Yesterday I corrected my student when he said: "I rushed to went back home". I corrected it to "I rushed to get back home", but I couldn't provide a proper explanation. I know this is probably basic grammar but I do hope someone can help me out with explaining this properly.

Thank you!

  • Actually, you may simply say, "I rushed back home" which will be more accurate. – SovereignSun Aug 24 '17 at 5:27
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    Ah, that's true! But how can I explain why using "went" is not correct? – Anna Aug 24 '17 at 7:35
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    There are many phrases like this. "I wanted to be there", "I wished to go", "I had to leave", "I ordered him to stop", "I asked him to continue", "I like to sing", "I seem to be lost"... Where there's "to" then it must be the infinitive form after it. – rjpond Aug 24 '17 at 8:00
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    Not really on topic, but interesting to note that "went" is the past tense form of the verb "to wend". For some reason, that verb more or less died out from English, but its past tense replaced "yode" (to pick one possible spelling) as the past tense of "to go". – chepner Aug 24 '17 at 12:45
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    "I rushed back home" may not be more accurate. "I rushed to go back home" means I left where I was quickly, I might have slowed down once I was out the door. – Aaron McMillin Aug 24 '17 at 16:47

A verbal complement of rushed uses the marked infinitive (to + VERB, e.g. 'to go') whereas went is a tensed (aka finite) form of the verb.

They rushed to buy provisions before the blizzard.

They rushed to see the pop star buying chewing gum.

They rushed over to the other side of the ship to get a glimpse of the whale.

  • +1 You are absolutely right as always. Notice that not only a verb can follow "rush to" but also group verbs and nouns. If an adverb follows "rush to" then the "to-infinitive" is omitted. – SovereignSun Aug 24 '17 at 10:20
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    @SovereignSun. A verbal complement is not required, as you indicate, so I've changed it to "A verbal complement...". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 24 '17 at 10:59
  • @SovereignSun I don't think I understand your comment - are you referring to phrases with an adverb following "rush to" before the verbal complement, e.g. "I rushed to quickly stop the runaway trolley"? If so, isn't that still a "to-infinitive", just split around the adverb? – Kendall Lister Aug 25 '17 at 1:54
  • @KendallLister I mean, "I rushed home/forward/up" and etc. – SovereignSun Aug 25 '17 at 4:47

The simple answer is because "rush to do something" is the correct structure and not "rush to did something" - wrong!

  • I rushed to pack my clothes. (Not "I rushed to packed")
  • I rushed to buy the ticket. (Not "I rushed to bought")

"Rush to do something" means "to be eager to do something as soon as you can" or "to do something very quickly and without delay"

You could also use the verb "rush to" to say "to go /get somewhere quickly":

  • I rushed back home. ("home" is an adverb here that substitutes for "to")
  • I rushed to the office immediately.
  • The answer is so simple that it doesn't actually explain why "to did" is wrong, as Tᴚoɯɐuo's answer does. – Monty Harder Aug 24 '17 at 18:37
  • @MontyHarder Why else would I begin by saying The simple answer is. That's what different answers are for. – SovereignSun Aug 24 '17 at 20:24
  • @MontyHarder WHY a construction is wrong is never trivial, nor conclusive. Tᴚoɯɐuo's answer provides data that, when combined with a theory of grammar, supports the position that it's wrong, but it isn't any more complete than this answer IMHO. – Darren Ringer Aug 24 '17 at 20:59

It's the usage of Infinitive "to do". 'to went' should be 'to go'.

  • There's no need in to go there either. – SovereignSun Aug 24 '17 at 5:26
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    @Sovereign, "I rushed to go back home" is grammatical though, while the OP's statement is not. It's a bit redundant, but it is grammatical. – Octopus Aug 24 '17 at 16:13
  • @Octopus It is. Nobody says it isn't. But rush to already conveys the meaning of to go/get somewhere quickly. – SovereignSun Aug 25 '17 at 4:52

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