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Preposition: I went <hiking to, fishing at, cycling around> the lake.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Akasaka, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. Akasaka Senior Member

    Japanese
    Hello everyone,

    I need your advice on prepositions.
    Is there an error in the following sentences?

    #1 I went hiking to the lake.
    #2 I went cycling around the lake.
    #3 I went fishing at the lake.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. swyves

    swyves Senior Member

    UK English, Living in Peru
    All seem correct to me. :)
     
  3. Akasaka Senior Member

    Japanese
    Really? For example, for #3 "I went fishing in the lake." is better, isn't it? I'm not sure whether at or in is correct.
     
  4. Hockey13

    Hockey13 Senior Member

    Los Angeles, California
    AmEnglish/German
    #1 seems a bit odd to me. If I wanted to say that I went hiking to the lake, I would say:

    I hiked to the lake.

    However, I would say:

    I went hiking at the lake.
     
  5. Hockey13

    Hockey13 Senior Member

    Los Angeles, California
    AmEnglish/German
    If you went fishing in the lake, you'd come out wetter.
     
  6. Akasaka Senior Member

    Japanese
    Thanks again. Does this mean you went hiking all the way to the lake or you went to the lake by bus or something and then you hiked around the lake? If I want to say the latter, had I better say "I went hiking near the lake?"
     
  7. swyves

    swyves Senior Member

    UK English, Living in Peru
    I actually wrote out a few long answers before posting a short one. I thought:

    #1, yes if the purpose of your outing was to go for a hike, and you happened to choose the lake as a destination
    #3 (perhaps BE?) seemed good, but I'd use "on the lake" if you were not fishing from the shore. I think "in the lake" sounds OK to me.
     
  8. Akasaka Senior Member

    Japanese
    Thank you very much. What if the lake is not a destination but just a place. I mean when I'm staying in a hotel on the lake, and went on a hike.
     
  9. Akasaka Senior Member

    Japanese
    One more question. Can I say, "I went to the lake for a swim." instead of "I went swimming in the lake."?
     
  10. Hockey13

    Hockey13 Senior Member

    Los Angeles, California
    AmEnglish/German
    I went swimming in the lake talks about the specific action of swimming. You could be next to the lake and say "I went swimming in the lake just now."

    "I went to the lake for a swim" means you are away from the lake and you are talking about the process of going to the lake and then swimming.
     
  11. swyves

    swyves Senior Member

    UK English, Living in Peru
    They mean different things, but both are correct.

    "I went to the lake for a swim" -- Taking a swim there was the purpose of my visit to the lake

    "I went swimming in the lake" -- I swam there. Doesn't tell us much more about your motivations!

    Edit: agree with Hockey13, who beat me to it :)
     
  12. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Let me confirm this: I went fishing in the lake. ---correct? Only correct in BrEn?
     
  13. hly2004 Banned

    chinese
    I think
    "fish on the lake" (on a boat)
    "fish in the lake" (underwater)
    Am I correct?
     
  14. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I believe I would say "I went fishing at the lake". I would not say "I went fishing in the lake" - I agree with Hockey13 on this - I would only say this if I were fishing with scuba gear and a spear-gun! "Fishing at the lake" states where you went fishing. If you then want to elaborate, you could state whether you fished from shore or rented a boat and fished from it.

    As for the other sentences:

    "I went hiking to the lake" means you hiked from another location to the lake
    "I went hiking at the lake" means you went to the lake via another mode of transportation and once you reached the lake, you commenced your hike.
     
  15. hly2004 Banned

    chinese
    Hi, Dimcl:)
    I went fishing at the lake ( suggesting "on the bank")
    I went fishing on the lake (suggesting "on a boat in the middle of a lake")

    Sorry, it's a little off-topic, but am I correct?
     
  16. cheshire

    cheshire Senior Member

    اليابان
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    Thanks, Dimcl.
    I guess CaEn is a mixture of BrEn and AmEn, which do you think it is closer to?
     
  17. LeonTheOutsider Senior Member

    Taiwan, Mandarin
    Both fishing in the lake and fishing at the lake are fine to me.
    As to fishing on the lake, I agree with hly2004 about being on a boat.
     
  18. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    No, "I went fishing at the lake" simply says I went to the lake to fish. It does not indicate how I fished. If someone asked how I fished, I might say:

    "I fished from the shore" (meaning "on the bank")

    or

    "I fished from a boat"

    I can't think of any instance where I would say "I fished in the lake" or "I fished on the lake"
     
  19. hly2004 Banned

    chinese
    I see, thanks~!
     
  20. roxcyn

    roxcyn Senior Member

    USA
    American English [AmE]
    I had rubber boots and I got into the water a little. I fished in the lake for fish.

    I got into my boat and went to the middle of the lake. I saw fish near the water's surface. I got my fish net and fished some of the out of the water. I fished on the lake.

    Couldn't we say that? :D
     
  21. Ivan_I Senior Member

    Russian
    I might be being finicky here but help me sort something out.
    Dimcl says
    I wonder whether “1) I went fishing at the lake and 2) I went hiking at the lake.” really openly and univocally say that the person really went (moved) or used any kind of transportation? Does it openly say that or does it only imply that?

    For example, if we say: “I went jogging in the park.” What does it mean?
    It means that “I perform an act of jogging in the park.” Or “I started jogging in the park.” As I understand it, if we want to say that we really went to the park to go jogging then we should say: “I went to the park in order to go jogging.”

    My question is simple: Don’t you think that:

    I went fishing at the lake. – means – I started fishing at the lake.
    The fact that I went there is only implied here.
    Don’t you think that if we need to split hairs here we should say

    I went to the lake to go fishing there. Or – I went to the lake and started fishing at the lake.

    I know I am being finicky but still…
     
  22. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    No.
    I went fishing at the lake = I went to the lake to fish.
    I fished at the lake - nothing said about going to the lake

    The use of "to go" + gerund means that a change of location is a requirement of the activity.
     
  23. Ivan_I Senior Member

    Russian
    OK, thank you. What about "I went running in the park."? Does it mean to you: "I went to the park to run"?
     
  24. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    Not necessarily, because running requires a change of location. But on its own with no further context, I'd assume you had needed to go to the park in order to do the running, so "I went to the park to run".
     
  25. Ivan_I Senior Member

    Russian
    That is what I am talking about. We need to seperate "assuming" from "taking the meaning of the sentene at face value"? Could you tell me, please, what "I went running in the park." means to you at face value, so to speak? What does it mean as it stands on its own? I have been told by native speakers that it DOES NOT mean "I went to the park to run." That is why I wonder why "I went fishing at the lake" would mean "I went to the lake to fish."
     
  26. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    I'll expand on my previous answer. "I went running in the park" and "I went fishing at the lake", taken alone with no further information, have the same structure and meaning for me. That complete meaning is:
    I went to the park/lake in order to run/fish and when I got there I ran/fished. That is, the verb 'went' states that you changed your location and the participle states why you went and what you did.

    It would, I suppose, be possible for "I went running in the park" to be used if you were already at the park, but it would be strange to say "I drove to the park and then I went running in the park." We'd say "I drove to the park and then I went for a run." We certainly use "to go running" to mean "to run", but I can't think of a context where I could use "I went running in the park" to mean "I ran in the park" without implying that I had to go to the park, just as I would have to go to the lake to fish.

    If we are in the park, "John went running through the flower beds" is the same. The statement requires John to move from the grass to the flower beds. There's the same combination of intent and action. Here we could say "John ran through the flower beds" but that's a simple statement with less meaning. We get synonymous meaning with "John went running off" and "John ran off", the difference being that there is now no specified location.

    That's how I see it. I'd be interested in seeing if others have a different point of view.
     
  27. Ivan_I Senior Member

    Russian
    Andygc, it sounds logical to me, all you have said. I have been trying to find some discussion on the internet dealing with this particular issue and I have found this example

    " Could one say, "He went swimming to the river"?

    A guy from Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom answers

    start:
    Well, one could say that, but I do not think it means what you want it to mean.

    "He went swimming to the river" means that he went to the river, and the mode of transport he used to get to the river was swimming. He must have swum down the stream to the river.

    To mean what I think you mean, you would have to say:
    "He went to the river to swim."
    "He went to the river for a swim."

    "He went swimming in the river." does not quite mean the same semantically, but the result in the physical universe is the same, he ended up in the river, swimming." end.

    (Here I understand that he means that He went to the river to swim. doesn't equal He went swimming in the river.)
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    So, as you understand I am not trying to argue you down. I just want to get it straight. It seems to me that native speakers may understand this construction differently.
     
  28. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    That is coming at it from a different origin, "He went swimming to the river", which is grammatical but not idiomatic English and which describes how he got there (swimming over the land, perhaps?)

    That last statement is actually echoing what I said - he went swimming in the river means he went to the river intending to swim, and when he got there he swam. Neither "He went to the river to swim." nor "He went to the river for a swim." tell you that he swam, they only tell you his intention. "He went to the river to swim, but when he got there he found the river was dry." "He went to the river for a swim, but he found it was full of alligators." But "He went swimming in the river and the alligators got him."

    As before, you could modify the meaning with a bit of context. "He camped by the river. Next morning he went swimming in the river." That is equivalent in meaning to "He camped by the river. Next morning he swam in the river." However, yet again it would not be idiomatic to say either of those. The normal idiom would, I think, be "He camped by the river. Next morning he went swimming." or "He camped by the river. Next morning he went for a swim." The repetition of "river" is redundant and unnatural.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014

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