I love to go out dancing. (OALD)

When I came across this sentence, I recollected the man, Cheo Yong, who saw four legs on his bed over 1,130 years ago, when he came back late. After that, singing “two are mine, two are who’s? Though originally mine, what should I do, after deprived,” he went out, dancing. (This song very famous, every Korean middle school student learns the old lyrics in Korean text books.)
But I can find ‘go out dancing’ is interpreted, on Korean websites, into ‘go outside to dance.’ Is it an idiom? Can the sentence in OALD be interpreted ‘go outside, dancing,’ as the dancing of the doomed guy who saw four legs in A.D.879.

1 Answer 1


In general, going out will be interpreted as "go (out of my house) to a place where people have fun". I can go out eating (to a restaurant), go out dancing (to a club, or when you are my age, a disco), go out drinking (to a bar).

As a general statement, this is the only common interpretation: the sentence describes a habitual act, not a specific situation.

Context changes everything though:

I was in the room, then I went out (,)dancing.

Means indeed I went out while, at the same time, I was dancing: I cha-cha'd my way to the door, I waltzed out of the room, I quickstepped out or I tangoed into the hallway. In that last instance, obviously I am not the only one leaving the premises, because, as J.R. notes in the comments, it takes two to tango

I love to go outside dancing.

Describes my liking of actually going outdoors to dance in the open. (No, I don't do that, really.)

After I insult everybody in the room, I love to go out dancing.

This is ambiguous, but the mention of the room indicates I may actually leave the room while showing off my sense of rhythm to the insulted. It could also mean I like to go to a club after the insults are delivered. Unless you get to know me better, you can never be sure...

  • 2
    You must be the life of the party before you leave. Or go out. Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 14:48
  • I was in the room, then I went out, dancing. This could mean that you danced out of the room, dancing your way into another room in the house; in other words: Upon hearing the good news, I waltzed from the kitchen into the living room.
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 8:33
  • @J.R. — I think I said just that with I went out while I was dancing. Ok, I did not mention the possibility of entering another room, but I fail to see the relevance...
    – oerkelens
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 8:53
  • I just thought "means indeed I went out while I was dancing" might be a little bit ambiguous, considering the O.P. is already confused about what "going out" means. I was just trying to add a little clarification where there might be some confusion. In principle, we are in agreement.
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 8:56
  • 1
    Excellent! Except you can't "tango into the hallway" – at least, not by yourself. It takes two to tango. ;^)
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 9:06

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