to go shopping/ to do the shopping

  • M1991

    Well, when you say "to go shopping", it sounds as though it is a vocation rather than a chore.

    When you say, to do the shopping, it sounds like you have a predetermined idea of what you will be shopping for, and that all is left now is to go out and perform the chore of doing the shopping.


    Senior Member
    English - UK (London)
    Could you explain to me the difference between these phrases

    To me "to do the shopping" means to go to buy bread, milk, fruit etc. ie general food shopping.

    "To go shopping" is more general - it could be any sort of shopping: food, clothes, CDs.

    But then I am female and retired ..... I wonder if there are differences in use according to age and sex?


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I agree with MJS: to do the shopping means to engage in a regular household activity, and involves purchasing food and household supplies.

    To go shopping means to go somewhere to buy something of any kind.

    Few women really enjoy doing the shopping (that is, going to a grocery store to buy bread, or meat, or milk), but many women love to go shopping (that is, going to stores that carry clothes, or shoes, or accessories.)


    Senior Member
    Hello everyone,
    Can you tell me the difference between these phrases?

    1. I go shopping ( I go around watching many shop windows, and buy finally different things, especially clothes, accessories, but not food).

    2. I go to do the shopping ( I go to buy the food necessary to eat)

    I do the shopping (the same as 2.)

    Ariel66, you've described the difference very well already, needing only a couple of minor refinements.

    "Going shopping," which is exactly as you describe, is a pastime or hobby for some people. It generally does not involve food.

    Note that "going shopping for [something]" is different: It means that you are specifically looking for one or more items, which could include food if it was a special occasion or unusual type of food. "I'm going shopping for milk" would sound weird, but "I'm going shopping for the ingredients for tonight's dinner party" is normal. "Going shopping" usually implies visiting more than one store, although one could certainly "go shopping" at only one store if it were a big store with a large variety of products.

    "The shopping" is any routine shopping for household necessities. It does not have to be food only, as an ordinary weekly trip to the supermarket is likely to include many non-food items, such as paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc. By extension, people sometimes say the "the shopping" in non-domestic settings. For example, an employee might "do the shopping" for his office at an office supply store, meaning that he's going to buy the daily necessities of the office: copier paper, Post-It notes, pens, etc. By further extension, we might well say that he was "doing the shopping" for the office even if he was - as it most likely - placing the order on line with an office-supply company.
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