I’m going Llandudno

The other day in the supermarket I heard a bloke say to his friend something like, “Tomorrow I’m going Llandudno” – the lack of to after going struck me as slightly strange, though the utterance was perfectly understandable. I’ve heard a few other people talking about going to places without the to and wondered if anyone else has noticed this, or any similar expressions.

When you think about it, go is rarely used without a preposition such as to, up, down, out, in, over, under, etc. Other verbs of motion, such as come and move, behave in similar ways and rarely appear without an accompanying preposition.

When you talk about travelling in your country do you say “I’m going up to X”, or the equivalent, if you’re going north, and “I’m going down to X” if you’re travelling south. What about east and west?

When I lived in Brighton I said that I was going up to London, which is north of Brighton, but from Bangor I go down to London, which is south (and east) of Bangor.

17 thoughts on “I’m going Llandudno

  1. My mom, who is originally from New Jersey, says that in NJ you go “down the shore” (not down *to* the shore) regardless of what direction the shore actually is.

  2. I have heard “I’m going Belfast” from northern speakers.

    People go “up” to Dublin regardless of whether they are in Cork or Galway. I don’t know about Dundalk though….If you are travelling from Dublin to Cork you say that you’re going “down” to Cork but if you are travelling from rural Cork you say that you’re going “up” to Cork/the city.

    In my town, “down” the town/ “down” the village was always the local main street whereas “into” town was always Cork city.

  3. Growing up in northern England “to go” is often used without a preposition but it’s the kind of thing your parents would have told you off for.

    “I’m goin’ town”
    “I’m goin’ up Hanley, duck” (that one’s even weirder)
    “He’s gone France for his holidays”

  4. I think it’s also a feature in the Yooper (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) dialect due to the presence of Finnish immigrants there. (For example: “Let’s go Greenbay, eh?”) Is that true?

  5. No, but I have noticed a similar distinction between American and British English: the inclusion/exclusion of the definite or indefinite article (the, an, a) with certain places, specifically universities and hospitals: Brits consistently exclude the article whereas Americans consistently include it, e.g. a Brit would say “I’m going to university this afternoon” whereas the American would say “I’m going to the university this afternoon”. Same with the word “hospital”: the Brit would say “He just got out of hospital” whereas the American would say “He just got out of thehospital.”


  6. An American will often make “going to” and “going” sound the same. If I say “I’m going to Atlanta,” it might come out as “I’m goina Atlanta,” and then the two “a” sounds elide together, and the preposition disappears. Where as if it were Detroit, it might sound like “I’m goina Detroit,” and it might be more distinct.

  7. In the western US, there’s some use of “up to” and “down to” regarding north/south. East/west, you can use “over to”, though that can be used in any direction. For a long-distance trip, you may also hear “out to”.

    When I lived in New York City for a couple years, it was weird to discover that “uptown” and “downtown” actually corresponded to up and down on the map, even as I understood that that must have been the original meaning of “downtown” before it came to mean a city center regardless of relative location.

  8. In our dialect of Arabic we don’t use “to” either when we speak of going to places or traveling to countries [e.g. ána ráyih landan (I’m going “to” London)].
    However, the preposition “lé” is used in instances when a desire to express the distance (and not destination) to the receiver, or when the sentence will be followed by other locations as well after that, like going to and fro [e.g. ána riht/ráyih lé landan (approx: I’m going as far as London)].

    It’s weird in fact. I never looked analytically at this usage of such preposition except at this moment.

  9. Andrew wrote: “Brits consistently exclude the article whereas Americans consistently include it, e.g. a Brit would say ‘I’m going to university this afternoon’ whereas the American would say ‘I’m going to the university this afternoon’.”

    It’s actually a little more subtle than that, as far as British English is concerned.

    I (a “Brit”) would say “I’m going to university next year” but “I’m going to the university this afternoon”. The meaning of the first sentence is that I’m going to register as a student there, attend lectures etc., while the second sentence implies that I’m just making a call there (perhaps delivering some goods or going to view an exhibition, say).

    Similarly, “he was in hospital” means that he was a patient there, receiving treatment, while “he was in the hospital (when I rang)” means no more than that he was in that location (visiting a patient, perhaps).

    Overall, going to or being in school, university, hospital and the like implies belonging to that institution in some way — while going to the school etc. refers to no more than physical position or movement . “I left school last July” (I ceased attending); “I left the school by the back gate” (that’s the route I took).

  10. On the Labrador coast Inuktitut speakers will do this as well. “I’m going Black Island”. Not sure if it arrived there via Newfoundland.

  11. Kevin, then it’s just like how Americans say “go to school” or “go to college.” And note that while we don’t say “go to university,” we also don’t say “go to the university,” either. If we mean that we will go to the place, we say “go to school” or “go to campus,” often using the preposition “over.” Universities are usually either referred to in the plural, or as part of the name.

    Also it occurs to me that Americans also say “go to jail,” not “go to the jail,” so maybe it’s the hospital thing that’s really the outlier.

  12. You’ll hear both “ag goil Gaillimh” (without a preposition) and “ag dul go Gaillimh” from Irish speakers, but the former is more colloquial.
    NB: goil = gabháil = dul

  13. “I’m goin’ up Hanley, duck” (that one’s even weirder)

    The absence of ‘to’ is even broader in N. Staffordhire speech. The ‘up’ is an optional extra (as is ‘duck’) – you’d be as likely to hear “I’m goin’ Hanley”. But you’d also hear “Wait for me tell you” and “She dunna (doesn’t) want go”. In some instances, ‘to’ is replaced by ‘for’ – “I need a bag for put it in” (not unlike ‘fe’ in W. Indian patois).

  14. The omission of ‘to’ after ‘going’ is by no means confined to the North. I went to school in W. London, and I can remember hearing “Miss, can I go toilet?”, “Are you goin’ Ealing Broadway tomorrow?” etc.

  15. “I’m going get (something)” is very common in the Potteries (North Staffordshire) area but not in nearby towns. This very local dialect (and accent) doesn’t get as much attention as those of Manchester, Liverpool and other more widely spoken lingos!

  16. I have a different pattern, which I think is general Scouse, but I’ve been away long enough that I can’t be sure. I’ll omit “to” between forms of “go” and “the”, but not otherwise. So I’d say “I’m going the shops”, “he went the basement just now” and so on, but “I’m going to Llandudno” and “I’m going to a meeting”.

  17. In French, we frequently say “monter à Paris” (go up to Paris) even when travelling from the north. I think it’s more a question of prestige : going from the countryside or another region / city to a more prestigious place is “going up”, without regard to the actual direction.

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