Go Off vs Go Up (explode)


Senior Member
Español de España
I've found this sentence:
"We're going to have to shut down the plant immediatley. Otherwise, the whole thing could go up!"
To go up means "to suddendly explode", according to a dictionary. But why not "go off"? Is there a difference? Is it reserved only to things that are supposed to explode, such as bombs?
  • macphiedotcom

    english - australia
    "To go up" is used for potential explosions and also for items that may catch fire ( full meaning is "could go up in flames"). For example "Don't smoke when standing next to that haystack else the whole thing could go up!". In the case of "to go off" the thing that actually explodes is the bomb not the plant so we would say that the "bomb could go off" rather than "the plant could go off".
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