Is this sentence grammatically correct?
July 16, 2021 3:14 AM   Subscribe

Is this sentence grammatically correct, wrong, or somewhere in between: "I like to go ride my bike sometimes."

Of course, the better sentence is "I like to ride my bike sometimes." The construction "go" + "ride" makes it a double verb, and is awkward on the page, but it's a fairly commonly uttered construction, at least casually. But is it absolutely wrong? Or does it fall into "crappy grammar but more or less allowed"?
posted by zardoz to Education (49 answers total)
 
I would say that is is wrong. The more correct version would be "I like to go riding my bike sometimes." This is correct but does sounds awkward. Even better would be "I like to go bike riding sometimes." Replace "ride my bike" with "shopping" or picking berries" and it's easier to see.

But that said, if I heard someone say this it wouldn't stand out as an error.
posted by jraz at 3:26 AM on July 16, 2021


My grammatical judgement is telling me the sentence is grammatical and otherwise unobjectionable as it stands.

It could be made more emphatic by adding an 'and' thus: "I like to go and ride my bike sometimes."
posted by bertran at 3:36 AM on July 16, 2021 [11 favorites]


The combo of go + other verb reads as particularly American to me (as a British person).

"I like to ride my bike sometimes" is probably how I'd phrase this if I were aiming for simplicity, as that sounds neater to me than any version that includes "go" and a gerund - it gets the exact same concept across with fewer words overall.

So if you're aiming for tight prose I'd drop the "go", but if you're trying to write dialogue for an American speaker, I'd keep "go ride" in as a dialect marker (I don't know enough about US regional dialects to know if this usage is more or less likely for speakers from particular regions, though).
posted by terretu at 3:36 AM on July 16, 2021 [14 favorites]


Response by poster: Thanks for the answers, all. I ask because my son wrote this as an answer on an English test, and it was counted as wrong. I don't think it's good, but I question whether or not it's truly incorrect grammar.
posted by zardoz at 3:57 AM on July 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


The use of "go" is what sounds wrong to me. It's unnecessary, unless it is used to define where one rides a bike, as in "I like to go to the park and ride my bike."
posted by Thorzdad at 4:06 AM on July 16, 2021


This reads as standard to me (first-gen American, lifelong East Coast resident, read a lot of mid-century British books in my formative years), and "go ride" is distinct from just "ride."

"I like to go ride my bike sometimes" emphasizes the continuity/habitualness of bike-riding. (If anything, the "sometimes" part is a little funky there, but still parses for me.)

"I like to ride my bike sometimes" emphasizes the mechanics of bike-riding (as exercise, as a commute, etc).

"I like to go and ride my bike sometimes," though, sounds wrong. Maybe ok as an answer to a question such as "What makes you want to go to the park every Friday?" "I like to go and ride my bike sometimes." But still kind of weird.

(On seeing your update, I wonder if it's "wrong" in the same way that the habitual be often gets marked wrong on grammar tests.
posted by basalganglia at 4:08 AM on July 16, 2021 [8 favorites]


Growing up we used "ride my bike" and "go ride my bike" in equal frequency for distinctly different use cases. My brother and I got this from my parents who both hail from southern Indiana.

If I'm going to ride my bike, I'm just going out for some aimless activity. I'll pedal around the neighborhood for a bit, casual speeds, maybe stop by the park, come home.

But if I'm going to go ride my bike, I've got a purpose in mind. Maybe I'm headed toward the undeveloped part of the neighborhood to go do some bmx stunts off the dirt mounds. Or maybe I'm going to the school so I can race fast around the track. If you're off to go ride your bike, it's never an aimless casual ride.

I was a bookish indoors kind of child, so I almost never had plans to go ride my bike. That was left for my brother and his reckless friends, or my dad. Sometimes my dad would drive my brother and I over to the lake to go ride our bikes around the activity track there.

I distinctly remember arguments growing up with my parents trying to get me out of the house where this language mattered. Dad would say "Go ride your bike!" Meaning, of course, YOU go and get out of the house, ride your bike. And I would say "Go ride my bike WHERE? What am I supposed to do??" And he would say, "Get some exercise, leave the house, ride your bike around." Because if you paired go with go ride, it always implied intent.

I don't believe we ever collectively discussed this syntax, but like I said my mom did use it and she was an elementary school language arts teacher for like 40 years so.
posted by phunniemee at 4:21 AM on July 16, 2021 [8 favorites]


It's an interesting question. I can't put my finger on it, but it feels like the use of "like to" with "go+verb" might be causing a problem. "Why don't you go ride your new bike in the park" is fine. (You wouldn't say "go riding".) "Are you going to go ride your bike in the park today?" is fine. "Do you like to go ride your bike in the park" is definitely wrong.
posted by Umami Dearest at 4:26 AM on July 16, 2021


British English speaker here:

"to go [verb]" reads as American;
"to go and [verb]" is idiomatic to me, but it feels a bit colloquial; I might shy away from using it in formal writing (or a grammar test!);
and the specific sentence "I like to go [and] ride my bike sometimes" reads as oddly stilted to me, the sort of thing Duolingo might present you with. To me, the natural sentence would be "I like riding my bike sometimes".
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:31 AM on July 16, 2021 [2 favorites]


This sounds entirely unobjectionable to me, albeit informal. I don’t know what all the words are officially doing grammatically but “to go ride” is its own perfectly valid construction to me (middle aged adult from northeast us).
posted by mskyle at 4:41 AM on July 16, 2021


I (American) am pretty pedantic when it comes to grammar and this sounds perfectly fine to me. If I were writing an academic essay I might rewrite it to be less informal but this sentence would never occur in an academic essay anyway.
posted by dfan at 5:07 AM on July 16, 2021 [5 favorites]


Best answer: In spoken US English, unambiguously standard. In written English, definitely on the colloquial side. "In December, the Japanese fleet left port to go attack Pearl Harbor." Doesn't sound quite right, does it?

So for an English test in school....well it depends what they're trying to teach. I think you can say, "the goal of English class is teaching English usage for formal written work, since you're good enough at speaking from the rest of your life" and mark it down on that account. It would feel unfair as a student but it teaches you that the English you write in English class is different from the English you speak which is kind of the point
posted by goingonit at 5:08 AM on July 16, 2021 [15 favorites]


Best answer: Meta-point: There's no fixed standard of grammar, and even the most uptight and pedantic of professional editors can disagree with each other about what's "good" to write or say. (And I am an editor, so I should know.)

Written standards of grammar — style guides, textbooks, etc — disagree about the details too, and leave a lot of room for interpretation. A lot of this stuff inevitably comes down to personal taste and opinion.

That sucks, but it's just kind of how it goes. Sorry your son got caught in the middle.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:25 AM on July 16, 2021 [6 favorites]


Best answer: According to the Oxford Learners Dictionary this is designated specifically as spoken English: In spoken English go can be used with and plus another verb to show purpose or to tell somebody what to do: I'll go and answer the door. • Go and get me a drink! The and is sometimes left out, especially in North American English: Go ask your mom!

The sentence in question clearly uses "go ride" as a meaningful phrase conveying a specific activity. There is a subtle distinction being made. He could say "I like to ride my bike sometimes" but it would not express the same subtle feeling of intent and intensified action. I personally think "go ride" is a charming phrase that economically carries in the sense of intent.

Written language is constantly changing to absorb evolving spoken norms, so your son, even though he got his test marked down, is on the vanguard. And I suspect that no one will be distinguishing grammar as "spoken" vs "written" on by the time he's an adult.
posted by nantucket at 5:30 AM on July 16, 2021 [14 favorites]


Bah. Tell the teacher to explain precisely what is ungrammatical. Or show them this thread. I think they just fired the red pen from the hip and hit some innocent bystanders.

Another vote for perfectly grammatical but slightly awkward.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:39 AM on July 16, 2021 [4 favorites]


Best answer: There is nothing ungrammatical about this. Your bio says you're living in Tokyo, so I'm assuming this was an English test in a Japanese school and they expected something a little more textbook. I would say that for the purposes of a test, if they had learned it a certain way in class, then the "correct" answer is unambiguously the one that the grading rubric expects.

However! Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage informs us that "to go + bare infinitive" was the normal construction until about the 17th century, and still "survives as a normal construction in American English," while noting that "to go and + (to) infinitive" is the standard in British English, and usages of the to go + bare infinitive the British English are mostly conscious Americanisms. Still, "to go and + infinitive" is described as "standard in all varieties of English."

So do with that what you will. There's almost certainly no point in bringing it up to the teacher, but at the very least this is understood as "normal" American English in at least on authoritative source on the English language. If it was good enough for freaking Shakespeare, it's good enough for your kid to use without worry.
posted by wakannai at 5:48 AM on July 16, 2021 [10 favorites]


Professional copy editor here. I believe what is being referenced is that "go" in the infinitive should be followed by a gerund, so it should be "I like to go riding my bike sometimes." You can read more about that here.

However, this is very obscure and something I wasn't aware of until I was doing graduate work in grammar. More recently, I've gone through numerous books on grammar trying to figure out the rules with gerunds, and I'm still struggling to find anything hard and fast about it. I would suggest your son ask the teacher to make sure. (And if the teacher can cite any grammar guide that covers this, please get back to me. It's been driving me crazy.)
posted by FencingGal at 5:48 AM on July 16, 2021 [2 favorites]


Best answer: Your bio says you're living in Tokyo.

This makes way more sense to me if the teacher is a non-native speaker. Non-native speakers can be very knowledgable about rules that don't really reflect current usage and that native speakers don't give any thought to at all.
posted by FencingGal at 5:51 AM on July 16, 2021 [10 favorites]


Oh, yeah, the English-as-a-foreign-language aspect changes it a bit. In particular, if your son is prepping for an English mastery test at some point — even if he speaks English at home or whatever — then ignore us, ignore your gut, and listen to the teacher, who is the expert on how to pass this particular test with its particular weird expectations.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:56 AM on July 16, 2021 [4 favorites]


I think technically, it is not 100% grammatically correct - I think the 100% grammatically correct way to state it would have been "to go bike riding" (kind of like how you say "to go skiing" or "to go fishing").

However, "to go ride my bike" is absolutely an informal common usage. So I think this is a letter-of-the-law situation, and since your son is prepping for a test, I think sticking to the letter-of-the-law is wisest.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:09 AM on July 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


Former professional copyeditor, U.S. midwest. Agree with others saying this is perfectly OK, and agree with asking the teacher to explain what grammatical rule is being broken.
posted by shadygrove at 6:26 AM on July 16, 2021 [4 favorites]


Collins online dictionary shows this as correct. (See #4 on that page.) They don't even label it "informal" the way they do for some other uses of "go." Some other sources indicate it's normal in American English but not British English. So it may depend which English is being taught at your kid's school.
posted by Redstart at 6:29 AM on July 16, 2021 [4 favorites]


This sounds totally fine to me! I grew up in California. “Go ride my bike” emphasizes making am outing of it, going somewhere that’s not home.

The structure “go [infitinitive verb] shows up in lots of contexts.

I like to go see movies.
I like to go climb rocks out in the desert.
I like to go drink Slurpees at 7-11.

What those all have in common is that they involve going to a different place. If you said “I like to go listen to music” that’s fine, but it implies you’re going to listen somewhere in particular, somewhere outside your home.
posted by mekily at 6:49 AM on July 16, 2021 [5 favorites]


This sounds totally fine to me! I grew up in California. “Go ride my bike” emphasizes making am outing of it, going somewhere that’s not home.

I grew up in Texas, and this is exactly how I think about it, too. "I like to ride my bike sometimes" means you just like the act of riding the bike, with no particular location in implied. If you said "I like to go and ride my bike sometimes" I would assume you meant at a park or a designated bike trail or something like that.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:14 AM on July 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


Extremely common in spoken American English. "I'm going to go walk the dog." "I'll go get the groceries tomorrow." "Can you go find me that book?"

A touch informal for the most formal written American English, but I'm not sure it would even ping me.

It's not surprising that a teacher focused on some formal rule system would mark it wrong, though. Hypercorrect would be to use the full infinitive following the verb ("going to go to ride my bike"), to use a gerund ("going to go riding my bike"), or to use a conjunction ("going to go and ride my bike"), depending on intended emphasis. The bare infinitive got deprecated at some point, though it would be natural in an early modern text. Looking at the first example (and "going to [x]" is a very common way of forming the future), you can see why that mouthful got simplified! American English is very sensitive to repeating words.
posted by praemunire at 7:23 AM on July 16, 2021 [2 favorites]


I think you can go show the teacher this thread, have your kid go underline similar constructions in books, and the teacher can go- never mind.

But seriously, I agree with nantucket's analysis above. It's a valid construction, and shouldn't have been marked down.
posted by papayaninja at 7:58 AM on July 16, 2021 [2 favorites]


"I'm going to go walk the dog."

Yes, that's fine. But you would never say "I like to go walk the dog," which is what we're talking about.
posted by Umami Dearest at 8:04 AM on July 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of the construction “go tell” as in the well known phrases “go tell it on the mountain” and “go tell the Spartans”. (Also as implied above, “go fuck yourself”.) Those are slightly different as they are imperatives but the usage seems the same to me — there’s no comma, there’s simply an implied “and” that’s being elided, same as here.
posted by phoenixy at 8:08 AM on July 16, 2021


Please ask the teacher for an explanation before you decide. There is a reason the teacher marked it wrong. If they did in fact make a mistake, a polite inquiry will still get it fixed without ruining their day. If they didn't make a mistake, they can point you to the section of the textbook/notes/study guide that addresses the grammar rule being tested. I suspect this is "grammatically incorrect but acceptable in informal conversation".
posted by rakaidan at 8:12 AM on July 16, 2021 [2 favorites]


I think you can go show the teacher this thread

I'm hoping this is a joke, but seriously, do not show a professional random internet people's thoughts on grammar. It is a good way to make this teacher profoundly annoyed with you. As usual with MetaFilter grammar threads, it's a mix of people who know what they're talking about and people who don't, but have strong opinions nonetheless. And a bunch of people saying "this sounds ok to me" proves exactly nothing. This teacher is invoking a specific rule regardless of whether MeFites have heard of it. And if the answer is pertinent to a test in Japan we know nothing about, then we especially should stay out of it.
posted by FencingGal at 8:42 AM on July 16, 2021 [10 favorites]


The issue is that the verb following "go" needs to be a gerund. Presumably they were taught this rule in class and the question on the test was testing that knowledge. Whether or not the people of Metafilter actually speak that way isn't really the point. There are loads of grammatical rules that you learn when studying English that aren't consistently practiced by native English speakers.
posted by Polychrome at 8:45 AM on July 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


I think it's incorrect as it stands, but I can see where it came from.

"Go ride your bike and stop pestering your sister."

"I like to go [out and] ride my bike."

And so on...
posted by slkinsey at 8:52 AM on July 16, 2021


"I'm going to go walk the dog."

Yes, that's fine. But you would never say "I like to go walk the dog," which is what we're talking about.


With context it seems unremarkable to me.

"What do you like to do when you're feeling cooped up at home?"
"I like to go walk the dog."
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:55 AM on July 16, 2021 [10 favorites]


Best answer: If this is in the context of learning English in Japan, then this specific construction, which this thread persuasively argues is more or less fine in spoken American English, still may not be the best answer on a test.

Depending on what level of schooling your son is in, this construction could be too advanced, too informal, or simply does not demonstrate the grammatical point that is being tested. It also resembles mistakes that I have seen middle school age Japanese kids make -- accidentally correct, or correct in my eyes, but most likely an accident (depending on what I know about the student) and (maybe most importantly) not the answer the teacher was looking for.

I mean, you can see how people who do speak English as a first or near first language are carrying on and on about how it's used, the right way to use it, oh I would NEVER use it this way, doesn't this sound weird to you, no it sounds OK -- this is almost certainly not a grammatical construction being taught in the lesson. This is Way Too Much for a test answer and very likely not the grammar the teacher wants to see demonstrated, so it's marked wrong.
posted by automatic cabinet at 8:59 AM on July 16, 2021 [7 favorites]


Seems to me that the teacher was likely testing the use of go plus a gerund to indicate occasional participation in specific hobbies or activities. The correct answer was likely "I like to go bike riding..." Did your son try to capture this thought with the use of "sometimes" perhaps?
posted by ASlackerPestersMums at 9:37 AM on July 16, 2021


So I was going to say this isn't really ungrammatical, but sounds perhaps informal. Someone above said "OK in spoken, colloquial when written" which sounds right to me.

In the context of a school exercise though? That's one place where I think it might be worth correcting, or at least accepting the correction. It's worth knowing that it's going to read less correctly than the same sentence without the "go" or with the gerund.
posted by mark k at 10:01 AM on July 16, 2021


As usual with MetaFilter grammar threads, it's a mix of people who know what they're talking about and people who don't, but have strong opinions nonetheless. And a bunch of people saying "this sounds ok to me" proves exactly nothing.

With natural language, I don’t think there is a rubric that’s better than “what native speakers of the language do.” Of course there’s disagreement here among them, just as individual exemplars of a bird don’t necessarily look exactly like whatever you saw in your Sibley guide. That’s nature for you.

Of course all the people telling the OP that what really matters here is what their kid’s teacher thinks are also right in a way. I imagined on first read that the goal here was to understand the language, but understanding what the teacher wants is also a valid goal (although in that case, an actually wrong thing that is taught by a non-native speaker can sometimes be what maximizes your outcome; the prescriptivists don’t have the better argument here for either situation, IMO).
posted by eirias at 10:08 AM on July 16, 2021 [3 favorites]


you would never say "I like to go walk the dog," which is what we're talking about.

"I like to go get my groceries from the farmer's market at the end of the day, when they're on sale."
posted by praemunire at 10:15 AM on July 16, 2021


“Let’s go fly a kite.”
posted by aspersioncast at 10:40 AM on July 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Raised in the northeast, live in the southeast: it sounds casual/colloquial at best, awkward at worst, and the teacher is, ostensibly, teaching proper (more formal) language skills.

I was taught that, absent a rule to which you can point, "test" grammar/syntax by stripping everything non-essential out of the sentence to hear how it sounds.

From: "I like to go ride my bike sometimes."
Try: "I go ride."

Well, no. That sounds awful. (One goes ridING.) It sounds like the person is either ill-taught, doesn't speak the language, or is trying to convey something to another person who doesn't speak the language. If the noun-verb combination doesn't make sense on its own with the adverb "sometimes," then it doesn't work.

Does "like to" make it make more sense or less?

From: "I like to go ride my bike sometimes."
Try: "I like to go ride."

That is wrong, but sounds less wrong because it's more obviously some sort of casual construction. The person doesn't sound like they don't know English, just that they're speaking very casually...as a kid would. The focus is on the GOING AWAY to do the thing, not the thing itself.

Let's try adding a word:

From: "I like to go ride my bike sometimes."
Try: "I just like to go ride my bike sometimes."

Aha. See how this becomes less uncomfortable? It's still a bit awkward and casual for classroom writing, but the meaning of the sentence clearly changes from talking about riding a bike to talking about what the person prefers. The adverb "just" makes it more palatable. I just like candy. I just like to go dancing. (You wouldn't say "I like to go dance sometimes.")
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 10:42 AM on July 16, 2021


I actually think the 'sometimes' is in the wrong place.

Sometimes, I like to go ride my bike. Or, Sometimes, I like to ride my bike.
posted by AugustWest at 10:48 AM on July 16, 2021


Sometimes, I like to go see what's on sale at the thrift shop.

I was taught that, absent a rule to which you can point, "test" grammar/syntax by stripping everything non-essential out of the sentence to hear how it sounds.

From: "I like to go ride my bike sometimes."
Try: "I go ride."


These aren't equivalent constructions ("like to" is not non-essential), no wonder it doesn't sound right to you.
posted by praemunire at 10:56 AM on July 16, 2021 [3 favorites]


"This teacher is invoking a specific rule regardless of whether MeFites have heard of it."

What rule is that exactly? The "rule" you posted upthread is really just a demonstration of one way to use language. "It is very common to use a gerund after the verb 'go'." Great! It's also very common to paint a house blue or to write songs in 4/4 time, but that doesn't mean those are rules that must be followed. If the lesson is "The HOA says all houses must be painted blue. What color should Sam paint their house?" or "Sam wants to write a song in the most popular meter in western music, what time signature should they use?" then, sure, there is a correct answer. Likewise, the answer to OP's question relies on the specific question being asked of their child. That doesn't make it a rule.

And, yes, the first part of my earlier comment was a joke.
posted by papayaninja at 10:57 AM on July 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


You have so many good answers here already, but I'll just chime in by saying I'm a professional copy editor and I think it's just fine.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:10 AM on July 16, 2021 [2 favorites]


Best answer: TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) instructor here. The short answer is, this isn't technically wrong, but I can see why the instructor marked it as such.

Let's start with the grammar:

Verbs such as like, hate, and love are often followed by infinatives (to+verb). Here's some examples:
I like to cook.
I hate to do homework.
I love to explain grammar.

Generally, these sentences follow this pattern:
Subject+ specific verb that can be followed by an infinitive+ infinitive
So, if we were good little prescriptivists, we would say "I like to go ride my bike sometimes." is wrong. If the instructor was specifically targeting this construction, I understand why they would mark it wrong. However, if I was grading this, I would provide an explanation that of how this is phrase is used colloquially in informal North American English and probably not mark it wrong unless I was specifically targeting this construction.
The problem that I think your son's teacher was trying to curb is that often allowing an error like this can lead to a sort of "feature creep" with verbs. A person learning English as another language would not have the "native speaker intuition" to know that this is an acceptable colloquial phrase, instead they over apply the rule and you get things like this:
I go to shopping.
I go to speak to the teacher.
I go to work now.
I love to go speak English.


I teach adults in the US, so a lot of my students pick up and use colloquial and informal phrases. Slang and informal phrases aren't incorrect, but the learners I work with need to be able to make informed choices of when its appropriate to use them. What I would tell a student who used a phrase like, "I like to go ride my bike sometimes." is that that's a perfectly fine phrase to use when speaking. However, if you are writing an academic essay or professional cover letter, you would phrase it as "I like to ride my bike sometimes."
Finally, I'll just add that as an instructor, I always make sure I can explain why something is wrong before I mark it that way. Your son's instructor should be able to tell you why they marked it the way they did. You or your son should feel free to ask them to explain their grading.
posted by firemonkey at 12:19 PM on July 16, 2021 [11 favorites]


To me, "I like to go ride my bike sometimes." is different from "I like to ride my bike sometimes." because the former implies, to me, that the subject likes to go ride their bike for the sake of riding their bike sometimes. The latter, on the other hand, does not have that implication. It could easily just be that sometimes their preferred mode of transportation is a bike.

"I like bike riding sometimes." is similar to the former, but still somewhat different. It could be read to imply that sometimes they don't like bike riding.
posted by Tabitha Someday at 2:51 PM on July 16, 2021 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Wow, this blew up, in a good way! Thanks for all the input, folks. And yes, I am in Tokyo and my son attends a Japanese public junior high school. He's taking English class and, being bilingual, aces it and can run laps around the teacher. The test was answering a question, something like “What do you want to do this week?” The irony is that his spoken English is native-level, so he wrote his colloquial, casual spoken English answer and got dinged for it.

This quote stood out for me:

This makes way more sense to me if the teacher is a non-native speaker. Non-native speakers can be very knowledgable about rules that don't really reflect current usage and that native speakers don't give any thought to at all.

I can’t stress this enough. I briefly worked as a teacher in a Japanese jr/sr high and the native Japanese English teachers were constantly peppering me with grammar questions, and wanted a thumbs up or thumbs down: is this correct? More often than not my answer would be exactly this kind of situation, in which the sentence may be “officially” ungrammatical but it’s a “mistake” that most native English speakers do regularly. And the Japanese teachers were not satisfied with this grey area I was putting them in; they wanted clean lines of correct or incorrect.

This thread has been educational, thanks!
posted by zardoz at 7:04 PM on July 16, 2021 [3 favorites]


This is definitely a regional thing. I'm in New Zealand and the sentence sounds extremely jarring to me. I would never say "I will go ...." without an 'and' in between. I am a writing teacher and also have a PhD in English Literature (I'm not trying to say that this means I'm 'right', but to give context) and would definitely mark it wrong, not because it's necessarily grammatically incorrect but because it's informal and not accepted where I am. If one of my students wrote this way in their essays I would correct it.

I agree with others that this isn't about being grammatically right or wrong (yes, grammar changes over time etc.) but about teaching what is generally accepted in formal written work.
posted by thereader at 1:18 PM on July 17, 2021 [1 favorite]


I believe the problem is not "go ride", which sounds natural to me, but the fact that you're splitting an infinitive.

Keep in mind that I am neither teacher, linguist, nor other expert on the subject.

I'm going to spare you a lecture and suggest a quick Google search will tell you all you want to know, possibly far more, about splitting infinitives and that Wikipedia in particular considers this rule obsolescent at best. Still, it's probably something you should avoid in formal writing and in English classes.

"to ride" is correct, "to go ride" splits the infinitive and the teacher really should have noted what the problem is. "That's wrong but I refuse to tell you why" is no way to teach. I mean, just look at the length of this thread of bright, erudite people trying to second-guess the teacher. And that's assuming that I'm correct; I'm pretty sure I am, but I've been confidently wrong before, and even if I'm correct that it's a grammatical error, it may not be what the teacher was referring to.

Anyway, that's my take on this. Split infinitive.

[edit] Right, so of COURSE I didn't read ALL the other answers before posting this, one of which already said the same thing. *sigh* Always late to the party. I'll leave it up anyway, I think it's the answer.
posted by jjnonken at 3:51 PM on July 18, 2021


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