1. I went to watch my girl friend playing drums yesterday

  2. I went watching my girl friend playing drums yesterday

First , is the last sentence correct? What is the difference between go + gerund and go + infinitive?

  • I think you should add more details in addition to your own opinion. The only "go + gerund" that I have faced so far is the case when "go" describes a movement. e.g., "she stumbled and her books went flying." However, I am not sure whether it's an adjective or gerund. Maybe I should ask a question on this.
    – Cardinal
    Jun 21, 2017 at 20:46
  • 1
    The first example is correct. The second is incorrect. Most English verbs take the infinitive, and to go is one of them. The Penguin Handbook page on the subject is here. (there is an excellent answer at ELU here. Jun 21, 2017 at 20:47
  • @Cardinal I think you will benefit from learning about The "Very" Test! Jun 21, 2017 at 20:52
  • @P.E.Dant Thanks for the link, but does it also work for the predicative adjective? ( I don't know what to call that "verb+ing" after went). In other words that test seems to be designed for the attributive adjectives. by the way it's cool.
    – Cardinal
    Jun 21, 2017 at 20:57
  • @Cardinal Read that post closely: words in the predicative position are exactly what The Very Test is designed to test! (Can we say "she stumbled and her books went very flying."?) Jun 21, 2017 at 21:00

1 Answer 1


The expression "go + gerund " is used for individual recreational activities and sports adventure. This is why you can say "go boating, go sailing, go bowling, go scuba diving, go shopping, go camping."

On that explanation, I can say if Watching her playing guitars is a recreational activity for you, then it's correct to say the number two. If not, then it's incorrect.

  • 1
    I agree with this. "I went watching my girl friend play drums yesterday" does make it sound like her playing drums is a spectator sport.
    – LawrenceC
    Jun 21, 2017 at 23:51
  • Really, I think you overgeneralized and left some rare but still valid usage out of your explanation. "I went looking for space to rent yesterday" is a perfectly idiomatic sentence and I don't see it as a recreational activity.
    – user1425
    Dec 12, 2022 at 14:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .