"I go to work" may be understood in two different ways:

"Why do you go to the office so often?" ... I go (to do what?) to work.

"Where do go every morning?" ... I go (where?) to work.

In this sentence is "to work" a to-infinitive or a preposition and an object?

Is it the same in both cases?

  • Does the meaning change depending on how you understand that sentence?
    – user24743
    Nov 2, 2016 at 10:00
  • There are arguments that it is better to stick at the idiom analysis with the 'attend' (semelfactive or iterative) sense 'go to work / school / university ... / hospital ('BrE')', as 'go to infirmary / academy / recreation ...' are unacceptable. Whatever, 'work' / 'school' are certainly not verbs here. // The other interpretation uses the 'in order to [work]' / 'for the purpose of [working]' sense. Nov 2, 2016 at 10:00
  • @EdwinAshworth It's strange that you answered "Where can I find you on Tuesday?" with "I go to work" while it's apparently "You can find me (where?) at work!" Nov 2, 2016 at 10:03
  • Anglophones often give answers that entail the desired information (rather than largely parrot the question, or give less information than is really being sought). <<[a] 'Did you catch the weather forecast?' ... 'I'm wrapping up well when I go out, and taking an umbrella.' // [b] 'Are you hungry? ... 'I ate only an hour ago, thanks.' >> [a] 'Yes' wouldn't be helpful, and [b] 'No' would usually be considered abrupt, non-conversational. Nov 2, 2016 at 10:33
  • @EdwinAshworth This I know. Yet, "Where can I find you on Tuesday?" - "I go to work" sounds awkward to me. Nov 2, 2016 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


It may refer to both the verb (to work) and to the noun (work)

Go to work:

  • To begin performing some task or work.
  • To go to one's job, as by commuting.


go/get to work (on someone or something):

  • to begin working on someone or something. The masons went to work on repairing the wall. The surgeons went to work on the patient. Come on! Let's go to work!

The Free Dictionary

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