Come to Pass

By Maeve Maddox

A common English idiom is “come to pass”:

to come to pass: to happen, take place in the course of events, come about, occur, be fulfilled.

Here are some correct uses of the expression:

all things, good and bad, come to pass.

It shall come to pass. Don’t give up on your God-given dreams.

…it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass.

Lately, I’ve noticed an odd distortion of this idiom into “goes to pass”:

Love remember who comes 1st in your life, everything goes to pass, but God’s spirit will always surround us…Amen!

Most of the time, the first thought that comes is of that everything goes to pass,

…if everything goes to pass, we will eventually be merging with 3SA.

I have done as much as I can to make sure people don’t get evicted from our ceremony venue, and that everything goes to pass without riots.

These examples come from forums, inspirational blogs, and blog comments–contexts in which nonstandard English is well-represented. However, I found an example of a similar distortion on a page that has the Quaker Oats logo at the top. This one uses “goes to pass” as if it meant simply “pass,” or “come to an end.” The writer may have been thinking of the expression, “fads/fashions come and go”:

Like most people I’m sure you’ve struggled with maintaining your weight and eventually the latest craze and health trend goes to pass without much success.

ESL learners need to be aware that “goes to pass”–in any context–is not standard English.

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1 Response to “Come to Pass”

  • Alice Kemp

    I agree that “goes to pass” is pretty lousy English when it supplants “comes to pass.” But when you said that phrase is incorrect in any context, I couldn’t help but think of the sentence, “When he goes to pass my house, he tries to hunker down in his seat as low as possible.” In this context, the phrase means “preparing to pass.” I know I’ve heard various editions of “goes to” with different endings, which, although maybe not the most formal or elegant English, is not yet incorrect either.

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