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So you open the door and see your friend and say "Come on in" that means you are asking him/her to come in, okay? But then I read in a book that it was wrong English but it did not mention what was the correct form.So that is my question.

What is the grammatically correct English phrase or sentence having the same meaning as "Come on in" and according to which particular rule this one is wrong ?

EDIT: This was from a story book written in my native language and it's from a conversation between two characters. One says "Come on in" and the other thinks to himself "speaking wrong English." This might seem strange but I really wanted to know what would be the right English and hence this post.

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, user3169, Nathan Tuggy, JavaLatte, Glorfindel Aug 26 '16 at 17:44

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    Whatever book told you that Come on in is "wrong" should be thrown in the dustbin. I can't imagine where people get such daft ideas from, but they certainly shouldn't be trying to teach English. – FumbleFingers Aug 26 '16 at 16:30
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    Could you add a book citation along with a relevant quote? – user3169 Aug 26 '16 at 16:42
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    @user118494 - You're right; some expressions are fine in conversation but should be avoided in more formal writing. However, in this case, "Come on in," is a common, well-accepted idiom, to be avoided only when a vampire is at your door. FumbleFingers' comment may be a bit emotional but I concur with his assertion that there's nothing wrong with the expression. – J.R. Aug 26 '16 at 17:12
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    I don't have a lot of time for the idea that "grammatically correct" is somehow different to what people actually say. Language is fundamentally a spoken medium, and "grammar" is really just an attempt to identify logical principles and rules that describe how language is used. Sure - it's worth learners being aware that, for example, Get your butt in here! is an "informal" usage. But to argue that Come on in is more informal than Come in is fruitless (and saying that it's wrong is misleading and counterproductive for learners). – FumbleFingers Aug 26 '16 at 17:12
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    You have misunderstood FumbleFingers. He is ranting against the idea that "Come on in" could be considered improper English, not about your question. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 26 '16 at 17:44

I would say that "come on in" could be considered a more emphatic version of the simpler "come in." It also seems to have more welcoming undertones, but that just be in my imagination.

Of course, either one could be said in a loud and cheerful voice, or be accompanied with an emphatic welcoming gesture. However, absent any other context, it's easier for me to picture "come on in" being said by people who haven't seen their friends for a long time, and are now excited to have them on their doorstep, while "come in" doesn't quite convey that same emotion.

As for the book you mention, I agree with the overall gist of the comments under your question. In other words, there's nothing inherently wrong with "come on in," and, ironically, I'd consider "speaking wrong English" to be worse then "come on in." In fact, I wonder if it's not meant to be a joke, that the person who passes judgment is really the one who needs to improve his English, rather than the person who is welcoming that fellow into his house.

As a footnote, even "speaking wrong English" could be okay, if we accept that it's an elided form of "he's speaking wrong English," with the subject and predicate implied (though I agree with user3169: poor or incorrect would be better than wrong).

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    Actually I tried to translate what he said in my native language to English and wrote "speaking wrong English". And obviously I need and want to improve my English which is why I am here. Thank you for your help though. :) – user118494 Aug 26 '16 at 17:30
  • At least part your imagination. I can hear Come on in reluctantly mutterred to someone whose entry is considered an inconvenience or intrusion. But it could be a way of emphasizing welcomeness, warmth, etc., and maybe more typically so. – Jim Reynolds Aug 26 '16 at 17:40
  • @JimR - I completely agree! That underscores my initial impression of the three-word version being more "emphatic" (although, in the case you describe, it's more emphatic from a sarcastic perspective). – J.R. Aug 26 '16 at 17:49
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    "Come on in" does seem to have some emphasis to it; it seems more related to familiarity or informality, as with friends/family arriving at your home rather than a more professional situation like being told to come into your boss's office. – eques Aug 26 '16 at 18:16
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    @user118494 - "Speaking incorrect English" or "Speaking English poorly" would both be better than "speaking wrong English." – J.R. Apr 19 '17 at 9:32

"Come on in" may be used in informal English depending on location, etc.

More formally, you would simply say "Come in"

While you can say "He came in" etc, it would not be usual to say "He came on in"; that is, "come on in" would almost exclusively be found in the imperative mood only.

"Come on in" has some (slight) emphatic meaning compared to "come in".

  • In a formal context, Come in might be said relatively more than in a casual context, but Come on in might be said in a formal context, as well. Come on in may be used in English pretty much anywhere. Not so much depending on location, etc. – Jim Reynolds Aug 26 '16 at 17:36
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    I mean depending on location as in not all dialectal variations of English may use "Come on in" as frequently or in the same cases. I'm American and so I cannot speak for all the variants in the UK let alone my own country. That said, it's still not a formal usage; although it may be quite widespread. In formal English, "on" and "in" don't combine like that. – eques Aug 26 '16 at 18:11

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