Please help me identify whether my usage of come and go in the following sentences is correct or wrong :) I will also appreciate it if you explain why they are wrong :) Thank you in advance :)

Already at work:

  • I go to work at 4 pm. I come to work at 4:30 pm.
  • I went to work at 4 pm. I came to work at 4:30 pm.
  • What time do you go home from work?
  • What time do you come home?
    (I personally think this should be What time do you get home?)
  • Mom, my friend is coming to our house later.
    (I think this should be, My friend is coming over. I am not sure if adding to our house is correct.)

Already at home:

  • I go home at 6 am. I come home at 6:30 am.
  • I went home at 6 am. I came home at 6:30 am.
    (I normally say, *I get/got off from work at 6 am. I get/got home at 6:30 am *)

On the phone w/ a friend:
(I am in the Philippines, my friend is in another country, let's say Turkey)

  • When are you coming in the Philippines?
  • When are you going to Greece?
  • I will go to Turkey this summer.
  • My friend from Canada is coming in the Philippines in February.
    (I would have used the adverbs here and there but I also want to learn how to use come and go with prepositions when the specific location is mentioned.

3 Answers 3


English is unique in that "come" and "go" do not relate as much to direction of travel as your perspective when you speak. Perspective is where you imagine you are when you are speaking. For example, suppose I'm talking to my friend on the phone:

I am leaving right now to come to your party.

I'm not at my friend's party, but I visualize that I am at the party with my friend. In a similar way:

Would you like to come to my friend's party with me?

Neither of us are at the party, but by using "come" instead of "go" it's an invitation that visualizes us both at the party. Of course I could also ask:

Would you like to go to my friend's party with me?

This is perfectly grammatical. The only difference is my perspective of us, here, moving toward the party together.

So the answer is all of your sentences are correct, and most of the time it doesn't really matter where I am when I say them. "I come to work", "I go to work" -- either way I don't have to be at home or at work to say these. It all depends on my perspective, whether I imagine myself already at home or already at work.

Keep in mind you have to use the perspective that makes sense in context. If my friend and I are thinking of a trip to Europe, I would say

Let's go to Europe.

and not

Let's come to Europe

However if I was talking to my friend in Europe I might say,

I want to come there to see you!

The difference is that, in the first case, there is no one in Europe whose perspective I relate to. In the second case I can put myself in my friend's shoes and see myself coming toward her. However, I can ask my friend in the US:

Do you want to come with me to Europe?

because I visualize that person with me as we move toward a location -- she's "coming along" with me.

It may sound confusing at first, but it does make sense once you get used to it.

  • So ... there aren't any rules to be followed when come and go are used since it's mainly based on perspectives? :/
    – Marah
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 6:09
  • Perspective is the rule. As I said, it makes sense when you get used to it.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 6:48

WARNING: The Bad News: What is actually right, no one pays attention to. I provide this analysis for future reference. In your first sentences, both ARE RIGHT. Here's why.

The Good News: The right way to use come and go is VERY EASY.

Come and go is determined by the location/position of the speaker (the person saying the sentence, the person speaking).

1) You go TOWARD a place away from you and things or people come TO the place where you are (I know that sounds funny).

[LOCATION: at work] I come to work at 4:30 p.m. [you are speaking to others at your place of work]

[LOCATION: not at work, away from work] I go to work at 4:40 p.m. [you are not at work at the time of speaking]

2) What time do you go home from work? [The person speaking to you and you are not at your home; you are somewhere else;]

3) What time do you come home? [The person is speaking is at your house; you may or may not be home [get home can be used for either come home or go home, get means arrive;get to work, get home, etc.]

4)Mom, my friend is coming over to the house later; My friend is coming over; both are fine. [Your location is that you are at home when you say this]

5) But, if you are on the phone with your Mom and she is at home: Mon, my friend is going over the house later.

6) On the phone: When are you coming to the Philippines? [Right, she will be coming to your location.]

But you ask her over the phone in Turkey: When are you going to Greece? [You are not in Greece]

7) Already at home: I came home or got home or got here at 6:00 [You are speaking from your house.

I go home or get home or get there at 6:00 [You are speaking at a location that is not at home]

My friend is coming to the Philippines this summer. [you are speaking from the Philippines]

Get here, get there, come here, go there.

Reminder: go (away) from a speaker's location versus come to a speaker's location.

go/get//go home/got home, go there, BUT come here, to work, to school went home, went there/went to work.

I hope that covers all the cases.

  • I see ... Everything is clear. Thank you! But, why is the used in Mom, my friend is coming over to the house later and not our?
    – Marah
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 8:50
  • @Marah I don't know exactly. It's just the way it is. Maybe because mother and daughter already know whose house it is. It is only used when it isn't clear: You mean they are actually coming over to OUR house? Otherwise, it's "to the house".
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 16:14

Come = get closer to [the reference] Go = move toward or get farther [from the reference]

When I am at home and I am asking someone to be at home, since they are getting closer to me I will use "come" and not "go". In this case the reference is I.

When someone is in the office and he ask me to e at the office they will ask: "come to office". In this case the reference is the speaker.

In any case if the speaker and audience move toward each other we will use "come".

Another time to use "come" is when we imagine the person's future position and we will move toward that position. "You go home and I will come home too". In this case the reference is the person's future position.

In other situations we will use go, whether we don't know if the person is getting closer, or they are getting farther.

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