go extinct / become extinct

InnerDemon

Member
Romanian
Could anyone explain the difference between "to go extinct" and "to become extinct"? I've come across both variants and as far as I could tell there was no difference in meaning. Yet, in one of my practice books, this appeared as a multiple choice exercise (with solely one correct variant).
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I'm pretty sure I've heard or read both in use, ID, and they both mean the same thing.

    However, if I had to choose one to use myself, it would definitely be become. Go extinct just sounds a bit ... 'not quite as right as become extinct'.
     

    manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    'To die out' is an alternative to 'to become extinct', but I have never heard 'to go extinct', even in the wilds of Lancashire ;)
     

    manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    There is no difference. They both mean the same thing.
    They don't in England, becasue you never hear 'to go extinct'. People/animals go deaf, or lame or mad, but things don't go extinct.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    They don't in England, becasue you never hear 'to go extinct'. People/animals go deaf, or lame or mad, but things don't go extinct.
    Has ewie's post already become extinct, or gone out of style, or is Manchester not part of England any more? I have no axe to grind, but to assert so strongly that British English usage is xxxxxxxx, so soon after another BE native has said it is YYYYYY, seems odd.

    You did write "never hear", and not "never read", so I suppose that covers the nearly four thousand .uk web pages with "go extinct".


    1. Times Higher Education - Monogamous species may go extinct more ...

      Monogamous species may go extinct more easily than polygamous ones. 10 July 2003. Brussels, 09 Jul 2003. A new study has found that monogamy may be proving ...
      www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=177906&sectioncode=26 - 24k - Cached - Similar pages -
    2. £5m Island project to build memorial to extinct species (From ...

      May 15, 2009 ... after the Great Fire of 1666, fossils were discovered there which led scientist Robert Hooke to propose that species could go extinct. ...
      www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/4371125.__5m_Island_project_to_build_memorial_to_extinct_species/ - 46k - Cached - Similar pages -




    For AE, go extinct seems more colloquial, lower register than become, but with no difference in meaning.
     
    Last edited:

    Forero

    Senior Member
    To me, "go extinct" is more sudden than "become extinct". I am curious as to what the multiple choices were.

    I would rather say "die out" than "go extinct", but I'd sooner say "go extinct" than "turn up missing". :)
     

    grammarguy

    New Member
    English
    The action "to go" implies a journey toward and an arrival at a destination from which it is possible to return. The action "to become" implies a change in state from which is is difficult to revert. Technically, "extinction" is forever; it is not a destination from which it is possible to return. Therefore, "to go extinct" is inaccurate and there is indeed "a difference".
     
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