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When something is in front of you, in time or in space, we say that it is "ahead." When describing time, it’s similar to in the future:

  • They face many problems ahead.
  • There’s another car ahead of yours.
  • He’s ahead of you. You’ll have to wait until he’s finished.
  • She has a bright future ahead of her.
  • There’s a sign ahead. What does it say?

The word "ahead" is also used when someone or a group gains an advantage over someone else, especially in a competitive environment:

  • They pulled ahead of the other team. Now they’re winning.
  • This company is ahead of the competition in producing low-cost widgets.

To "get ahead" is to save money for the future or to keep pace with your debts. This is an idiom:

  • It’s hard to get ahead when you have a low-paying job.
  • He does what he can to get ahead.

The idiom "go ahead" means that it’s your turn or your opportunity to do something or say something:

  • You can go ahead of me.
  • Go ahead. Answer the question.
  • I don’t want to go ahead right now. I’ll wait.

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This page was first published on February 23, 2014. It was amended on December 29, 2014.



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