Student or Learner
Let's go swimming. We are going skiing....
He went to work outside. I went to look for the keys....
What is the rule according to which we decide whether to use ing or to?
Thank you very much!
I went to work(verb) OR I went working??? Thank you!
I went to play tennis OR I went playing tennis?
To my way of thinking, play, and work especially, don't give you the exact idea of what activity you're going to engage in. Go swimming/shopping/jogging etc are all-inclusive, so to speak - the meaning of the verb itself tells us exactly what the activity consists in. Therefore, the options with go + -ing are somewhat awkward to me in this case.
That said, you can say Let's go playing in the playground, without mentioning an activity.
I'm really anxious for a native to share their view on this matter.
"I went to play tennis" expresses the reason why you went somewhere.
"I went playing tennis" means while you were going, simultaneously, you were playing tennis.
- Let's go to swim
- Let's go swimmingFrom Let us go (and) do something:Set Phrases and Ellipsis
- Let's go (and) play golf.
- Let's go golfing. <verbal noun>
- Let's go (and) take a swim.
- Let's go (and) swim.
- Let's go swimming. <verbal noun>
- Let's go (and) watch TV.
- Let's go watching TV. <unless idiomatic, then it's OK>
- Let's go playing tennis. <unless idiomatic, then it's OK>
- Let's go tennis-ing.
- We are going (to go) skiing.
- Be going to + infinitive is a set phrase and for that reason the to-infinitive is often omitted for efficiency.
Ellipsis, and Idioms
- He went to work outside.
- There are 2 meanings:
- He went to (go and do some) work outside.
- Idiom: He set to work/began to work outside.
- He went working outside. <awkward>
- Idiom: He went dancing down the stairs.
- Cf. he went to dance down the stairs but fell. Meaning, he started to dance down the stairs but fell.
- I went (in order) to look for the keys ... .
- I went (in order) to play tennis.
- I went looking for the keys ... .
Go looking for is an idiom. It means to go in search of something/someone; e.g., Researchers go looking for Bigfoot... .____________________
There is a list of verbs here that take to-infinitives, gerunds, and both.