Misuse of the verb to go
A common construction in spoken English worldwide is to use the verb to go in ungrammatical ways.� It is not as grossly incorrect as the use of the noun like in the same context, but nevertheless it is wrong.� I will examine this usage and remark, that it is accepted in speech, while still not found in literary work, unless, of course its use is depicting speech in a fictional context.� Finally, expanding on the idea of accepted colloquial speech, I offer a few thoughts on how the language has limitations of what will change.
So what am I talking about above?� An example perhaps? �yes an example makes these things crystal clear in an instance.� But before I give an exemplification, a simple explanation is perhaps better. I am talking about the use of some form of the infinitive verb to go, to mean to do an action.� These infinitive verbs are not the same, nor are they interchangeable.� Just as to do and to make are similar but not interchangeable. �So, here is an example as promised, I saw this while watching a YouTube video of a professor of physics giving a lecture on the difference between diffuse and specular reflected light. I will paraphrase since I can�t remember the exact words:
����������� You step out of the shower in the morning and the mirror is fogged up so you GO like that to see yourself�
Now, he was standing in front of an audience of students and used his arm to demonstrate what a person does to make the mirror visible.� I�m not trying to besmirch the reputation of this very learnt and superb professor of physics.� As I indicated above, this use is in the context of speech.� We all do it, I do it, but it is still wrong! �Go as a verb is not meant to mean to do an action.� We know this is true as we learned it while growing up from elementary English grammar.� Yet, culturally this change has happened in speech and it is well understood and widely used.� So much such, that speakers will employ this misconstruction without the slightest thought to its ungrammatical structure.� In fact, most are unaware it�s wrong.� Unaware until they are engaging in writing something that requires a grammatically correct structure.� Once again, an example is illustrative.� Suppose you�re asked to write about an encounter, in which you were assaulted physically for a pending legal action.� You might pen something like the following:
����������� He came towards me and raised his arm to hit me, and then I GO�(you stop and think) I put my arms up to protect myself.
The fictional example above shows that when a speaker considers the use of the verb to go in a written context it is clear to him/her that it can�t replace many other verbs that express action like for instance put, bring, hold, etc.� This catch-all use of the verb to go is a development that has occurred in spoken language over time.� It is most likely the result of people wanting to make a point without being too verbose, like I am now, to make a point.� But�and this is the third time I�ll write this, it�s still wrong!
Many, I dare say, most others would disagree with me, that this use is wrong grammatically, as long as it is restricted to spoken exchanges.� I won�t quibble on this topic but concede that my judgement may be extreme by considering it wrong in all contexts.� So, let�s say it�s okay to talk in this manner but not write this way.
What can we glean from looking at this issue formally?� It is obvious that there is a difference in what is acceptable between spoken and written contexts.� What I conjecture is that these two different forms of expression will not ever converge.� That�s a strong conjecture.� I am saying that what is accepted in speech will not become standard in written language.� I will immediately modify that and say (actually write) that it will not become acceptable in most cases, since nothing is absolute in the real world. Why?� It has to do with the dichotomy of having a written versus a spoken language.� Once a language becomes recorded in written symbols, its structure assumes an attribute of being static.� It can be modified by changing symbolization and other characteristics, but the fundamental structure is frozen.� While the living, spoken language will evolve and diverge from the written one.� These two sets are unlikely two converge as time goes on. �The reason they diverge ensures they won�t converge; the need to speak directly and succinctly is one reason.� There is a much more important reason these sets will remain apart and not converge, the written language rejects the spoken one if it violates its rules.� That�s the meaning of grammar.� Yes, I hear the objection, grammars evolve just as colloquy does.� However, there is an important distinction, the grammatical evolution itself has a limitation.� Written languages resist a complete breakdown of their grammatical rules.� Especially if this breakdown threatens the verbal structure of the grammar!� With this in mind, we can easily see such things as the written language evolving to accept noun changes to a degree, but not verbal expression.� That is to say, if it�s written as it�s spoken it�s understood to be informal and not grammatically correct. What do I mean by the preceding? Yes, an example�.
People routinely say the following:
����������� Feb-U-ary for Feb-RU-ary
����������� Sec-AH-tary for Sec-CRE-tary
This kind of speech is common, informal and accepted; it may well find its way into dictionaries as accepted written English soon.
But, verbal constructions like:
����������� That ain�t true
����������� He don�t do that
����������� Then, he goes real weird on me and says�.
I believe these constructions will very likely NEVER find their way into written English as grammatically acceptable.� The first set of examples refer to noun pronunciation change, the second to verbal usage change and that is to use a metaphor, the blood and bone of the language and unlikely to change.