In 2009 I went for a cosmetic treatment called Electrolysis.

Is went for correct? I'm trying to say I went and received cosmetic treatment during 2009 and 2010, but saying I went and received sounds wordy.


2 Answers 2


No, went for in this exact context probably doesn't mean what OP wants it to.

To go for a treatment here strongly implies a single visit somewhere for a single treatment session. In this case, OP obviously had several sessions, since it was still going on in 2010.

It's possible multiple sessions were part of a single course of treatment, which might almost license the usage. But I think that's not enough to override the single visit implications above.

It would be less confusing/ambiguous/contradictory to simply say...

In 2009 I had a cosmetic treatment called Electrolysis
(which could be reasonably followed by, say, ...consisting of several sessions running into 2010)

Note that there is an alternative reading (the first that occurred to me, actually). Idiomatically, to go for can be an informal usage meaning to choose a particular thing.

I therefore initially understood OP's statement to be implying that OP suffered from some long-standing problem (thick upper lip hair on a woman, for example). Perhaps in 2007 she'd tried using her husband's razor, and in 2008 she tried depilatory creams, before finally resorting to (choosing) electrolysis in 2009.

Okay, admittedly I decided a few seconds later that probably wasn't the intended meaning (because I'm guessing "Theo" is a man's name). But why risk being misunderstood when had is perfectly normal here?

Per @J.R.'s excellent suggestion below, and my further comment, had isn't actually correct for something that continues beyond the timeframe specified (the year 2009). In OP's exact context (with the treatment continuing into the next year), it should be began (or started, maybe commenced, etc.).

  • Nice catch. Having re-read the question a bit more carefully, I would suggest: In 2009 I began a cosmetic treatment called Electrolysis...
    – J.R.
    Jul 27, 2013 at 1:51
  • @J.R.: Spot on! I realised as I wrote the final line that had doesn't quite work for something that continues beyond the year actually specified. It would have been fine for, say, a 10-month treatment starting in Jan 2009, but OP actually specifies that it continued into 2010, which makes it a bad choice. Either began or started would work fine, though. Jul 27, 2013 at 4:12

Sure, what you wrote reads just fine – especially if you're talking about a single visit.

Went is a past tense of go; one meaning of go is:

travel or move in order to engage in a specified activity

That's exactly what you did - you went (for treatment).

If you're still not convinced, look at all of these instances found in Google books. Google lists scores of hits, such as these:

Many of the other people there were cancer victims and went for treatment every day.
(from Imagery and Symbolism in Counselling by William Stewart)

Bronson's stellar quintet of better-educated assistants included Dorothea Dix, who did not take to teaching and afterward suffered a breakdown and went for treatment to England...
(from Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen)

It might be that this woman died after she went for treatment and Nicholas blames the staff.
(from Winter's End by John Rickards)

If you're trying to say that you started treatment in 2009, then went for is probably not your best option; try this instead:

In 2009, I began a cosmetic treatment called Electrolysis...

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