot of the time, both sound okay. For example, a passenger could respond to your question by saying "No, I don't go on rides with strangers." or "No, I don't go for rides with strangers." and both are acceptable. I would personally prefer the former though, for the aforementioned trend.
    – N A
    Feb 17, 2016 at 15:28
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    But I wouldn't say "Do you want to go on a ride?" if I were asking if they wanted to go for a drive in my car. When I read "I don't go on rides with strangers" I think that you don't get on amusement park rides with people you don't know. I'm not saying that it there is no pattern at all, but I think that it is more complex than that.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 17, 2016 at 15:36
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Going on a trip sounds better to me. But I would imagine some dialects could use going for a trip. It sounds a little more British to say the latter.

Here's the pattern that I see: I think "going on" implies some level of organization and commitment. "Going for" seems to be more relaxed.

Going "for a walk":

Sounds pretty relaxed.

Going on "a walk":

Almost certainly sounds more organized and less relaxed. Like a walk to raise money for a charity.

"Going for" generally means "I'm having", and having something generally could be optional or at least configurable.

Going for ice cream

Going for surgery

Going for a ride

Going for fun

"Going on" generally means "I'm definitely doing something." I.e. "I'm going to do something", so it's more serious.

Going on a rampage

Going on tour

Going on T.V.

The show must go on!!

"Going on" can literally mean "sitting on" which confuses things. So throw these ones out for the sake of this argument:

Going on a ride.

Going on a train.

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'Go for' implies future reference such as planning for a trip and go on implies that you are on the trip right now

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