From Cambridge Dictionary

A/an and the are articles. They are a type of determiner and they go before a noun.

According to which, I could say

Articles go before a noun.

From a tutorial

Articles are a challenging part of speaking English but they're a really important part. They give information about the noun that they come before.

So, I could also say

Articles come before a noun.

I completely understand the meaning of those sentences. I would just like to figure out the situations where "come before" and "go before" are interchangeable.

"come before" and "go before" are interchangeable in this situation, right? Is there any other situations where "come" and "go" are interchangeable?

  • There is a specific equivalence between the verbal phrases go before and come before. Without the addition of before, come and go would almost never be interchangeable. You can't analyze the single words on their own in this context. Another pair of verbal phrases like this is come here and go here (in the context of pointing to a place on a map, for instance). Commented May 26, 2020 at 15:26
  • It's like "A slim chance" or "fat chance". Yes they're antonyms, but in one specific example, they're interchangeable (in this case, because "fat" is used sarcastically). Commented May 27, 2020 at 1:09

1 Answer 1


One basic difference between the two (come and go) is that come signifies motion toward the speaker:

Hey, James! Come here.

and go signifies either general motion or motion away from the speaker:

Go away! Stop disturbing me!

But just like Jason Bassford said in the comment, without before, they can almost never be used interchangeably.

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