1. I'm going for a swim.
2. I'm going to have a swim.
3. I'm going to take a swim.

Are the last two sentences correct? I know the first one is, but what about the last two?
I know that you can use 'have' and 'take' with certain nouns, in sentences such as;

1. We're going to (have/take) a look around
2. I'm gonna have a read of this book

I believe they're called Delexical Verbs.

I know they sound a bit unnatural, but are they correct and would you find them okay in informal/casual conversations?

  • 1
    They are correct, and sound quite natural to me (with the possible exception of your last example). Note that "have" is more common in British English, and "take" is more common in US English.
    – TonyK
    Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 22:40

1 Answer 1


All three sentences are correct, but they can carry a surprisingly complex subtlety of meaning.

"I'm going for [something]", in this context, means I am departing to do or obtain that something. In other contexts, it could instead mean I am attempting to achieve something ("I'm going for the record"), or I am choosing an option (given a choice of desserts, "I'm going for the ice-cream"), but neither of these alternative possibilities applies to "going for a swim".

"I'm going to (have|take) a swim", on the other hand, mean that you are planning to swim. There is no implication that you'll have to go elsewhere in order to do so, as there is with "I'm going for a swim". In the specific case of swimming, this distinction is pretty meaningless, but if you replace the activity with, say, napping, it gains some relevance: "I'm going for a nap" is appropriate only if you are napping elsewhere, while "I'm going to (have|take) a nap" would also be appropriate if you're going to nap right where you are.

  • Would you say that this is also correct? "They've gone to have a swim"
    – FroztC0
    Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 15:29
  • 2
    @FrostC0 Correct, but not terribly natural. "They've gone for a swim" or "they've gone swimming" would be more idiomatic.
    – Darael
    Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 15:30
  • 1
    I'm going for a swim could be used in the same sense as I'm going for the ice cream if there are a number of activities to choose from, one of which being swimming. I'm going for a swim. What are you going to to? I bet you'll want to run some laps or use the gym equipment instead. Although not commonly used that way, it's still possible. Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 15:42
  • 1
    @JasonBassford I considered this, but my instinct is to argue that for the "choice" sense to truly apply, it would need to be "the swim", with a definite article. There being other options is insufficient; the sentence itself must imply selection rather than motion for that sense to be really relevant.
    – Darael
    Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 15:44
  • 1
    The definite or indefinite article is irrelevant. It's still a choice. I'm going for a chocolate-flavoured ice cream. I haven't decided which one yet. Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 15:46

You must log in to answer this question.

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