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I’d rather come with you.

I'd rather go with you.

Is there any difference between them?

I think 'come' has the opposite meaning of 'go'

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    They both mean the same in those 2 sentences. There is no difference in meaning, despite the different meanings of 'come' and 'go' in other types of sentence. May 29, 2023 at 13:44
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    You are right, they mean different things but you have to learn about "come to where the speaker is" and "go away from where the speaker ic".
    – Lambie
    May 29, 2023 at 23:29
  • Related: 'Bring' vs. 'Take' | Merriam-Webster (covering motion towards, motion away, and motion with)
    – wjandrea
    May 30, 2023 at 15:13

3 Answers 3

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In that context with "with", the meanings are just about the same. There are a couple slight differences between the two.

First, "come" suggests joining that person on the trip, as if it's the other person's trip, and the speaker wishes to join that trip, and they'll travel together as a unit.

"Go" doesn't have this nuance, and merely means travel together. It could mean joining the group and travelling as a unit, or it could mean the speaker following the other person without their assent.

Second, "come" implies that they will travel to some place together, while "go" merely means they will leave at the same time, but possibly not go the same way afterwards. For instance, if the two people are leaving a party at the same time, "come" means they'll travel together for at least some part of the trip, but "go" only means they'll leave at the same time.

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    The OP didn't ask about the general differences between "go" and "come", but rather about "go with you" vs. "come with you", which are nearly identical. You've assumed the OP has no idea what the difference is between them normally, even though the question states, "I think 'come' has the opposite meaning of 'go'", which means this is a question about the nuance of these two sentences.
    – gotube
    May 30, 2023 at 7:59
  • I disagree with your fourth paragraph. Come and go have the same amount of implication regarding the distance travelled. You can say "I'll come with you" intending "to the exit" and also say the same with "go"
    – The Z
    May 30, 2023 at 15:02
  • @TheZ I'm not following your example. How does that differ from what they're describing?
    – wjandrea
    May 30, 2023 at 15:07
  • @wjandrea I mean that come and go have the same implication of "travel together for at least some part of the trip." I don't think it's possible to use "go with" without meaning travel together for at least a part of the trip (even if at least to the exit). Maybe my example wasn't the best at illustrating the point.
    – The Z
    May 30, 2023 at 15:40
  • No, go with you and come with you are not nearly identical. Scenario: A mother is standing next to her car. There is a second car, too and she says to her son: "Do you want to come with me or do you prefer to go with your Uncle Harry?". [come with me the speaker, go away from the speaker to the other car]. Here, the mother would never say come with Uncle Harry in this situation.
    – Lambie
    May 30, 2023 at 17:09
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The words "come" and "go" are two sides of the same coin.

When you come somewhere, you also go there. When you go somewhere, you also come there.

"Come" just means "go" but when you think of the destination as being close either literally or figuratively to either the subject, speaker, or audience.

So, if you are at home, you might say "He came home," but if you are at school, you would say "He went home."

If you are speaking to someone at home, you would say "I will come home." If you are at work and speaking to someone at their work, you would say "I will go home."

The phrases "I will come with you" and "I will go with you" mean about the same. They mean you intend to leave or start a journey with someone.

As for "I will go with you," that is self-explanatory. The object of the going is "somewhere." It means "I will go (somewhere) with you." Sometimes it just means "to the exit."

As for "I will come with you," that is a bit more confusing. In my experience, this is usually meant as a shortening of "I will come to you and go with you." The intention is that the person whom you are joining is either literally or figuratively between you and the destination, so you first come to him (and he is closer to both you, the speaker, and him, the audience) before going to the destination (which is further).

In common parlance, when you say either phrase, it is because the person is somehow closer to the destination. So, even if "go with you" does not have this implication in the words, it is usually said when the implication exists through context anyway.

But, you can think up scenarios when the speaker is closer to the destination and is forced to use "go with you" instead of "come with you."

For example, if a person is leaving and he only has room in his car for one person and two people want to go with him, he can only say "I'd rather go with you." That is because he is (figuratively) closer to the destination than his audience.

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  • Come does not mean go! If you say to someone, "Why did you come here today?" that is certainly NOT "Why did you go here today?".
    – Lambie
    May 30, 2023 at 16:52
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    @Lambie I didn't say it just means go. I said it means go with the additional implication that "you think of the destination as being close either literally or figuratively to either the subject, speaker, or audience."
    – The Z
    May 30, 2023 at 17:29
  • For example, if a person is leaving and he only has room in his car for one person and two people want to go with him, he can only say "I'd rather go with you." That doesn't make much sense to me. I'd rather you come with me.
    – Lambie
    Sep 4, 2023 at 14:41
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go away from where where a speaker is.

  • We went to school today. [we are not at that location]
  • We came to school today. [We are at that location.]
  • They went to school today. [They are not in that location.]

Come to a place where the speaker is.

"I want you to come home early, Johnny." [on the phone to her son from home] "I want you to go home early, Johnny." [on the phone to her son while not at home]

We are at school. We came here this morning.

You and I are at my house and I say to you: "I'd rather come here next time with you. Not alone."

We are not at your house. We are in the park and I say to you: "I'd rather go to your house with you and not stay here."

Scenario: A mother is standing next to her car. There is a second car, too and she says to her son: "Do you want to come with me or do you prefer to go with your Uncle Harry?". [come with me the speaker, go away from the speaker to the other car]. Here, the mother would never say come with Uncle Harry in this situation.

Scenario: The mother and son are at the park, and she says: "I want you to come home early tonight."

Why does that work? Because the mother is a synecdoche for home. It's as if her person was a home and the son is coming to it.

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    The question seems more likely to be asking about a potential future trip, in which case the meanings are very similar. Imagine Mum and Johnny are both at home, Mum says "I'm going to the shops now, you should stay here and do your homework." Johnny says "I'd rather come/go with you."
    – Showsni
    May 30, 2023 at 2:52
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    Even in general terms, this is not true. Unlike some languages, English does not distinguish come/go by the speaker’s actual location, but by the location of the subject at the moment which is notionally emphasised in the utterance. In ‘I want you to come/go home early’, either verb can be used regardless of whether the speaker is currently at school, depending on whether Johnny’s current location (at home) or his in-context location (at his friend’s house) is emphasised. It’s the context of the narrative, not the speaker’s location, that determines which to use. May 30, 2023 at 8:11
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    Correction: that should have said “but by the location of the speaker or the subject” (in actual fact, it can be another person in the discourse as well – ‘he wants me to come over’ – but speaker and subject are the most common). A brief, but good, description of how these verbs actually work is given in CGEL, 1550–1553. May 30, 2023 at 8:21
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    Come/go are like bring/take in that both pairs consist of a source-oriented verb and a goal-oriented verb, yes. But your claim that the entire Anglosphere is ‘misusing’ them (and have been for centuries) by using them exactly as English grammars describe is bizarre. It is not misuse. You may not use them like that, but everyone else does, because that’s how they work in English. May 30, 2023 at 17:25
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    Language and meaning are descriptive of people's usage. They aren't prescriptions. If English speakers commonly say something that seems to violate a rule, it's the rule that is a bad description of English, not the speakers that are wrong.
    – The Z
    May 30, 2023 at 17:35

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