Suppose a lonely mother who has a son who does not give his mother a call for a long time (he doesn't go to his mother home to make sure what is going on and how is his mother's conditions from each viewpoint); then once when son for a reason goes to her home, mother wants to ask (kindly and with a smile on her lips) why you do not visit me at all for a long time; in this scenario do the following sentences mean the same? Which one doesn't sound natural and why? If no what is the difference between them?

  • Why don’t you come in?
  • Why don’t you drop in?
  • Why don’t you check in?
  • Why don’t you step in?
  • Why don’t you come by?
  • Why don’t you drop by?
  • Why don’t you check by?
  • Why don’t you step by?
  • Why don’t you come over?

1 Answer 1


The thing she wants is a visit. These two specifically imply visiting

drop in

come over

come in and step in is used when a person is already at the door

check in is used to make contact, perhaps by phone, not really what she wants here.

come by drop by implies a sort of fleeting, unintentional visit

step by check by are not phrases I know or use

However any of your phrases sounds a bit peevish or critical. A clever mother praises her son.

How lovely to see you, so thoughtful of you to come over. It's so nice when you drop in to see me.

  • Thank you very much; but would they take an object pronoun? E.g. is it possible to say "why don't you drop in to me?) OR (why don't you come over to me?)
    – A-friend
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 16:56
  • 1
    No, no object. You can use a "to ..." qualifier like: Drop in to see me. This needs to be a separate question if you want more detail.
    – djna
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 17:05
  • 1
    @A-friend no. You need to say "Why don't you drop in to see me?" or "Why don't you come over to meet me?" Also, I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation of "come by" and "drop by"... I think they are perfectly fine in this case, if a bit informal. The implication being that there's no need for an appointment.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 17:06

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