Don't go by the rating of/for the movie

Discussion in 'English Only' started by redgiant, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Suppose a new movie has been released to predominantly negative reviews and occupied a high position in the bottom 250 Movies list on with the disastrous 2.9 rating. I happened to watch it yesterday and it wasn't really that bad at all. Today, a friend of mine made fun of me for wasting my time with it. To encourage him to give it a try, I said "Don't go by the rating of/for the movie. You should check it out."

    I think the entire highlighted can be dropped for brevity but, out of curiosity, which preposition should be used?
  2. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    I agree - most people would, I think, omit the highlited bit altogether, and just say 'Don't go by the ratings . . . '. (I'd say 'ratings' is more likely than 'rating'), or 'Don't go by its rating'.

    I was going to continue by saying what I thought the correct preposition would be if one were used, but I really can't decide as they both sound somewhow wrong. I can't even choose one as the lesser of two evils. They just wouldn't occur in a context like this.

    Others may have different thoughts . . .
  3. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    In American English, "the rating (of the movie)" is the code which tells you what age audience it is appropriate for G, PG, PG-13, ... I would say "Don't go by the reviews."
  4. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thanks heypresto and Myridon. I just checked out a random movie page on and noticed that it is "ratings" (in the plural form) in the section where users are allowed to rate it on a scale of one to ten.
  5. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Suppose one of our members is answering a question about which preposition to go with the verb "stick" (to or with). His gut feeling tells him to go with "stick with". He isn't a grammar expert so he can't formulate an explanation in terms of rules and grammar. In his reply to the poster, he says, "I can't give you a proper grammatical explanation for my preference, I just go by/for what sounds natural."

    Are go by and go for interchangeable in this specific case?
  6. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    No. "Go by" means "use as a guideline." "Go for" means something like "pick," "choose," or "want."
  7. redgiant Senior Member

    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thank you, Myridon. I take it that he should use "I just go for what sounds natural", meaning that he just chooses the one that sounds natural to him.
  8. lilison Senior Member

    English - Canadian
    Go by what sounds natural.
  9. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    I agree with lilison. 'Go for' cannot be understood as 'decide with regard to'. 'For' expresses determination here, not deliberation, e.g.: "When choosing preposition, he usually goes for the combination that gets the greatest number of Google hits." (Cf. the idiom "Go for it!)

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