In the past I've been told that there is a difference between the usage of these two verbs: "arrive" and "reach", But I've never understood it. Today Iv'e checked it in the Cambridge dictionary and I found that they are considering synonyms:

Reach: to arrive at a place, especially after spending a long time or a lot of effort travelling.

Arrive: to reach a place, especially at the end of a journey.

But By googling I've reached / arrived this site, which the writer there write the following things:

REACH and ARRIVE are very similar, they imply you made it to the final destination. I reached my goal, I arrived home.

REACH implies you were farther away and you finally reached the destination. Often it is used in a context where there were difficulties in the way. But not necessarily. It implies the goal is achieved, you reached your destination. e.g. "Despite the storm on the sea we reached the shore safe and sound."

ARRIVE means you got there. It is used also in a context of transportation, like planes, buses, trains. e.g. I arrived at 10 / The bus is scheduled to arrive at 10.

Now, my question is if based on that they are synonyms, can I use them interchangeably or they are not synonyms and I have to use each one of them in a certain context. Very often I find myself thinking about If I should use "arrive" or "reach". So far, I have no really clear information about it.

2 Answers 2


These are mostly synonymous, at least when talking about the end of some journey.

My GPS is telling me, "You have reached your destination."

My GPS is telling me, "You have arrived at your destination."

Metaphorically, while "arrive" is often just a description of events, "reach" can imply some sort of effort or unusual extension (related to its other definitions) so it can sound slightly more dramatic.

After a journey of many days, they finally reached the castle.

This is subtle, though. If you really want to imply effort there are more dramatic verbs.

Parched and weary after crossing the desert, they stumbled into the oasis.


Arrive and reach are synonyms. However, arrive takes the preposition at, while reach doesn't.

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