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In one of my favourite movies Good Will Hunting, the main character played by Matt Damon says

I had to go see about a girl.

Is this sentence correct, and if so does it mean the same as the following?

I had to go see a girl.

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2  
+1 Simply because it's a quote from Good Will Hunting, hah. :) – Noldorin Jan 15 '11 at 21:00
5  
I guess the phrase is also meant to invoke the phrase “I have to go see a man about a dog”. – ShreevatsaR Mar 14 '11 at 9:12
1  
+1 Simply because you bumped it, and I know how it feels. :D – Daniel Sep 27 '11 at 0:22
up vote 15 down vote accepted

Since "see about" can be used as a verb phrase, the grammar is in fact correct. I can however see why you feel this phrase is unnatural - it's certainly not commonly used.

The following definition (in particular part b) should give you the right understanding.

see about,
a. to investigate; inquire about.
b. to turn one's attention to; take care of: He said he would see about getting the license plates.

In other words, quote could be rewritten more formally as:

I must turn my attention to a [certain] girl.

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4  
+1 good explanation. Note that (out of context) it doesn't necessarily imply that he would be seeing the girl herself (though he may be) - but could mean, for example, that he is making some preparations or doing a favour for her. – psmears Jan 15 '11 at 21:02
1  
@psmears: That's very true. With the context of the film added, it becomes quite obvious however. – Noldorin Jan 15 '11 at 21:16

protected by Will Hunting Sep 17 '12 at 11:09

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