Why don't you go pay for them?

It's pretty common in USA to form this question in this form. However, I suspect that we need to or "and" between go and pay. Why one is correct and why?

Why don't you go pay for them?

vs .

Why don't you go to pay for them?


Why don't you go and pay for them?


There are plenty of constructions using go <verb> in English.

A few examples:

Go get it.
Go put on your shoes.
Go tell it on the mountain. 
Go ask for your money back.
Go [expletive deleted] yourself.

It's common enough in English that the and need not be added, and actually gives it an awkward feel if you do add it.

  • I disagree I find US conventions such as dropping the and to be awkward. still I guess it's each to their own. – Anonymous Type Nov 25 '10 at 5:54
  • 2
    Yes, this construction is specifically N.American – Colin Fine Nov 25 '10 at 11:43

As a BrE speaker, I would say 'go and' in all of the examples Robusto gives (expect possibly for the last one?!). To my ears, the use of 'go' followed by an verb without and/to sounds odd and I think that most BrE speakers would identify it as an 'Americanism'.

  • absolutely correct. I'm suprised Robusto's answer was accepted. Not that he isn't right (from a US point of view), it's just that for me the grammar is wrong, plus I disagree about it sounding unnatural. Then again I'm not a yank :) – Anonymous Type Nov 25 '10 at 6:00

This is an elliptical construction with to missing. It is widely understood that

Why don't you go pay for them?

means the following:

Why don't you go to pay for them?

Too often for my taste, people say

Why don't you go and pay for them?

Strictly speaking, this isn't what is literally meant, but people say it often enough that everyone knows that it means the same thing. Don't use it in formal English.

In summary, all three sentences mean the same thing to an English listener. The first sentence is just a shorter way to say the same thing as the second, and the last sentence is less formal but means the same thing.

  • 2
    Not sure why someone down-voted this perfectly reasonable answer. Up-ticking for the sake of fair play. – Robusto Nov 24 '10 at 20:10
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    @Robusto, I didn't downvote this answer, but I don't think the analysis as ellipsis of go to is correct. Go <verb> almost never means the same as go to <verb>. None of the examples you give in your answer, for example, would work with go to. – nohat Nov 24 '10 at 20:34
  • @nohat: No, they wouldn't. But I can imagine a situation where the infinitive form of the verb might be swapped in, at least for the sake of argument, and that is what I understood Joshua to be doing. And I'm not sure he's wrong about the to. One would certainly use the infinitive form with to like this: "He went to eat dinner." Though it sounds awkward and is not standard usage by any means, the meaning of "Go to eat dinner" is readily comprehended. – Robusto Nov 24 '10 at 20:51
  • @Robusto: There is a difference between non-standard and non-native. If no native speaker says "go to eat dinner" with that meaning, then it is difficult to make the argument that "go eat dinner" is a shortened form of that phrase. – Kosmonaut Nov 24 '10 at 21:36
  • @Kosmonaut: Point taken. – Robusto Nov 24 '10 at 22:47

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