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    • Join Date: Apr 2004
    • Posts: 27
    #1

    barbecue

    Is it natural or correct to:
    'We went to barbecue last week.'

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #2

    Re: barbecue

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelfung
    Is it natural or correct to:
    'We went to barbecue last week.'
    Try,

    Non-count: food
    We had barbecue last week.

    Count: an event
    We went to a barbecue last week.


    • Join Date: Apr 2004
    • Posts: 27
    #3

    Re: barbecue

    As we can say: "We went to swim last week.", why can't we say:"We went to barbecue last week."

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #4

    Re: barbecue

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelfung
    As we can say: "We went to swim last week.", why can't we say:"We went to barbecue last week."
    In sentence 1. below, to swim is an infinitive verb, and it functions as the object of went. Note that, to is part of the infinitive form of the verb; to is not a preposition meaning toward.

    Sentence 1. is ungrammatical. The verb swim represents an act, an action, and not a state, so a gerund, an -ing noun, is used, as in 2.:

    1. We went to swim last week. (ungrammatical)
    2. We went swimming last week. (grammatical)

    Sentence 3. below is ungrammatical. to is a preposition, and it means toward. We know it's a preposition because the next word, barbecue, is a noun:

    3. We went to barbecue last week. (ungrammatical)
    4. We went to a barbecue last week. (grammatical)

    Count nouns require a determiner, and the count noun in 3., barbecue, doesn't have a determiner, which is why sentence 3. is ungrammatical. If we add a determiner, a/the, the sentence becomes grammatical as in 4.

    In short,

    TO as a Preposition:
    TO + NOUN
    We went to a barbecue.

    To as part of an infinitive Verb:
    TO + BASE VERB
    We went to see a movie.

    There are no forms of the kind,

    TO + GERUND
    *We went to swimming. (gerund, ungrammatical)

    TO + PROGRESSIVE VERB
    *We went to swimming. (progressive verb, ungrammatical)

    The correct form is without TO,

    We went swimming.

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