I'm a Russian learner of English and I'm very much concerned about this expression, "to go in for (e.g. sports)" that we are taught at school and university. Some people are inserting it nearly in every sentence. It didn't sound OK for me so I tried to do a little research.

The dictionaries, especially those made by Russians, suggest that "to go in for" is OK to use and describe its meaning just like we are taught - to take up something as a hobby, to engage in, to show interest for, etc.

However, in the Wikipedia entry about Runglish (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runglish ) this expression is strictly denied as being particular only to Russians. But wiki is not the most credible source, so I searched the Internet for discussions of this expression, and they all gave entirely different opinions about that: some do not even understand this expression, and some say that this is OK but sounds very archaic.

So, I just want to ask for your opinion on this:

1) Are you a native English or American speaker, or smth else?
2) Do you understand this expression?
3) Do you personally use this expression, "to go in for smth"?
4) Do you use it only in "to go in for sports" or in other cases as well? A couple of examples maybe?
5) Do you find it sounding archaic? Since what time do you think it became archaic? In recent years or long ago?
6) Would you recommend to use it in everyday speech? In essays/compositions? Any other applications?

Thanks. I need as much opinions as possible Emotion: smile
See this idiom site:

For examples at the New York Times, see this search output at Google:


which you can obtain yourself, if you search Google for
site:nytimes.com "go in for"
I still can't understand. The article at answers.com says "[Mid-1800s]" - does it mean that the expression is out of date, archaic? Then why it is still used, e.g. in NY Times? Does it have some stylistic peculiarity? Does it sound bookish, create some special style?
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It's a current expression, answers.com gives the approx first date.

Do you think the New York Times would use it otherwise in so many instances?

It's not formal at all. Just read those examples and you'll get the flavor or it.
Hi K48

1) native American English speaker

2) I understand it, but I do not think it is a clear expression. In some cases I might not be sure I completely understand the intent of the speaker.

3) I never use this expression.

4) If I used it I would not use it for sports. For example, if I said "I go in for football" - would that mean I like to play football, or I like to watch football, or what? In my opinion the phrase is too vague. (note: while we are attending a school, we often say "I am going out for football" meaning I'm joining the football program - this is appropriate in my opinion.)

Personally, the only time I might use this expression is in the informal phrase "I do not go in for that sort of thing", in response to someone asking me to do something I do not want to do, like drugs or ice fishing.

5) It does not sound archaic, but it does sound a little dated- that is, I would not be suprised to hear it in a 1950's movie spoken by a silly high school girl or a nerdy guy, or perhaps in a current movie set in the 50's or 60's.

6) I do not recommend the use of this expression for any purpose. In my opinion it is vague. It is what I would call 'lazy speech': just go ahead and say what you really mean.

If I heard someone with a foreign accent say this I might guess they were making a literal translation from their own language and I would not assume I understood them. I would probably ask for clarification.

Note: There are times when you might use the three words together, but it's not an expression: "I go in for a doctors appointment" - means you are actually going in someplace to see a doctor. (usually: "I went in for a doctors appointment" or "I am going in for a doctors appointment tomorrow")

If you do a search on the internet "go in for sport," you'll see that many of the hits come from Russian speakers of English. The idiom is used, but not often, by native speakers, despite it's prevalence in Russian textbooks. (I taught English in Russia/Belarus/Moldova for five years.

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I have found this definition: 

To make the object of one's labors, studies, etc. [1913 Webster]

He was as ready to go in for statistics as for                 anything else.                   --Dickens.