adding the word to


How do I know when to add the word to in a sentence,

we will be going to sleep.

I will be going to home.

asked Jan 08 '13 at 15:16 sury New member

2 answers


There's no rule about when "to" is included -- it's just a matter of learning all of the English language's idioms (which are inconsistent). Here are some of the big ones:


Using "to":

  • I'm going to sleep.
  • I'm going to school.
  • I'm going to work.
  • I'm going to the store (or the house, or the park, etc.)


Not using "to":

  • I'm going home.
  • I'm going outside.
  • I'm going inside.
  • I'm going shopping (or fishing, or dancing, etc.)
link comment answered Jan 08 '13 at 15:48 Actually Holly Expert

Um, there are actually some rules that, as difficult as they may be to learn, can help you decide. The choice is not (always) merely idiomatic.


verb + adverb


Home, outside, inside, downtown, and out, are all adverbs, and you don't use to with adverbs.


He went home.

She went outside.

Let's go inside.

I want to go downtown.

Do you want to go out?


verb + gerund


Shopping, swimming, dancing, etc. are all gerunds, and you don't use to with gerunds.


He went shopping.

She wants to go swimming tonight.

Let's go dancing.


verb + to + noun


When the verb is followed by a noun, you must use to.


He went to New York.

Let's go to the nightclub.

Why don't you like going to the gym?

I have to go to work now.




It would appear that going to sleep can only be explained as an idiom, and I am sure there are others, too.  Also idiomatic is the difference between going to the gym (which requires the definite article, the) and going to work (which does not use an article), above.


However, if you can master the three basic patterns above, you will be in pretty good grammatical shape.


I hope this helps.



link answered Jan 08 '13 at 22:35 Shawn Mooney Expert

Thanks for explaining this one, Shawn. I figured there probably was some general rule, but my answer would have mirrored Holly's. Some things just feel so natural, that I can't remember learning them. It is as if the rule was there because my mom said, "Because I said so!"

Patty TJan 09 '13 at 22:23

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