and off they'd go

redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
Donny said, "Sure, Jimmy and his lady liked to spark the fireworks. He'd get drunk, she'd get mad, and off they'd go."

I said, "He beat her?"

Donny shrugged. "We never saw and she never said"
Source: Alone, D.D Warren
They were discussing a domestic violence case. I want to make sure if the highligted sentence is equal to "they'd go off". Thanks
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Off they'd go here is similar to fireworks going off (being ignited and doing whatever it is that that particular firework does, e.g. firecrackers, bottle rocket, etc.). We speak of explosives "going off" -- exploding.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi redgiant

    I see Copyright's point about the fact we use "go off" for fireworks; but for me, the meaning of "off they'd go" here is close to "they'd start" [= they'd start fighting]. In other words, I see it as a semi-set phrase: Off I go! Off we go! etc. (There are previous threads on this usage, including and off we go.)

    As a result, no, I couldn't replace "off they'd go" with "they'd go off".
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Perhaps it was my obtuse way of expressing the idea -- I certainly agree with you, Loob ... about the meaning and the conclusion. :)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top