In the dictionaries,

come on:To begin to operate.

  • "Set the oven to come on at six."
  • "When does the heating come on?"

go on:When a light, the electricity, etc., goes on, it starts to work.

  • "Suddenly all the lights went on."

go off:If a light, the electricity, etc. goes off, it stops working.

  • "Suddenly the lights went off."
  • "The heating goes off at night."

So, can we say:

"The computer went on/off."


"The computer came on/off."

If yes, What are the differences between them?

  • turn on/off could be another phrasal verb here.. Dec 30, 2020 at 12:54

2 Answers 2


Yes, no difference

Both "The computer went on/off" and "The computer came on/off" are valid and natural nonstarters, and there is no significant difference in meaning. They may be used interchangeably.

  • 4
    I'm pretty sure we wouldn't use came off in this context. It's usually come on/go off. Go on is possible, but come off sounds odd. Dec 30, 2020 at 9:29
  • @KateBunting, I changed a channel on my TV but there was nothing on the screen, although other channels were ok. Can I say "the channel didn't come on"?
    – Tom
    Dec 30, 2020 at 13:07
  • 1
    Yes, you could say that. Dec 30, 2020 at 13:40

Native Speakers probably would not phrase it that way.

We would more likely say:

The computer turned on

The computer started


The computer turned off

The computer shut down

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