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


3 Answers 3


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)

  • Although I answered separately before I saw this reply, I agree with this answer. Dec 13, 2018 at 15:55

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.


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.

  • 2
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