1. "I'm going back home"


  1. "I'm coming back home"

Assuming that both sound natural and are commonly used in speaking, is the difference between them that the first sentence is supposed to be said when I'm talking to someone outside (Friend: "What are you doing? Me: I'm going back home now.") while the second is supposed to be said when I'm talking to someone that I found at home, i.e. wife, children, parents etc. (Wife: "What are you doing?" Me: I'm coming back home.")?

5 Answers 5


Your understanding is correct. The difference is in whom you are speaking to.

If you are addressing someone who is not currently at your home, you would say "I am going home." If you are addressing someone who is currently at your home, you would say "I am coming home."

Note that this is regardless of whether you would typically expect to find the addressee at home. For example if your friend is staying the night and you are out picking up some snacks when they call you to ask where you are, you would still say "I am coming home."

  • 2
    I'd like to add that the person you're talking to doesn't necessarily have to be at your home, as long as they're closer to your home than you are. If you're currently halfway across the world and your friends are an hour's drive from your hometown, you would still tell them you're "coming" home, because it's all relative. Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 22:17
  • 7
    @the-baby-is-you: In those situations "home" is not the house but rather the region. For example, if I were to live on the other side of the world, and go back (but to go and live a house that I've never lived in before), I would still say "I'm coming home" to my friends and family, as I'm focusing on the region and not the specific building.
    – Flater
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 8:17
  • It is relative to the speaker and whom he or she is addressing and where both parties are. If I'm in China and my home is Miami, I say to people in China: I'm going home etc. If I'm in China and my home is Miami: People there will say to me: When are you coming home? Likewise: I could say to those people: I'm coming home next week.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 13:19
  • 1
    I'll nit-pick this ever so slightly to say that if the person to whom you're speaking is neither at your home nor where you are when you're speaking to them, but you expect them to be at or near your home when you arrive there, you'd still be likely to say "coming" rather than going. Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 15:37
  • @MontyHarder perhaps you would be, but I most definitely would not. Maybe that's a regional thing. I grew up in the mountain west USA, FWIW.
    – R. Barrett
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 17:42

In a nutshell:

  • Coming. You are moving towards the person you are speaking to.
  • Going. You are moving away from the person you are speaking to.

One slight exception is that if you are not really moving in relation to the person you are talking to, then it is 'going'.

For example you are texting your friend who is at their home, you are at the shops but you are heading home, you would say "I'm going home."

  • Thank you for the answer. 1^+ Can you explain please why did you omit the word "back" from the sentences? (i.e. "I'm going back home.") Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 13:28
  • 1
    To be very clear you would not say coming if you initially are moving towards the person. i.e they are in your way towards home. Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 14:32
  • Coming/Going and Coming/Going back are essentially the same except that with 'back' it also explicitly adds the idea of returning. Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 23:51

If you are at home talking to someone, and mentioning you will be away, you say:

I'm coming back home next week. [to your siblings or parents or friends who are at home with you when you say it.]

If you are away from home, you say: I'm going back home next week.

come to where you are go to where you are not.

However, if you are on the phone speaking to those family members, it's as if you were with them, so you would use "coming back home", rather than going. However, if those family members are with you in public, you would say "going back home".

That's easy to remember.

  • Agree with all but the last explanatory sentence. First, did you mean 'in person' instead of 'in public'? Either way, if you are talking to family (or friends from home), then the usage is likely to be 'coming' not 'going'. "What are your plans, dear?" says mum. "Well I should finish this project within 6-12 months, then I'm likely to come home for a bit, then ...". I don't see this conversation being any different whether mum is on the phone at home, at her expat offspring's foreign abode, or in public in the country where said offspring is working.
    – mcalex
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 3:57
  • @mcalex - Yes. The last sentence - You to someone whom resides at the family home: 1. "I'm going home" = you are leaving them to wherever they go and you are going to the family home without going with them. 2. "I'm coming home" = you are coming with them, they and you both are going home. --- Short version: [1st person talk to 2nd person] Come towards, Go away. --- [2nd person talk to 1st person] Go towards, Come away (IE: You 'come away' with something, like knowledge). Not saying that makes it any less confusing - a full explanation is for an answer. This answer is 90% OK.
    – Rob
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 5:59
  • @mcalex, if those family members are with you in public means: if they are with you in a place away from home. It's all about where the speaker is: Your mum comes to visit you at university: She can say: Are you coming home next week? [Where she is "is home"]. Or She can say: Are you going home next week? We'll be in Rome then. [She will not be at home.]
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 13:16

I am going to them.

I am coming to you.

You are coming to me. You are coming to us.

You are going to them.

When we use home or there in place of you, them, and me|us, it is possible to use going or coming. Which verb you would use depends on where the person you are speaking to is located.

If you are speaking (on the phone) to someone who is there at your home (parents, siblings, etc) you would say:

I am coming home. (similar to "I am coming to you, there at home")

If you are speaking to someone who is not there at your home but is there with you where you are now, you would say to them:

I am going home. (similar to "I am going to them, there at home")

  • Thank you for the answer. Just to make it more understandable, did you ommited the word 'back' intentionally? Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 22:57

Actually I am going back home .when we say that they/he/she not present at home.

And I am coming back home.when we say that they/he /she present at home.

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