Would you please tell me if there any difference in meaning between come and come along in the context below.

We were having a party, but not many people came because of the bad weather.

We were having a party, but not many people came along because of the bad weather.

Dictionaries define both come and come along to mean arrive at a place, so going by them they mean the exact same thing. Dictionaries don't always explain nuances, so I'd like to know if there is a nuance of difference in meaning between the two in the context.

  • 1
    The short answer is that only came is really correct here, but the nuance of why "came long" to mean "arrive" isn't really correct is difficult to explain. I think you might need to consult a better dictionary, though, because come/come along don't mean exactly the same thing; see merriam-webster.com/dictionary/come-along for example.
    – stangdon
    Dec 7, 2022 at 22:26
  • Agree. I think M-W #3 is kind of what you're going for here, but "come along" in that sense isn't always idiomatic. Doesn't seem to work very well in the negative.
    – cruthers
    Dec 8, 2022 at 1:03
  • What dictionary defines "come along" as "arrive at a place"?
    – gotube
    Dec 8, 2022 at 2:49
  • @gotube: this one dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/come-along and this one Dec 8, 2022 at 9:32
  • Also, a book called "English Phrasal Verbs in Use" by Micheal McCarthy and Felicity O'Dell on the page (page 16) for the phrasal "come along" they give this example: "Not many people bought tickets for the concert in advance, but quite a few came along and bought tickets at the door." Dec 8, 2022 at 9:41

1 Answer 1


The second sentence isn't correct.

To "come along" has some nuanced meanings, none of which apply to arriving at a party. One is "randomly happen to arrive at a place", and another is "arrive at a place with someone else or where someone else is"

The six examples at cambridge.org fit into these two meanings:

randomly happen to arrive at a place:

You wait half an hour for a bus, then three come along at once!
We were just standing talking when Jamie came along.
Pete came along in his car and offered us a lift.
I was waiting at the airport when who should come along but Mr Pettigrew!

arrive at a place with someone else:

Go now and I'll come along later.
We're going to the swimming pool - you can come along later if you want.

Neither meaning applies to your example sentence because it doesn't make sense to say either that people didn't randomly happen to arrive at the party due to the weather, or that people didn't arrive with other people due to the weather.

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