Difference between ‘go’ and ‘walk’ in English

by Jakub Marian

Tip: See my list of the Most Common Mistakes in English. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more (PDF Version).

When you travel from one place to another, most languages require that you use a verb based on how you travel, such as “walk” (which means “move using your own legs but not so fast that you would be running”), “drive”, “fly”, …

In English, “go” is a universal verb that means “to move or travel from one place to another”, and it doesn’t tell you how you travel; you can go on foot (using your own legs), go by bus, go by plane, and so on. This often causes problems because learners tend to think that “going” implies “walking”, which is not at all true.

You can think about the verb “go” as about a nice feature of the English language. You can use other verbs like “walk” or “drive” if you want to be more specific, but you can always use “go” if you do not want to think about the vehicle you are going to take. For example:

I walk to the supermarket every day.
I go to the supermarket every day.
I’ll drive to school in a minute.
I’ll go to school in a minute.
I’ll take a bus to Berlin tomorrow.
I’ll go to Berlin tomorrow.
I’ll fly to Rio de Janeiro next summer.
I’ll go to Rio de Janeiro next summer.

It is always possible to replace a specific verb of travelling by “go”. Please note that “I am going to” would perhaps sound more natural than “I’ll” in some of the examples (depending on the context), but I didn’t want to confuse my readers by mixing two different meanings of “go” in a single sentence.

By the way, if you haven’t read my guide on how to avoid the most common mistakes in English, make sure to check it out; it deals with similar topics.

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