go barging off in the forest alone

Agito a42

Senior Member
Source: The Sword in the Stone (1963), an American animated fantasy film set in medieval England.

Kay let young Arthur go into the forest alone, and now Arthur's gone missing.
Kay's father reprimanding him: The devil take it. Anyone's got better sense than to go barging off in that infernal forest alone. You had no business letting him go.

Could you explain the "go barging off" part, please? And would it be correct to say "Anyone's got better sense than to barge off in that forest alone"?
 
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Yes, it's this meaning (from the OED):

    3.a intr. To bump heavily into (a person), to knock roughly against; to go roughly and heavily through, into, along, about, or against (a place, etc.); also with advs. about, around.​
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    The definition of 'barge' alone is the least of my problems :). Why is it used with "off" here, what does "go" add to the meaning?

    Perhaps, "Anyone's got better sense than to go barging around in that forest alone" would make sense to me, but this "off" sends me wondering :).
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    Correct me if I'm wrong, Glenfarclas. You mean the 'off' goes with the 'go', not the 'barging'? So there's nothing wrong with "Anyone's got better sense than to go off barging in that infernal forest alone"; 'off' goes with 'go', and 'in that infernal forest' with 'barging', correct?
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    You mean the 'off' goes with the 'go', not the 'barging'?
    Well, the whole thing goes together, but that's the better way to parse it out, yes.

    So there's nothing wrong with "Anyone's got better sense than to go off barging in that infernal forest alone"; 'off' goes with 'go', and 'in that infernal forest' with 'barging', correct?
    You have understood it correctly.
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    I'm still slightly unsure. Something troubles me a bit.
    We know that Arthur was with Kay; so the sentence in the OP, "Anyone's got better sense than to go barging off in that infernal forest alone", does it tell you (1) that both Kay and Arthur were in the forest and then Arthur wandered off, or (2) that Kay stayed out of the forest and Arthur ended up barging in it?
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    so the sentence in the OP, "Anyone's got better sense than to go barging off in that infernal forest alone",
    That's a statement about people in general.

    does it tell you (1) that both Kay and Arthur were in the forest and then Arthur wandered off, or (2) that Kay stayed out of the forest and Arthur ended up barging in it?
    You told us yourself that "Kay let young Arthur go into the forest alone," didn't you?
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    You mean the 'off' goes with the 'go', not the 'barging'?
    I'd say "off" goes with "barging" if I had to choose. He barged off. He went barging off.
    So there's nothing wrong with "Anyone's got better sense than to go off barging in that infernal forest alone";
    As above.
    and 'in that infernal forest' with 'barging', correct?
    Not any more than "in the park" goes with "went walking" in the sentence: He went walking in the park.
    He went barging off. Where did he go barging off? In that infernal forest.
     
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    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    As you have no doubt encountered before, the whole question of so-called verbal phrases (verb + preposition) can be a little vague and confusing in English. Here, I would say the "go X-ing off" is a kind of stock construct and "go barging off" is a variant that is a set phrase or expression.

    go barging off
    go stomping off
    go exploring off

    You can also say "go off" by itself:

    go off on your own into the forest

    You can say "go barging" by itself:

    go barging into other people's business

    You can say "barge off" by itself:

    barge off on your own into the forest

    But I'd advise against trying to break it up - the "go barging off" part at least. The words go together. You'll get a feel for it better if you don't try to break it up, and just accept it as a whole.
    :thumbsup:
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I disagree with Barque. The underlying verbal phrase is "to go off". As RedwoodGrove points out, there are numerous variants, all of which define the manner of "going off" - barging, stomping, wandering, ambling, running, dashing, strolling ...
    The word order can be changed to make this more apparent.
    He went barging off through the forest.
    He went off, barging through the forest. (The comma is required)
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    go off on your own into the forest
    go barging into other people's business
    barge off on your own into the forest
    The problem is that in the OP sentence there's "in" and not "into" :).

    He went barging off through the forest.
    He went off, barging through the forest. (The comma is required)
    Was he in the forest when he went barging off through it? Or he was somewhere else, he left some place for it?

    You told us yourself that "Kay let young Arthur go into the forest alone," didn't you?
    I'll add a couple of details. In the movie, Kay and Arthur were hunting near the forest, Arthur accidentally shoved Kay, scaring off the deer he was aiming his bow at and causing him to launch his arrow into the forest. Arthur said he would get the arrow and ventured into the forest.

    So, can we say that they were in the forest when Arthur "went barging off in it"? Or "in" means "into" here? This thread go into / in the house suggests that the latter could actually be the case.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think you might be at risk of over-analysing the dialogue. The underlying sentence is "Anyone's got better sense than to go off in that forest alone". In that sentence, the use of "in" rather than "into" is irrelevant - the sentence would mean the same in the context of the conversation. As you suggested:
    Or "in" means "into" here?
    As for "barging", I could have added a general point to my previous post. We have many verb phrases combining a verb of motion with a preposition - go off, go up, go past, come past, come down, come over, run up, walk by, etc. They can all be modified by an adverb or by a participle used adverbially*.

    He went off into the forest.
    He went slowly off into the forest.
    He went barging off into the forest.
    He came up to the head teacher.
    He came hesitantly up to the head teacher.
    He came running up to the head teacher.

    * No doubt that statement will be argued, but I can't see this as anything other than an adverbial use. It describes the manner of the action of the verb phrase.
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    Thank you, Andygc. Two questions here:

    1) From my previous post:
    "He went barging off through the forest."
    "He went off, barging through the forest. (The comma is required)"​
    Was he in the forest when he went barging off through it? Or he was somewhere else, he left some place for it?

    2) Just to be sure, there's nothing wrong with:
    "He went hopping off in the forest alone."
    "He went weeping off in the forest alone."​
    Am I right?
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The starting point is irrelevant. He could go off through a forest starting outside the forest or starting inside it. All "off" tells you is that he is going away from the contextual point of reference.

    X>>F>O>R>E>S>T>FOREST
    or
    FOX>R>E>S>T>F>OREST
    either way, X is going through the forest.
    2) Just to be sure, there's nothing wrong with:
    "He went hopping off in the forest alone."
    "He went weeping off in the forest alone."Am I right?
    Yes.
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    I don't find this sentence particularly natural. I could understand: He went off weeping, into the forest alone or He went off into the forest alone, weeping, but weeping off?
    Well, same here, Barque. That's the problem I tried to point out. The only explanation of this I think is that 'off' in "to go barging off" goes with 'barging' and not 'go'.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    My point was that weeping unlike barging, wandering, running and other such words, doesn't describe movement. That's why I didn't refer to the other sentence in your #14 which uses "hopping off".
     
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    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    I see, Barque. Thank you.

    Regardless of whether the "off" goes with the "go" or not, I've learned everything I wanted to know here. Thank you, everyone, for your helpful replies.
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Weeping" doesn't need to describe movement. It describes the manner of the action of the subject of the verb phrase. We get into the area of debating whether the participle describes the person (and so acting adjectivally) or the action (and so acting adverbially).

    My only small objection to "He went weeping off in the forest alone." is the use of "in". I should have said that in my last post. In that context I don't find it acceptable and would want it to be "He went weeping off into the forest alone." The verb phrase is "went off", not "weeping off". Of course there are other ways to order the words to obtain the same meaning.
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    Hmm, interesting.
    You says that you don't find "He went weeping off in the forest alone" acceptable, but "He went barging off in the forest alone" doesn't bother you at all :). So the first one actually requires him to start outside the forest, while, like you said, in the other sentence, the use of "in" rather than "into" is irrelevant, and he could start outside the forest or inside it.

    PS: This is not a question, just an observation.
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    "He went barging off in the forest alone" doesn't bother you at all
    I didn't say that. I don't use "in" in that way, but many people do, including the scriptwriter of The Sword in the Stone. The thread you linked to, although short, was clear about the acceptability of that usage, with AE speakers happy and BE speakers unhappy about it. I said
    In that sentence, the use of "in" rather than "into" is irrelevant - the sentence would mean the same in the context of the conversation.
    That is the context of a conversation purportedly in medieval England but written with an American accent. I was attending to the topic of the thread, not side issues of AE/BE idiomatic differences.
     
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