Yesterday I was watching a movie where I saw the use of this phrase "came by", but I felt it was easily replaceable with only "came". Please suggest whether they are replaceable or if there are uses which are specific.

Example: I _____ to wish you luck for your exam.

Why should it have the preposition after?

  • Came by, dropped by, stopped by, etc connote not staying for long and usually the visit is just a stop inside some larger trip for a different purpose.
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 2:26
  • For example, I was on my way to the post office but I wanted to come by to wish you luck on your exam.
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 12, 2017 at 2:28

1 Answer 1


Depending on the context, in my experience, using "came" implies that someone came specifically to a place, perhaps with purpose, whereas using "came by" in its place could indicate that the person is making a stop in that place among others, and that he or she might only stay a short while before resuming their excursion.

To say, "I'll come by tomorrow after work.", is a polite way to indicate to someone that you're going to visit them somewhere, but only briefly without expressly saying that you have other places to be or things to do.

  • Yes and that's because of the difference between 'by roads' and 'high roads' where always, 'by' means local and 'high' something much bigger, such as 'official/national/main…' The 'high' half has little place here but the 'by' distinction still implies staying only a short while or having other places to be or things to do… Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 22:35

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