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I've been stuck thinking this for a while. Would anyone explain me the difference between "go to shop" and "go shopping".

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As a simple statement, most English speakers would say:

I'm going shopping

That's to say, they intend to visit a shop or shops to purchase goods.

Go to shop is unusual unless it's part of a sentence - such as:

I am going to shop for shoes this afternoon.

It means to look for with a view to purchasing.

In this construction shop is clearly a verb.

If shop were intended as a noun, the sentence would have to read:

I am going to a/the shop (to look for shoes)

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  • Although I answered separately before I saw this reply, I agree with this answer. Dec 13, 2018 at 15:55
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It's usage. We generally use the present participle with 'go'.

I will go swimming.

I went fishing.

I always go shopping on Tuesday.

I have gone running on weekends for 20 years.


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I have been thinking about this for a while since I teach Basic 2 level of ESL, and students often ask why we say this. They also make errors between go + action and go to + place. As I examine the phrases that use go + gerund, I find that they require a person to go to another location in order to do the action: --go shopping (you have to go to a store) --go fishing (you have to go to a body of water) --go skiing (you have to go to a mountain or ski resort) This is my present take on the subject.

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    Welcome to SE! Please do not answer if you can only provide opinions, when you get 50 reputation you can comment on any post. You will only get reputation if you include in your answers sources/research, thorough explanations, relevant links, etc. please see the Help Center if you require more information. Jun 3, 2020 at 23:41

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