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My teacher said "I am going to have a walk" today in class and to me it seems incorrect. Correct variants that I know are:

  • Going for a walk
  • Going to take a walk
  • Going to walk
  • ...

Is this correct? If so, why?

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You could say "I am going to have a walk" and although it seems a bit clunky to me it is quite understandable.

Going for a walk and going to take a walk would both work well, the first is maybe more British English the latter more US English but they are the most common ways one would use that phrase.

"Going to walk" is not a statement in itself, it needs a destination - "I'm going to walk to the shops" would be fine but if you had no destination in mind or you didn't want to say what your destination was you would just say "I'm going for a walk."

  • "Going to walk" sounds correct, as "walk" is a verb in that context, isn't it? – Corey Dec 1 '10 at 3:38
  • @Corey: "I'm going to walk" is a bit awkward, and it definitely feels incomplete: typically walk without a destination implies giving up or walking out on something. "Are you going to accept the contract? No, I'm going to walk." – Jon Purdy Dec 1 '10 at 8:14
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    It could be used in a context such as: "are you going to drive to the shops?"; "no, I'm going to walk" - though obviously not if you live in LA :-) – Steve Melnikoff Dec 1 '10 at 10:04
  • @Steve Melnikoff's example is good but the destination is still being provided by the other person in the dialogue, so although the person speaking is only saying "I'm going to walk" the overall semantic construct is still "I'm going to walk to the shops." – glenatron Dec 1 '10 at 10:59
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There is nothing wrong with this construction. It sounds more British than American, for some reason, but if you can have a fight, or have a bath, or have a go at something, why can't you have a walk?

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    In theory yes, but in practise, I agree with glenatron that it somehow sounds a bit odd. – Steve Melnikoff Nov 30 '10 at 23:37
  • You can, but you don't. Don't expect to find perfect logic in describing language. – Colin Fine Dec 1 '10 at 12:12
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It's fine. I agree that it sounds more British than American. Americans tend to prefer "take" in expressions such as "take a shower," while British English will also use "have." See this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv343.shtml

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Here’s why it sounds weird for me to hear “have a walk”:

This graph is a search in the corpus of contemporary American English for _v* a walk where _v* matches verbs and everything is grouped by lemma. I cut the rest of the graph off, but it wasn’t really relevant because everything is less frequent and the words aren’t synonymous with “take a walk”.

As for the expressions that do show up: “be a walk” doesn’t return relevant results (eg “be a walk in the park”), “draw a walk” is sports (baseball?) and the other categories should be pretty obvious in meaning.


Here is that same search in the British national corpus:

As you can see “take a walk” is still the most popular, but “have a walk” is also popular, so that’s why it sounds natural to British people to “have a walk”.

  • I'd be curious to know if any of those BrEng citations are quoting Lou Reed's iconic song [take a] walk on the wild side – Mari-Lou A Jan 2 at 12:00
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    @Mari-LouA Looks like 4 in BNC and 25 in COCA. Neither is enough to upset the results. – Laurel Jan 2 at 16:31

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