"I'll run go get a taxi" (about.com)

This construction is called as serial verb one by about.com and Prof. John Lawler. While it is as catenative verbs construction by wictionry.org and CGEL: “ catenative verbs are verbs which can be followed directly by another verb — variously in the to-infinitive, bare infinitive or present participle/gerund forms. (wictionary.org)”; “which take non-finite complements (CGEL,p.104)”.

There being two ways of seeing the construction, it’s not clear whether it can be understood as ‘I’ll run and go and get a taxi’ or ‘I’ll run (to) go (to) get a taxi’. I guess there isn’t that big difference between the two. For to-infinitvals can denote sequential or simultaneous occurrence of the actions or the result of previous action - or the effect of switching scenes: I run, click, going, click, getting a taxi.

What I wanted to know is which one –– omission of and (conjunction), or omission of to (subordinator) or bare infinitival –– you natives have in your mind when you say them.

  • 5
    I'm fine with go get, come see, go fetch, come play, and so on. These all fit into what Arnold Zwicky calls the Quasi-Serial Verb (QSV) construction. But run go get? To my ear, it's flatly ungrammatical. (Your English May Vary.)
    – user230
    May 19 '14 at 0:18
  • 1
    My English is the same. I can't imagine hearing or saying such a phrase. I would say "I'll run to get a taxi". "go" is not needed because its implied.
    – user3169
    May 19 '14 at 0:38
  • 1
    What @snailplane said. It doesn't sound good to me either, and I'd advise learners not to get involved with run go get. The more "normal" case of two consecutive verbs can generally be understood as having an implied intervening and elided. It's overanalysis to suppose that in some contexts you could substitute to or for, for example. May 19 '14 at 0:40
  • 1
    By the way, the answer is neither. I don't think I'm ellipting anything when I say go see.
    – user230
    May 19 '14 at 1:03
  • 2
    More by Zwicky on QSVs: arnoldzwicky.org/2012/08/28/qsv
    – user230
    May 19 '14 at 1:09

I personally think of it as the conjunction case, with the simplification that comes without having to include the actual conjunction. However, in terms of presenting the meaning of the quasi-serial verb, I think the omission of "to" makes more sense, but would sound more strange than the conjunctive version if both are said out loud.

  • In OP's specific example, it's nonsensical to suggest "I'll run to go..." as a credible "original". May 19 '14 at 0:42
  • 1
    Could you explain further? It is not clear to me why I am being down voted for this. The OP asked for a native speaker opinion and that is what I gave. Rereading, it still seems like it would make more sense in the quasi-serial verb sense of "run (to) go (to) ..." as those are actions happening simultaneously, where-as "run (and) go (and) ..." has a more "I'll do this, then this, then this" meaning to it. I certainly wouldn't advocate writing in either style, but my opinion is for the colloquial usage.
    – C G-K
    May 19 '14 at 1:55
  • @CG-K, I appreciate you've shown me a good way for natives how to think about the structure.
    – Listenever
    May 19 '14 at 2:50
  • @CG-K: Imho, OP's three-verb sequence is simply daft anyway, but run to go is even dafter. May 19 '14 at 11:22

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