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go Ving: can mean

-to move in a particular way

or

-do an activity

The dictionary says "go + Ving" and "come + Ving" means to move in a particular way while doing something else.

See these example,

-He ran to the park

-He came running to the park (I think the park is the central place and the movement is towards that place)

-He went running to the park (I think another place is the central place not the park and the movement is away from that place)

but we also say "he went fishing/running/jogging/swimming/walking..." to express he does an activity. Another way to say this is "he went for a run/ a walk/ a swim..."

How do we know if "He went running to the park" means "to move in a particular way" or "to do an activity"?

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    He came running to the park would only be used if the speaker was already in the park when the runner arrived. Oct 18, 2023 at 8:08
  • @KateBunting I agree with you completely and point out that I argued strongly in favor of this re go/come and I was shot down. Did you see that question by any chance?
    – Lambie
    Oct 18, 2023 at 15:06
  • @Lambie - Don't know what question you mean. Oct 18, 2023 at 16:10
  • @KateBunting: It is often the case that the speaker is located where someone comes running to, but it is not necessary. For example, a person could be describing a movie and say "The neighbors came running to the farm when they heard the bell." There is a "point-of-view" involved, to be sure, but the speaker can be "sympathetically" adopting that point-of-view. Oct 18, 2023 at 20:21
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    @KateBunting Notice that I say if one repeats what someone said, instead of reformulating, one might say one instead of the other. Is there anything at all unreasonable in my answer?? I would appreciate your taking a look and commenting. ell.stackexchange.com/questions/336980/… I got minus five! :)
    – Lambie
    Oct 18, 2023 at 21:22

1 Answer 1

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While it seems like a reasonable question, in fact a native speaker would very rarely say this:

He went running to the park

Why? Because there are alternatives which are much clearer:

  1. He went running.
  2. He went jogging, at the running track near the park.
  3. He went to the park.
  4. He went to the park, to have a run.
  5. He went to the park, to go jogging.
  6. He ran to the park.
  7. He suddenly jumped up, and ran to the park.

It's difficult to imagine a case for "He went running to the park" but you are correct that it sounds ambiguous when considering those two meanings of "go". It could be either of the choices you mentioned, so it's better to avoid such a confusion.

P.S.

"go + Ving". Do you mean "go + ing"? That is, "going".

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    He went running at the park, no. He went running in the park.
    – Lambie
    Oct 18, 2023 at 15:06
  • (Didn't have time to post more this morning.) I agree that 'he moved in a particular way' would be better expressed as He ran to the park. He could have gone to the park to join in an organised run there; He went running in/at the park. Oct 18, 2023 at 16:17

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