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Does "go to" mean "arrive" or "depart"?

Example:

Let's assume the time of talking is 20:30.

If we go to his place right now, we will see him playing computer games.

Does this mean that if we arrive at his place at 20:30, we will see him playing computer games?

or

Does this mean that if we head off to his place at 20:30, we will see him playing computer games at a future time?


New content (2023/09/23):

The original question is a bit too confusing, but I will just leave it there because the question has sparkled insights.

I have come up with better and simpler questions to tackle the meaning of "go."

Example 2

"I went to a place at 8 p.m."

Does this mean I arrived there at 8 p.m. or I departed for it at 8 p.m.? Is it dependent on the context?

Example 3

"I will go to a place at 8 p.m."

Does this mean I will arrive there at 8 p.m. or I will depart for it at 8 p.m.? Is it dependent on the context?

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    If you are talking at 20:30, how could you arrive at his place at 20:30. That's the same time. The interpretation of the exact time will be context dependent. The meaning of "go to" is not precise with respect of time.
    – James K
    Apr 16, 2023 at 12:44
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    I go to bed at 11 PM and arrive in bed at 11 PM (my bedroom is in the same house), but when I go to work at 7 AM I arrive there some time later, usually just before 8 AM. Apr 16, 2023 at 18:18
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    I changed "head off" to "depart" because "head off" has another meaning (to cut someone or something off). (Also, the single-word "depart" is more parallel with the single-word "arrive".) Apr 16, 2023 at 18:57
  • GO = leave, COME = arrive Sep 22, 2023 at 18:20
  • "go" is in a category of very general words, and so it's more context dependent than others. You have to interpret the probable meaning.
    – Sam
    Sep 23, 2023 at 22:13

1 Answer 1

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It is completely contextual. "Let's go at 8pm" would often mean depart at that time. But, if you had already discussed arrival times and 8pm was an option, then it could mean you intend to arrive at that time so need to depart sooner. For example, let's say you were looking to go to the movies and there were showings of your desired film at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm. "Let's go at 8pm" could indicate that you intend to arrive in time for the 8pm showing.

However, you'll find that most people are precise about time and choose their words carefully to avoid any ambiguity. In British English it is idiomatic to say "let's go for 8pm", or something even more precise such as "let's leave at 7:30 to be there for 8".

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