Commonly Confused Words: Forego/Foregoing/Forgo/Forgoing

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Would you forego the chance to sue for a decent settlement? Or would you be forgoing that chance?

Forego (verb):

  • Forego is a verb that means to go before or precede: “The State’s case-in-chief will forego Plaintiff’s defense.”

Foregoing (adjective):

  • Foregoing is an adjective that refers to something referenced to or stated before: “For the foregoing reasons, the Court should find for plaintiff.”

Forgo (verb):

  • Forgo is a verb that means to refrain from doing something you can legally do: “Given the evidence presented in this case, the defendant has chosen to forgo a jury trial.”
  • Forgoing is the present participle form of forgo: “Defendant was forgoing the chance to testify in order to avoid complicating the narrative.”


(1) If you need an ADJECTIVE, use foregoing.

(2) If you need a VERB use forego when describing an ordering in TIME and forgo when you mean ABSTAIN.

To guarantee that your success is a foregone conclusion, let’s do some practice problems.


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1. Which of the following sentences correctly use the words forgo and forego?

 I. The defendant decided to forgo his right to a jury trial.

II. The lawyer forewent his usually closing remarks in favor of a more impassioned plea.

III. The plaintiff had to forgo her claim because she lacked evidence.

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2. Fill in the blank: The judge’s decision was ________ after the plaintiff revealed a smoking gun during his deposition.

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3. Which of the following sentences uses the correct word in the underlined portion?

 I. By forgoing from pleading negligence in her complaint, plaintiff was later estopped from asserting such a claim.

II. The judge forewent his duty to remain impartial

III. Because of the forgoing reasons, the claim was dismissed.

Your score is

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