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Thread: Come/go


    • Join Date: Oct 2007
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    #1

    Come/go

    I know that the main difference is the direction, but would it be possible in some situations to use "come" although you are not in the place?

    --------------

    When I came to China, I didn't speak Chinese, but when I left, I did.

    or should it be

    When I went to China.....

    ---------------

    When the students come to class in the morning, it's only because they know that learning Enlgish is a good idea - not beacuse they want to study.

    or should it be

    When the student go to school...........
    (said when you are outside of the school)

    --------------

    What are the rules for the use of come/go?

    Thanks.

  1. I'm With Stupid's Avatar
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      • Member Type:
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    #2

    Re: Come/go

    Quote Originally Posted by solskinsglad View Post
    When I came to China, I didn't speak Chinese, but when I left, I did.

    or should it be

    When I went to China.....
    "When I came to China" would indicate that you are still in China, so in this example, it should be "When I went..."

    Quote Originally Posted by solskinsglad View Post
    When the students come to class in the morning, it's only because they know that learning Enlgish is a good idea - not beacuse they want to study.

    or should it be

    When the student go to school...........
    (said when you are outside of the school)
    This one is a bit different, because you are talking about a general truth, rather than a specific incident. Using "when students come to class" would indicate that you are present when it happens. However, it wouldn't necessarily indicate that you are in the location when you are saying it, as the China example would.

    Another situation where it would be acceptable to use "come" when you are referring to a different location to the one you are at would be when discussing the future. So for example, you would often say "Are you coming to the cinema tonight?" even though you aren't currently at the cinema. But it would indicate that you will be at the cinema. Whereas asking "Are you going to the cinema?" would suggest that you won't be there yourself.

    So yes, you would use "come" when you are in the location, and "go" when you are not in the location, in whatever tense you happen to be using it in. It can indicate that you were in the location (past), you are in the location (present), you will be in the location (future), or you are sometimes/often in the location (present perfect).

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