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This website says

used with a noun instead of using a verb to describe an action. For example, if you take a walk, you walk somewhere

So "to take a walk" & "to walk" can be used interchangeably right or should they be used in different situations?

Ok, here is a saying in Hannah Montana

Hannah said "I'm taking a walk on the beach."

Is there any subtle difference if she said "I'm walking on the beach."

  • You 'take a walk' for pleasure, such as on a beach. You 'walk' simply as a means of getting somewhere, without the pleasure aspect. – Roaring Fish Mar 22 '16 at 3:21
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One would use "to take a walk" to emphasize that one is walking for walking's sake, roughly speaking. For example, "I've got some free time, so I'm taking a walk on the beach."

One would use "to walk" in contexts where one is merely describing the physical action of walking. For example, "I'm walking home."

Now, Dictionary.com does give a second sense of "to walk" as "to move about or travel on foot for exercise or pleasure" (here). This second sense of "to walk" would be the first sense of "to take a walk", if the dictionary had an entry for it.

What this means is that "to take a walk" more strongly suggests that the walking is being done for exercise or pleasure than "to walk."

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  • Do you have any reference source? – Tom Mar 22 '16 at 2:38
  • @Tom, unfortunately no. It's just native speaker's intuition. If someone has a reference, feel free to edit my post to include it. – GoldenGremlin Mar 22 '16 at 2:39
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I would suggest that they have the same meaning but slightly different grammar.

the first - I'm talking a walk on the beach

In traditional grammar, there's a subject, verb, object and prepositional phrase. The verb would be analysed as present continuous, suggesting an action that is taking place at a point in a time, a description of what's happening now

In systemic functional grammar, this clause would be analysed as:

I - actor

am taking - material process (=action verb): present in present (same as above)

a walk - range (this term is used to identify the element that specifies the range,scope or domain of the process. It suggests that this element is not "so much an entity participating in the process as a refinement of the process itself. This may be the name of a particular variety of the process, which being a noun can then be modified for quantity and quality eg. have another long walk" Halliday & Matthiessen, Intro to functional grammar 3rd edition, pg 295)

on the beach - circumstance of place

the second - I'm walking on the beach

In traditional grammar, there's a subject, verb and prepositional phrase. The verb would be analysed as present continuous, suggesting an action that is taking place at a point in a time, a description of what's happening now

In systemic functional grammar, this clause would be analysed as:

I - actor

am taking - material process (=action verb): present in present (same as above)

on the beach - circumstance of place

As mentioned above, the use of the structure take a walk, allows the noun walk to be modified for quantity e.g. I'm taking another/my first walk on the beach or quality I'm taking a long/tiring/exhilarating walk

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