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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #1

    Question go + ing/to

    Hello everybody,

    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!

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: go + ing/to

    Quote Originally Posted by kukinecka View Post
    Hello everybody,

    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!
    You use such a structure if the verb after go has something to do with an activity or sport you're going to engage in.


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    #3

    Smile Re: go + ing/to

    I went to work(verb) OR I went working??? Thank you!


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    #4

    Smile Re: go + ing/to

    one more:)

    I went to play tennis OR I went playing tennis?

    Thank you!

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    #5

    Exclamation Re: go + ing/to

    Quote Originally Posted by kukinecka View Post
    I went to work(verb) OR I went working??? Thank you!
    Quote Originally Posted by kukinecka View Post
    one more:)

    I went to play tennis OR I went playing tennis?

    Thank you!
    That's a good question.

    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.


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    #6

    Re: go + ing/to

    "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.

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    #7

    Thumbs up Re: go + ing/to

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    "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.
    That's what I was thinking as well.


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    #8

    Re: go + ing/to

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    that's what i was thinking as well.
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    #9

    Re: go + ing/to

    Hello kukinecka


    Semantic Compatibility

    • Let's go to swim
    • Let's go swimming
    From Let us go (and) do something:

    • 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.

    But not,

    • 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.

    Set Phrases and Ellipsis

    • 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.

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