"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 '16 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. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 2 '16 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!" – SovereignSun Nov 2 '16 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. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 2 '16 at 10:33
  • @EdwinAshworth This I know. Yet, "Where can I find you on Tuesday?" - "I go to work" sounds awkward to me. – SovereignSun Nov 2 '16 at 10:38

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!

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