sense of "go sightseeing" depending on tense

yakor

Senior Member
Russian
Hi!
I have a problem with "go sightseeing". I don't know if the sense of "go sightseeing" is changed at using different tenses. My suggestion.
1) "We went sightseeing" means "We went to watch sights" (we are/were on the way to sights) If someone asks,"Where is he?", the answer "He went sightseeing" means "He is absent, he is on the way to sights or, maybe he is already are watching sights"
2) "We were going sightseeing" means "We were going to watch sights" (We were still not watching the sights by only we were going to do it)
3) "We are going sightseeing" means "We are going to watch sights" (We is still at home, not watch sights)
4) "We will be going sightseeing" means "We will be going to watch sights" (In some moment of the time in future we will be on the way to sights, we will be going out of home to watch sights)
5) "We will go sightseeing" means the same as 4) only in an indefinite moment of future.
 
  • Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    We don't 'watch' sights, we only 'watch' things that are moving or can move (e.g. birds, people, racing cars). Sightseeing means travelling from one interesting location to another, probably to view ancient ruins, frescoes in an old church, etc. So you can go sightseeing, have gone sightseeing, be going to go sightseeing... It is a complex activity. In (2) you can say "We were going to see the sights" (of a nearby town, for instance).
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello,

    1): I don't agree with your interpretation, yakor. "We went sightseeing" to me means "We went to see the sights and we saw them." It does not mean that we are, or were, on our way to the sights that we want/wanted to see. If he is on his way to some sights or if he is possibly already at his destination, I would say, "He's gone to Birmingham to see the sights" or "He's gone sightseeing in Birmingham." I would not use the simple past tense here.

    2): I don't think I could say, "We were going sightseeing". Do you mean that we were en route?

    3): I agree.

    4): "We will be going sightseeing" doesn't necessarily imply "on the way" to me. It just announces an arrangement (plan) to see some sights, eg "We've got meetings all week, but on Saturday we'll be going sightseeing."

    5): "We'll go sightseeing": Just an intention to go sightseeing.
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    We don't 'watch' sights, we only 'watch' things that are moving or can move (e.g. birds, people, racing cars). Sightseeing means travelling from one interesting location to another, probably to view ancient ruins, frescoes in an old church, etc. So you can go sightseeing, have gone sightseeing, be going to go sightseeing... It is a complex activity. In (2) you can say "We were going to see the sights" (of a nearby town, for instance).
    1)Do you watch TV? (Tv can't move. You mean the moving pucters on a screen?
    2)Is "sightseeing" used as a participle with go as an adjective + a linking verb? I mean that "We were seeing the sights" doesn't mean "We were goiing sightseeing", because the second means only "We were going to see the sights". Which tense of "go" one should use in order to express the thought that we already in process of "seeing the sight"? I know that only "went sightseeing" means that we "saw sights", but I don't know how it looks in present continue tenses and future continue one,
     
    Last edited:

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Hello! Shift, please, tell me..
    Hello,

    1) "He's gone sightseeing in Birmingham." I would not use the simple past tense here.
    Is it correct to use "for sights" instead of "sightseeing". "He has gone for sights in Birmingham"? "Sightseeing" is a gerund here. I wonder how did it become possible to use "sightseeing" without any preposition? Maybe, first it was "for sightseeing"? Or "on sightseeing"? Could you also say "He's gone for sightseeing"?

    2): I don't think I could say, "We were going sightseeing". Do you mean that we were en route?

    3): I agree.
    I can't get you here. If 3) is OK, why 2) is wrong. 2) expresses the same thought only in the past tense. We were going to go sightseeing. OR We were going to see the sight. You mean it is correct to say only in the present continuous?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Is it correct to use "for sights" instead of "sightseeing". "He has gone for sights in Birmingham"? "Sightseeing" is a gerund here. I wonder how did it become possible to use "sightseeing" without any preposition? Maybe, first it was "for sightseeing"? Or "on sightseeing"? Could you also say "He's gone for sightseeing"?
    No. "Sightseeing" is a noun which is the name of an activity.
    We are going to ski. We are going skiing.
    We are going to skate on the ice. We are going ice skating.
    We are going to see the sights. We are going sightseeing.

    A sight is a noun which is a type of thing.
    You can go to the store for milk. You can go to Paris for the sights, but you can't just go for sights.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    2): I don't think I could say, "We were going sightseeing". Do you mean that we were en route?
    You can say this but it's rather an incomplete thought by itself.
    We were going sightseeing, but it was raining so hard that we couldn't leave the hotel.
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks, but what about arising the very phrase "go sightseeing"? Was some preposition before "sightseeing" in former times? I don't think it was like this from the very beginning.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Thanks, but what about arising the very phrase "go sightseeing"? Was some preposition before "sightseeing" in former times? I don't think it was like this from the very beginning.
    No, it's not at all necessary that that should have happened. It's a common formation. See #6. Your question borders on etymology which is off-topic for this forum.
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    No, it's not at all necessary that that should have happened. It's a common formation. See #6. Your question borders on etymology which is off-topic for this forum.
    I think it came from the " to go to see the sights"
    and "I like (to see the sights)"== (I like sightseeing)
    To see the sights (sightseing) is an interesting thing.
    I mean it came from the infinitive phrase. (the infinitive with the object formed the compound noun)
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I think it came from the " to go to see the sights"
    You may think that if you like. It makes perfect sense. What I'm saying is that this is a common formation with other verbs so it may not have needed to go through any intermediate form whatsoever. Proving which is true is beyond the scope of the forum.
     

    yakor

    Senior Member
    Russian
    What I'm saying is that this is a common formation with other verbs so it may not have needed to go through any intermediate form whatsoever.
    But participle reduced clauses are also a common formation, but nevertheless they came from the full clauses.
    Being a noun, "sightseeing" after "go" is a direct object of "go".
     
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