Sometime we use "to" after “went down” and sometime not, for example,

Went down the garden
went down to the garden

Can you explain me when to use to with an example please?

  • Who says "went down the garden"? Please cite the source of these sentences, as this sounds quite wrong to me.
    – TypeIA
    Jul 12 '19 at 9:39
  • 1
    @TypeIA as a native BrE speaker, I would use this in this sentence: I went down the garden to trim the bottom hedge but the power cord wouldn't reach
    – Smock
    Jul 12 '19 at 13:16

I believe this is a (BrE only?) colloquialism. You'd never usually see it written but a lot of people I know (especially in the North of England) miss out "to" and "the". You may see it occasionally written in scrips or books when the author wants to convey the accent of the character, but it is not proper English.

I have one particular friend who would miss out "to" AND "the" as well as merging multiple other words:

Going down pub, f'ar pint.

I've struggled to find any sources to back any of this up, but Wiki has a good article of Yorkshire accents, as does the BBC.


When I say this is not proper English, I mean of course that if you want to say:

I went down to the garden

Meaning that you moved towards the area which is considered the garden.


I went down the garden

does not mean the same thing.

It's still a valid sentence, however, it refers to the physical act of you moving in the garden. I.e. going to the other end.

Worth remembering you go up to London and down to every other place (in proper noun form) when travelling no matter geological placement! Although that's just what I was taught and doesn't always hold true. EL&U

EDIT to clear up and summarise (as suggested by @Lambie):

I'm going down (t') pub. (Thick Yorkshire accent)

Going down the pub. (Thick Yorkshire accent)

I am going down to the pub. (Not correct grammatically but often used in North England regions.)

Going down to the pub. (Everywhere)

I am going down to the pub. (Correct).

Going down the river. (Everywhere)

Travelling downstream on a river. (Correct)

Going down to the river. (Everywhere)

Travelling to the side of the river for a nice picnic or to get on a boat. (Correct) - The boat would then take me up/down the river, or I might take a stroll up/down the river (in this case it would be a stroll along the bank).

  • As a BrE native speaker, down the garden would usually mean going to the bottom of the garden attached to your house, and I can't think of a usage of it that would mean down to the garden, unless your garden was not attached to your house, or there was a place called The Garden. Spot on with down [to] the pub though. Also might be worth considering difference between down to the river and down the river
    – Smock
    Jul 12 '19 at 12:44
  • @Smock the garden at my grandparents isn't directly off the back of their house, hence I go down to the garden. I believe that my explanation for the garden can be easily applied to down the river, I wanted to use the OPs example though.
    – Gamora
    Jul 12 '19 at 12:48
  • Don’t forget that the BrE “garden” is sometimes what we call a “yard” in AmE. Yes, I am a Monty Don fan, so even though I’m American I know these things, lol.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 12 '19 at 13:23
  • I'm not sure if that was towards me or not? I am BrE and he's actually a bit of a knob in person unfortunately. Long live the Titch.
    – Gamora
    Jul 12 '19 at 13:26
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    @Bee Your answer is great but I would have structured it with three samples sentences, one right after the other to show the three cases. `1) the regional thing (down the garden, down the pub) and 2) the other two possibilities: down to the garden versus the other end of the garden.
    – Lambie
    Jul 12 '19 at 15:02

I think this must be specific to BrE and some other variants. In standard US English one does not say "I'm going down the store" one says "I'm going down to the store."

One does say 'I'm going down the river." meaning along the river, in the direction of flow. One does say "He's going down the line" meaning in some sense "along the line". There are other uses of "down" without "to" where it more or less means "along". I believe that in some regional or ethnic versions of English in the US, one might say "I'm going down [to] the store." or the like.

  • We could say I walked down the yard, or I walked down to the yard. They mean different things, but it works for certain words, “beach”, “park”, “coast”, etc.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 12 '19 at 13:40

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