Language Tips

to leave, part 2

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Written by Liz Potter

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of language tips to accompany the Real Vocabulary theme we look at how you can expand your vocabulary in English by using different words and expressions instead of core vocabulary items.

This set of language tips explores the words and phrases we use to describe movement. This week’s tip looks at more verbs and phrasal verbs that mean to leave:



set off or set out to leave a place at the start of a journey:

  • She climbed into her car and set off for Oxford.
  • They set out early the next morning.

depart to leave a place and start a journey:

  • The plane departed at noon.
  • The tour departs daily at 10 am.
  • Your flight departs from Shannon airport.

Depart is used in official contexts such as schedules and timetables, and in formal written English. People also sometimes use it in speech, as a humorous way of saying that they are leaving. In British English you depart from a place; in American English you can also depart a place:

  • Before departing Colombo, they visited a Buddhist temple.

vacate something to leave a room, house or other building so that someone else can use it:

  • We vacated the premises on the last day of the month.
  • Please vacate your room by noon.

exit or exit something to leave an area, for example a room, a building or an aircraft:

  • Please exit the building by the main door.
  • Passengers are requested to exit from the aircraft using the emergency exits.

Vacate and exit are both formal and are used especially in official contexts.

Did you know that Macmillan Dictionary includes a full thesaurus? This page lists more ways to say ‘to leave‘.

More language tips

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Liz Potter

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