Archive for September 20, 2010

the difference between words: come and go


Many of my students get confused between when to use “come” and when to use “go”, so today I’d like to try to help people understand this. Generally speaking, we use “come” when talking about the place where we are RIGHT NOW, and we use “go” when talking about another place. For example:

I went to work yesterday even though it was a Sunday. (I’m not at work now.)

I came to this class because I want to learn how to play the piano. (Right now, I’m at the piano class.)

I think that part is quite simple and easy to understand by most people. However, sometimes we use “come” when talking about a place where we are NOT right now. Please study the following example:

A: Can you come to my house for dinner tonight?

B: Ok, sure. That would be great. I can come to your house at 7:00 tonight.

In this case, person A uses “come” because they are inviting someone to spend time with them at their home. In these cases, we always use “come”. Person B also uses “come” because they are speaking directly to the person whose home they will spend time at. However, if person B is talking to another person about this event, they will use “go”. For example:

A: Do you want to see a movie with me tonight?

B: I’m sorry, but I can’t. I have to go to my friend’s house for dinner at 7:00 tonight.

Person A will also use “come” to talk about person B going to the place where person A is right now, even if it’s not their home. Person B will also use “come” in this situation. For example:

A: I’m at the restaurant now. What time can you come here?

B: I can come there at 8:00.

So, we use “come” when inviting someone to our home or when talking directly to a person about going to a certain place, but if we invite them to another place, we use “go”. For example:

A: Would you like to go to the park with me this weekend?

B: Sounds great. What time do you want to go?

A: Let’s go at around 2:00 on Sunday.

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