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Which one is correct?


Show up the next time you are in Dhaka. 

Pay a visit the next time you are in Dhaka.

By the way, I've found some negativity in the usage of show up. It would be helpful if someone explains the difference between the above two.

I am guessing there might be missing a punctuation. Pay a visit, the next time you are in Dhaka.

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  • Show up seems awkward here. It implies that there is some planned and scheduled event (like a party) that you're inviting the listener to show up at. If you're asking them to make an unscheduled visit and want to be informal, I'd use drop by instead. Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 16:51
  • Thanks! A valued comment. Would you please state the reasons why you are advocating(indirectly) the second sentence?
    – 1000111
    Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 16:54
  • For the second sentence. I'd write, "Please pay me [or us] a visit...." The verb pay feels better with an indirect object and the formality sounds insincere without adding the please to make it extremely polite. You'd use the second sentence for a professional colleague or someone you want to be formal with. I'd use "drop by..." with a friend. Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 17:00
  • Would you please formulate an answer covering all the subtle things you mentioned in the comments?
    – 1000111
    Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 17:20
  • Okay, I've written a long answer. Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 18:05

1 Answer 1

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There are a few ways to ask someone to visit you when they are in town:

  • Show up [at an event] implies that there is some scheduled event, like a party, and you are casually and informally inviting them to attend, without requiring them to tell you in advance whether they will make it or not. The reason why you might have gotten a negative reaction to this is that it does imply that the event is proceeding whether or not the person shows up, so they may think that you don't care very much about their presence.
  • Drop by [a place] is an informal invitation for someone to make an unscheduled visit. You can also use drop in, which really only applies to your home or to the place where you are speaking right now. You may also hear pop in or pop round, especially from British English speakers.
  • Pay us a visit will more formally invite someone to make a visit. This is formal enough that you could follow with a request for them to schedule in advance, and you should probably decorate it with words like please to show that you're being formal out of respect. If you don't sound respectful, it could sound like you're only saying this out of politeness and you don't sincerely want a visit.

Examples:

  1. "We go out for drinks after work every Friday. Feel free to show up next time you're in Dhaka."

Here you're inviting someone to a scheduled activity that happens whether they are there or not. The "feel free" emphasizes that you're giving them a choice and reduces the chance that "show up" could sound rude.

  1. "Drop by the office the next time you're in Dhaka."
  2. "Drop by the next time you're in Dhaka."
  3. "Drop in the next time you're in Dhaka."

Here you're informally inviting someone to make an unscheduled visit, though it would not be rude to follow up with something like, "Just send me a text message first to make sure I'm in town." There's very little difference between 3 and 4, but I'd be more likely to say drop by for a place of work, while drop in sounds more like I'm inviting someone to my home.

  1. "Please pay us a visit the next time you're in Dhaka."

This is very formal. It's the sort of thing a businessman would say to a new customer that he is cultivating. As I said above, you could follow this with something like, "Let us know a couple of days before you arrive and we can prepare a demonstration."

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