“I went to see a talk last night.”

You went to a talk given by a writer last night at a community center in your neighborhood. Your coworker asks you what you did last night and you tell her about the event. You answer them like this.

I went to see a talk last night.

Audio by native English speakers

(someone) went to (do something)

Usually when you use the word "go" or "went", you have to tell where you went:

She went to the convenience store.

But when you say that you "went to (do something)" it means that you went somewhere for a specific purpose. For example:

She went to get beer.

In this case, you don't need to say where the person went.

see a talk

"A talk" is an event where an author, a researcher, an expert, or some other person speaks to a large audience.

It's similar to a "speech", but a speech is more associated with politics, debating issues, or formal ceremonies. A "talk" is for explaining interesting ideas to people.

You "see" a talk or other performance. Some other things that you can "see" include:

  • see a dance performance
  • see a play
  • see a concert

On the other hand, for TV and movies it's more common to say that you "watch a movie" or "watch TV".