1

I just had a linguistics test (it's called UKLO) that measures you're ability to problem solve and translate languages you know nothing about.

For one of my translation answers I wrote 'Don't go and sleep!'. Is this incorrect, or just a dialectal (Northern English) way of speaking. Should it be 'Don't go to sleep!'. I usually replace 'to' with 'and' in verb constructions like this, for example: 'I'm gonna go and leave now.' instead of 'I'm going to leave now.'

Thanks,

Sam

1
  • It wasn't "go asleep"? This could sound like "go and sleep" and would be more usual.
    – Vérace
    Feb 1, 2016 at 17:59

3 Answers 3

2

"Go and X" is an idiom (which some people object to, saying it should be "go to X"). This can be used with many different verbs, but not normally with "sleep" (but see below).

Separately, "go to sleep" is a very common idiom meaning "fall asleep"; and as is commonly the case with idioms the words can't be substituted by synonyms or equivalent structures: neither "go and sleep" or "go to slumber" works.

There are contexts where you can say "go and sleep", where the "go" has independent meaning: "You can go and sleep in the spare room"; but that has a different meaning from "You can go to sleep in the spare room".

1
  • Agreed. While in common usage, "go and sleep" is going to have the same effect as "go to sleep" (hence the idiomatic meaning of the former being the latter), "go and sleep" is asking the recipient of the command to do two actions, while "go to sleep" is asking them to do one. A hypothetical situation where the distinction might occur is if you're at someone's apartment, and you are curious as to whether you can sleep there for the night. You might ask "should I stay and sleep, or should I go and sleep?", the former denoting that you may sleep at the friend's apartment, the latter the opposite. May 1, 2016 at 23:01
0

The easy answer is that your answer is incorrect to my aged and experienced ear. Replacing "to" with "and" doesn't usually sound right.

Your question goes on to raise the possibility that the expression exists in some regional or social dialect, and I have to agree that it's a reasonable notion. I'm not comfortable with blessing dialect as acceptable standard English, however, at least not in front of this board's vast and diverse community.

Any competent English speaker will recognize the meaning of "go and sleep," and many may use the phrase. I would classify the usage as informal or uninformed, though, and suggest that it will sound slightly strange to someone accustomed to hearing and speaking the dialect of reasonably educated North Americans.

2
  • 1
    I'm confused by some of your wording. 'uninformed'? My native tongue is English, and I grew up speaking English (albeit dialectal), so I don't think that it's right to say that my use of language is uninformed. If that was the way I was brought up speaking it is hardly fair to say that it is 'uninformed'. Also, 'reasonably educated'? Are you judging my level of education off of the way I speak//
    – user158388
    Feb 1, 2016 at 19:16
  • *way I speak/use English?
    – user158388
    Feb 1, 2016 at 19:16
0

Go to sleep -> It means I am in bed now (already started the same work) and someone is asking me to sleep( take a good night rest)

Go and sleep -> I am doing some work and someone is asking me to stop that work and get some sleep

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.