The construction GO + V + ING is among one of the first things a learner is taught. Take for instance the verb swim, very often English expresses the activity in the present simple like this:
I go swimming twice a week
This construction is used with any ‘outdoorsy’ or sport activity that employs a verb, such as:
He goes skiing whenever he can
She goes dancing with her friends.
We go walking every day
They go surfing at/on weekends.
The verb GO is inflected to express different tenses such as
He didn't go swimming.
She's going fishing in the morning.
We went bowling last night.
He'd gone hunting before.
They've just gone rock climbing.
Shopping and drinking seem to break the mould, they are neither sports nor games, but you can think of them as being “outdoor” or pastime activities. You can go drinking with your mates, and while many Italians believe lo shopping is only the activity that young girls do in boutiques; people also go shopping for food etc. And nowadays, we go shopping online.
They've gone shopping.
Let's go drinking.
But GO + V + ING for the following activities is “ungrammatical” or dubious at best:
- *I go playing tennis regularly. (maybe this one's OKish)
- *You go working twice a week.
- ?Let's go criketing/baseballing/basketballing (etc.)
- *He goes cleaning his car at/on the weekend.
- ?She goes painting outdoors every Sunday.
- *You go washing up after dinner.
- *Let's go eating out.
- *Let's go seeing a movie.
- What is the origin of GO + V + ING? When was this construction first noted?
- Is this construction becoming increasingly flexible in English speaking countries?
- Are the expressions go shopping and go drinking considered isolated/unique cases? I am particularly interested in hearing about activities that are unrelated to sports/games/outdoors but use GO + V + ING.
For example, @pazzo's suggestions: gamble and window shop.