Go the Extra Mile – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Have you seen the phrase 'go the extra mile' somewhere on the internet or in a text, and would like to know more about what it means (or where it comes from)? The phrase is common in English, though can also be translated into other languages. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this saying.


The saying 'go the extra mile' is a common figurative saying in the English language that can be used to mean that someone has done more than what would be expected of them by others.

Someone who is said to have gone 'the extra mile' has outperformed expectations, or done more than what was expected or specified.

The phrases 'to go the extra mile' or 'going the extra mile' are also acceptable uses of the saying.

Someone can have 'gone the extra mile' when the phrase is used to indicate the past tense of something.

The phrase can be used in conversation or social media, but it has also become a common saying for general advertising that means someone has outperformed the customer's expectations.

Someone can use the phrase 'go the extra mile' to reference themselves, when speaking to someone else, or when referencing a third-party in conversation with another.

The phrase 'go the extra mile' can be used to refer to a company (impersonal), or to a person (personal).

As an opposite, someone can also say that someone 'did not go the extra mile' to imply that the experience was not positive, or that someone did even less than what was originally expected of them.

Example Usage

“I was going to marry someone else, but I was dead set on your father once I saw that he was the guy willing to go the extra mile for me. He didn't just buy twelve roses before he proposed, he bought a whole rose garden.”

“I was going to say something about the pineapple on the pizza, but I could see that the kitchen had gone the extra mile and made a really good pizza, so I let it go in the moment.”

“If you really want the promotion at work, there are two important things you're going to have to do. First, go the extra mile, and second, actually apply for the job through Human Resources. How else will they know that you want it?”

“The restaurant really went the extra mile for him and found those tiny wafers he loves withi his coffee, that's why he left such a large tip for the service staff.”


The origin of the phrase 'go the extra mile' is agreed to originate from the King James Version (KJV) Bible, where a variation of the saying appears in Matthew – to say that someone goes more than a mile to meet someone's expectations.

The phrase has been adapted, and the most common ways to use the expression are not the original use of the saying in the Bible.

After its use in translations of the Bible, the phrase has continued to appear in texts and popular media, usually where the implication lies that someone has done more than what was expected of them.

The website Urban Dictionary records the phrase in 2016, and also records the adapted phrase 'go the extra kilometer' from 2011.

Phrases Similar to Go the Extra Mile

  • N/a

Phrases Opposite to Go the Extra Mile

  • Half-assed

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Going the extra mile
  • To go the extra mile
  • Go the extra mile

Ways People May Say Go the Extra Mile Incorrectly

There are several ways in which someone can use the phrase 'go the extra mile' in the wrong way, or misunderstand the meaning of the saying when it is used.

When someone uses the phrase 'go the extra mile' its meaning is assumed to be understood by the other parties in the discussion, though it is not always.

Someone can use the phrase as 'kilometer', but in an area that uses miles, this would not be appropriate or necessarily understood.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Go the Extra Mile

The correct way to use the phrase 'go the extra mile' is to say that  someone 'has gone' or 'will go the extra mile' to imply that they have gone beyond expectations.

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