In English grammar, there are some confusing rules that cause students from all class levels and lots of different countries to make the same mistake. The following example is very helpful to know, because you probably hear or need to say it in sentences many times a week.
Pretend you are in your conversation class on a Friday, and your teacher is asking everyone what they are going to do over the weekend. You might hear some answers like these:
“I’m going to the beach.”
“I’m going to Las Vegas!”
“I’m going to the mall with my friends.”
“I’m going to home.”
These are all things that students in Los Angeles may do on the weekend, but which sentence is the one with a grammar problem, and why?
If you guessed that “I’m going to home” is the incorrect sentence, you’re right. Here’s the reason: It’s true that we use the form going+to when the next word is a noun of place like beach, Las Vegas, or mall. The word home is also a noun, but it is part of a special group of nouns that are also adverbs of place. When you are using an adverb of place, you do not need to use to.
It can be difficult to figure out which words fit into this category, so here are some of the most common examples:
When you make a sentence with the words above, do not use to after going. For example, the correct sentence is “I’m going downtown,” not “
I’m going to downtown.”
Another time that we do not use going+to is when we are talking about an activity+ing. For example, if you plan to shop with your friends this weekend, you should say, “I’m going shopping,” not “
I’m going to shopping.” Not all activities follow the going+activity+ing rule, but some common examples are:
So, the next time that you are discussing your exciting weekend plans, remember to follow these rules. If you do, you will impress your teachers and friends with your great English skills!