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For these two expressions

Some of my friends will come at 6 in the evening.

Some of my friends will come around at 6 in the evening.

I would like to know if these two expression differ in meaning? Does adding around change the meaning?

2 Answers 2

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The version with come is a bit more formal, and implies that your friends are coming specifically to visit, or at least that the main purpose of their trip is to come to your house (to be at your party, to play poker, to have dinner, to watch the big sporting event, etc.).

The version with come around is more informal, and implies that their visit to you may be only one portion of their outing, and possibly quite brief or minor; they may intend to go see a movie, or eat at a restaurant, or some other thing, after they have stopped to visit you for a while. Indeed, they could be "coming around" simply to pick you up to go with them.

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    So just plain come would be like arrive or maybe show up, while come around would be like stop over.
    – tchrist
    Feb 27, 2013 at 23:36
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Around adds a degree of informality and approximation to the second that is lacking in the first.

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    Informality, yes, but approximation would more likely be expressed as "will come at around 6". To me, "come around" in this sense is equivalent to "come by" or "drop in". (Bias: northeast U.S.) Feb 28, 2013 at 17:01
  • @barbara beeton. That is true, but the informality of come around itself suggests a less than precise hour. Feb 28, 2013 at 17:18
  • I guess we differ here. I agree about the imprecision, but to me, it has nothing to do with time, more with whether the visitors will arrive at all. Feb 28, 2013 at 17:24

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