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DO THE SHOPPING or GO SHOPPING? These two expressions are often confused by English learners. Let's look at the differences.

"Few people really enjoy doing the shopping but many love to go shopping."

TO DO THE SHOPPING often describes the regular process of going to the supermarket to buy food and the household necessities, such as paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc. 

"I do the weekly grocery shopping on Mondays." 

There is an aspect of doing this regularly and it is more of an obligation than an enjoyable activity for most. 

"How often do you do the shopping?"
"I always do the shopping at the weekend."

When you say 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.

"We need to do the shopping today."
"My wife always does the shopping, and I do the cooking."

When talking about shopping in general, it's more common to use GO SHOPPING.

"Let’s go shopping this afternoon."(let's to stores that sell clothes, shoes, accessories, etc.)

TO GO SHOPPING often means that your intentions are to buy things because you want to or because you need a new version of something. There isn't necessarily any routine aspect to this action.

"I need to go shopping for a new coat."

It can mean browsing around looking for anything that strikes your interest, or it can mean that you are looking for specific items.

"Let's have some fun and go shopping." (let's just go and look around, and if we see something interesting, we might buy it)

A pastime or hobby for some people, it generally does not involve food and the routine necessities of life. It usually implies visiting more than one store, but could refer to only one big store with a large variety of products.

"I like to go shopping the weekend after payday." 

TO GO SHOPPING FOR SOMETHING means that you are specifically looking for one or more items. 

"We went shopping for a gift at the mall." 

Normally, it could include food only if it was a special occasion or unusual type of food. Not: 'I'm going shopping for milk'.

"I'm going shopping for the ingredients for tonight's dinner party"

All in all, we DO THE SHOPPING when we routinely buy food and household supplies, and we GO SHOPPING when we wander through the mall, fingering everything that tickles our fancy and just maybe purchasing something.


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