Could use something vs could go for something

Maranello_rosso

Senior Member
Russian
Hello friends!!
Please, could you be so kind to tell something?
I know the expression 'I could use something'. But there is another one 'I could go for something'.
So my question is 'i could go for something' is really often used in a speech? Do the native speakers say like this : I could go for a cup of coffee now. As I understand it means that I suddenly want a cup of coffee, right here aand right now.
Thank you in advance
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes. In this context, we don't commonly say 'I could use . . . ' in BE, but I believe it's common in AE.

    In BE, you'll also hear 'I could murder a coffee', which is a stronger version of 'I could go for a coffee'. I'm not sure if it's used in AE.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I could really do with a cup of coffee right now — this is more idiomatic (in BE anyway) and equivalent to “I could use” in the sense in which you mean it.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s not wrong. Their example — I could go for a beer right now — sounds fairly natural even to me, but (as I said) in BE I would expect to hear instead: I could do with a beer right now.

    It’s worth noting, though, that although “go for” has a number of different definitions/usages, neither Oxford nor Merriam-Webster defines this exact one.

    See also: go for - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
     
    Last edited:

    Phoebe1200

    Senior Member
    Russian-Russia
    I didn't really get it. Is there a difference between "I could use a drink" and "I could go for a drink"?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I didn't really get it. Is there a difference between "I could use a drink" and "I could go for a drink"?
    The usage is probably different in AE and BE. But in BE, “go for a drink” is used mostly when inviting someone out on a date. For example: “Would you like to go for a drink sometime?” Therefore it sounds a bit odd if used in the sense of really wanting something.

    I’ve just worked six hours non-stop. I could really do with a drink right now. :tick:
    I’ve just worked six hours non-stop. I could really use a drink right now. :tick:
    I’ve just worked six hours non-stop. I could really go for a drink right now. :confused:
     

    Phoebe1200

    Senior Member
    Russian-Russia
    I appreciate your answer Lingobingo. I now understand the BE usage. :)

    But I'd also like to know about the American English usage of "could use something " and "could go for something".
    Is "could go for something" used in AmE with the meaning of really wanting something?

    And is there a difference between "could use something " and "could go for something" in AmE?
     

    Archilochus

    Senior Member
    American English
    To me there is a slight difference:

    I could use a drink = I need a drink (I'm pretty stressed out)
    I could go for a drink = I would like a drink (It would be nice to have a drink)

    But context is all.
     
    Last edited:

    Phoebe1200

    Senior Member
    Russian-Russia
    To me there is a slight difference:

    I could use a drink = I need a drink (I'm pretty stressed out)
    I could go for a drink = I would like a drink (It would be nice to have a drink)

    But context is all.
    Thank you very much.:)

    But please someone tell me if "could go for something" is used in AmE with the meaning of really wanting something?
     

    Phoebe1200

    Senior Member
    Russian-Russia
    It is, but what you would probably hear (see) is "I could really go for a drink".
    Thank you for replying.:)

    Do I understand correctly that "could use something " is more common to use in American English in the sense of really wanting something?
     

    Phoebe1200

    Senior Member
    Russian-Russia
    So to sum up in American English:)

    "could use something":arrow: need something
    "could go for something":arrow: want something

    Also, these phrases can be used for anything and not just "drinks", right?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    But please someone tell me if "could go for something" is used in AmE with the meaning of really wanting something?
    I hope you’ve taken on board what was said in reply to this (see #17). I think all the replies have included the word “really”. I could go for a drink (which can mean: I could go to the bar) does not imply the same as I could really go for a drink (I’m gasping for a drink).
     

    Archilochus

    Senior Member
    American English
    "could use something":arrow: need something
    "could go for something":arrow: want something

    Yeah, that's how I'd put the case. And drinks was just an example.
     

    Phoebe1200

    Senior Member
    Russian-Russia
    I hope you’ve taken on board what was said in reply to this (see #17). I think all the replies have included the word “really”. I could go for a drink (which can mean: I could go to the bar) does not imply the same as I could really go for a drink (I’m gasping for a drink).
    Thank you for bringing that to my attention because I hadn't noticed it.:)
    "could use something":arrow: need something
    "could go for something":arrow: want something

    Yeah, that's how I'd put the case. And drinks was just an example.
    Thank you very much for your answers.:)
     
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