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Scenario: I need something which may or may not be in the garage. 

If I know where it is in the garage, I will "fetch" it (je vais le chercher [I think]) 

If I am not sure it's in there, I will "go and look" for it (????)

I really want to use the same French construction for the 2nd case, but there must be a difference? 

Any clarification would be appreciated. 

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Yes it may be the same construction. And we have to add informations or context before or after to clarify that you are sure or not that the thing is in the garage. Or you may use other constructions.

But without that, there is a doubt.

About the context :

If you speak with your wife about  your usual coat.  Mon manteau est dans le garage. Je vais le chercher.

> You seem to be sure about where is the coat and it's your usual coat (we suppose you know where are your usual coat). it's "fetch".

If you speak with your wife about a hammer you didn't see for one year. But you know the last time you saw it, it was in the garage.  J'ai besoin du marteau. Il est dans le garage. Je vais le chercher.  You don't seem to be sure exactly where it is. 

> It's probably "look for" but "fetch" is possible.

J'ai besoin du panier bleu qui est dans le garage, je vais le chercher.

> both  "look for" and  "fetch" are possible. Without more informations, we don't know.

When both are possible you have to clarify.

J'ai besoin du panier bleu, Je ne sais pas où il est dans le garage. Je vais le chercher.

> "Je ne sais pas où il est" it's sure you don't know so it's "look for"

Using other constructions is more precise :

You may say "Le panier bleu doit être dans le garage. Je vais partir à sa recherche" => no doubt. It's "look for"

What about "aller trouver"?

Is that closer to "fetch" than to "look for"?

it's closer to "look for". It never means "fetch".

I think "aller trouver" is closer to "to go to find" .  But as I'm not sure so I will try to explain how we use "trouver.

There is an idea of "end" or "finish" in "trouver". This idea is not in "chercher" (look for).

"chercher"  is a kind of way where "trouver" is the end.

Je vais trouver => this way implies that you are almost sure (it's not imperativly true, but you think it's true) to find or you will do everything you are able to do to find.

- Je vais chercher un travail : you will send letters, mails, go into employement agencies to find a job, but there is a possibility you don't find a job (if you don't like jobs you find). You will find one or not.

- Je vais trouver un travail : You will do same things but, there is the idea that you will take one of the job, even if you don't like this job. The goal is to have a job and the idea is that at the end you will have a job. 

This sentence in the first message.

J'ai besoin du panier bleu, Je ne sais pas où il est dans le garage mais je vais le chercher trouver.

> "Je ne sais pas où il est" it's sure you don't know where it is (in the garage). "trouver" implies that you will  go in the garage to  "look for" but you are so much sure to find it that you use "trouver" instead of "chercher".

For this one in the first message.

Mon manteau est dans le garage. Je vais le chercher trouver.

"chercher" means "fetch" : this sentence is an affirmation.

"Trouver" doesn't mean "fetch" :  So if you use "trouver" in this sentence, it implies that you are sure the coat is in the garage but you aren't sure if you know where in the garage so you go to look for and find it.


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