Leave or go to leave

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nagomi

Senior Member
Korean
"VEDANTAM: Detective Porritt began talking with the transit security. Alison was looking through the glass at the commuters milling about the station.
YOUNG: I just glanced up and through the crowd I just saw him.
YOUNG: I saw him walk in, pick up a newspaper and leave or go to leave."

What's the differece between "go to leave" and just "leave"?

How would one tell if someone is leaving or going to leave (if this is what it means)?


source: Losing Face
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Young clearly didn't see him actually leave, otherwise they would not have spoken like this. The speaker thinks he left, but isn't sure, so adds going to leave - he looked as if he was about to leave.

    If someone "goes to leave" then they do the things you might expect of someone who actually will leave. Not necessarily everything; merely standing up might be interpreted as going to leave, without the person then putting on their coat and hat. In the situation you describe, I can imagine the person paying for the newspaper and then turning away from the person selling newspapers.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Maybe Young says "leave" and then decides to be more specific by adding the words "or go to leave" because the crowd of people made it impossible for him to see whether the man with the newspaper did actually leave.

    [Cross-posted]
     

    nagomi

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Young clearly didn't see him actually leave, otherwise they would not have spoken like this. The speaker thinks he left, but isn't sure, so adds going to leave - he looked as if he was about to leave.

    If someone "goes to leave" then they do the things you might expect of someone who actually will leave. Not necessarily everything; merely standing up might be interpreted as going to leave, without the person then putting on their coat and hat. In the situation you describe, I can imagine the person paying for the newspaper and then turning away from the person selling newspapers.
    So, "go to" part come sfrom "he is going to", not a set-expression as with "go to leave" (this would become then: he is going to go to leave)?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    So, "go to" part come sfrom "he is going to", not a set-expression as with "go to leave" (this would become then: he is going to go to leave)?
    Yes, I suppose so. You can certainly use "go to" with other verbs, and in a variety of tenses. "Just as Peter went to kick the ball, he slipped", for example. "Go to" means to make preparatory moves in readiness to do something.
     
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