Ask the Editor
Jane Mairs, Director of English language Learning Publishing
"I go visit my mother" or "I go visiting my mother"?
Tuesday May 6th 2014
"I go visit my mother" or "I go visiting my mother"? — Serena, Brazil

Thank you for the interesting question!

When there is another verb immediately after the verb go, sometimes the correct form for the second verb is the gerund (“-ing form”), and other times the correct form is the infinitive. It depends on the verb.

For verbs that describe recreational activities, like shop, swim, and dance, use go + gerund (“-ing form”):

  • She goes shopping during her lunch hour.
  • We went swimming after work.
  • Do you wanna go dancing tonight?

For other verbs, including visit, use go + the infinitive:

  • I go to visit my mother on weekends.
  • We’ll go to see the accountant together.
  • They didn’t go to eat breakfast until noon.

As you’ve probably noticed, in the construction [go + infinitive], the “to” part of the infinitive can often be omitted. For example, most people would say:

  • I go visit my mother on weekends. (instead of “I go to visit…”)
  • We’ll go see the accountant together. (instead of “We’ll go to see…”)
  • They didn’t go eat breakfast until noon. (instead of “They didn’t go to eat…”)

However, if go appears in any other form, such as goes, went, or going, the “to” cannot be omitted:

  • He goes to visit his mother on weekends.
  • We went to see the account together.  
  • She is going to see the accountant by herself.


I hope this helps!