go the extra mile

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An adaptation of a commandment of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain” (two).

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notes for go the extra mile

Figuratively, to do more than what is needed.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


What does go the extra mile mean?

Go the extra mile means to do more than was asked or expected.

It’s a figurative phrase—it doesn’t literally mean to travel an additional mile.

Go the extra mile is often used in situations in which someone completes the task they were expected to do and more, as in One of my students went the extra mile and composed a song to go along with their book report. 

Example: When I send someone a greeting card, I like to go the extra mile and write my own message inside.

Where does go the extra mile come from?

The first records of the phrase go the extra mile come from around 1900. It’s a reference to a line from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount in the Bible: “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” Many people interpret it to mean that they should always try to do more than is asked of them.

Interestingly, go the extra mile isn’t the only phrase to come from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. Earlier in the sermon, Jesus says, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” The phrase turn the other cheek comes from this line.

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What are some synonyms for go the extra mile?

  • do more than asked
  • do more than is required
  • exceed expectations

What are some words that share a root or word element with go the extra mile

What are some words that often get used in discussing go the extra mile?

How is go the extra mile used in real life?

Go the extra mile is typically used in the context of a person doing more than was required or giving extra effort.

Try using go the extra mile!

Is go the extra mile used correctly in the following sentence?

“Tom always goes the extra mile by doing the minimum of what he is asked to do.”