Was just reading a thread concerning the verbs "go" and "come" among others. The sentence I'm using is "You can go play." Wondering how to diagram the "go." Initially I wanted to use "go play" as the intransitive verb but now I'm thinking there should really be an "and" between "go" and "play." Any thoughts on diagramming this sentence?


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As a Brit, I only learned diagramming as it was adopted by Noam Chomsky in Syntactic Structures. However, ‘go play’ in your is a kind of slang. It could be short for two propositions with slightly differing syntax.

  1. You can go [and you can] play
  2. You can go [in order to] play

Sentence 1. is essentially two imperative main clauses, of which the main verb is ‘can’, joined by the conjunction ‘and’. Sentence 2. expresses purpose, with a main clause in the imperative, followed by a subordinate clause with its subordinating conjunction left to be understood.

Whichever it may be, the children are certainly expected to do two things rather than one: to leave the room (or at least the vicinity of their carers, leaving them in peace) and then play.

But there is another related expression with ‘go’.

Go hang. Or Go take a running jump. Or there are other fruitier versions I need not mention and certainly would not attempt to diagram.

In this case nobody is being asked to go anywhere or do anything, other than shut up. It is probably best left as a form of slang expletive.

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