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    #1

    come or go back

    I always have difficulty in explaining the difference between Come back and Go back and end up by telling my students to use the verb 'Return'
    For example, an Italian student wrote:
    " When you go to a school in the city,and then you come home you can relax in the countryside........

    I've read so many explanations about it depending on the position of the speaker, but it has only confused me more.
    Any suggestions?
    Thks

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: come or go back

    Quote Originally Posted by smusca View Post
    I always have difficulty in explaining the difference between Come back and Go back and end up by telling my students to use the verb 'Return'
    For example, an Italian student wrote:
    " When you go to a school in the city,and then you come home you can relax in the countryside........

    I've read so many explanations about it depending on the position of the speaker, but it has only confused me more.
    Any suggestions?
    Thks
    ♥♦♣♠ NOT A TEACHER ♥♦♣♠

    In most cases, it's precisely as you think - it depends on the position of the speaker. But have a look at the dialogue below:

    [woman talking to her man on the phone]
    Woman: Mike, I'm missing you so much. I just can't wait for you to come back.
    Man: No worries, honey. I'll be coming (not going) back soon.
    Woman: You promise?
    Man: Sure, babe.

    Mike is away from his home, and yet uses the verb come instead of go. Interesting, innit!
    Last edited by engee30; 01-Feb-2011 at 22:05.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: come or go back

    One comes towards the speaker, or where the speaker expects to be at the appropriate time.

    Peter is coming to see me tomorrow.

    The speaker comes towards the listener, or where the listener is expected to be at the appropriate time.

    I'll come to see you tomorrow, Ben.

    One goes away from the speaker or where the speaker expects to be at the appropriate time

    Alan is going to the zoo tomorrow.

    The speaker goes away from the listener, or where the listener is expected to be.

    I'm going to the zoo with Alan tomorrow.

    This difference is not so clearly observed with come/go with = accompany. It may be (this is only a suggestion) that:

    'Come
    to London with me next week' stresses the idea of accompanying me (to London), but
    'Go to London with me next week' stresses the idea of going to London (with me)
    Last edited by 5jj; 02-Feb-2011 at 14:28.

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    #4

    Re: come or go back

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30

    In most cases, it's precisely as you think - it depends on the position of the speaker. But have a look at the dialogue below:

    [woman talking to her man on the phone]
    Woman: Mike, I'm missing you so much. I just can't wait for you to come back.
    Man: No worries, honey. I'll be coming (not going) back soon.
    Woman: You promise?
    Man: Sure, babe.

    Mike is away from his home, and yet uses the verb come instead of go. Interesting, innit!
    The difficulty of explaining this issue arises because of the popular explanation of the difference between "come" and "go". Many people think that the difference is equvalent to the difference between "here" and "there". They think, "People come here. People go there."

    This is not the case, which we can easily see in your example. "Here", for the man, is obviously where he is. He wouldn't say that "here" is where the woman is. Yet he uses "come".

    This shows that the explanation I called popular is flawed. A better explanation is this. "Come" and "go" do not refer to "here" and "there", that is to the place where the speaker is. They refer to a group of people which is defined by the context. We use "come" to refer to moving to a place where there is at least one person of that group. We use "go" to refer to moving to a place where none of those people is.

    These are not my thoughts. I have taken them from this document. I tried to repeat what I read without using the difficult words Mr. Oshima uses. You will find there a more specific explanation of what the group of people mentioned above really is.

    PS: To read the article, knowing something about deixis seems necessary. There is good explanation of the term here.
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 02-Feb-2011 at 02:13. Reason: PS

  3. engee30's Avatar
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    #5

    Unhappy Re: come or go back

    Oh dear! For me to speak the way Mr Oshima presents his views on the topic (maths-like patterns) would be extremely difficult to achieve. But thanks for the link to the article anyways.

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    #6

    Re: come or go back

    I think "come" and "go" are now almost clear, thanks to what fivejedjon and birdeen's call wrote. Now what is the most simple and accurate way to transfer the meaning to students who are learning English as their second language. Perhaps we can act out some scenarios in the classroom, scenarios based on some examplary sentences. I do not expect an answer here but I think part of smusca's question concerns this problem. Sorry if irrelevent!

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: come or go back

    Quote Originally Posted by Khosro View Post
    I think "come" and "go" are now almost clear, thanks to what fivejedjon and birdeen's call wrote. Now what is the most simple and accurate way to transfer the meaning to students who are learning English as their second language.

    Thanks for the link, BC.

    Khosro, Perhaps one idea might be to have three matchstick figures on the board inside simple house diagrams, one labelled S(peaker in his/her home), one labelled L(isterner in his/her home), and one labelled with a name, eg, Tom (in his home). Also have another, labelled
    Z00 (or theatre, pub, etc).

    Then with an red pen for come and a blue for go, you can draw in arrows as you create simple sentences:

    I am going to the zoo. - blue arrow from S
    You are going to the zoo. - blue arrow from L
    Tom is going to the zoo. - blue arrow from T

    I am coming to your house. - red arrow to L
    Tom is comng to your house. -red arrow to L
    You are coming to my house. - red arrow to S.
    Tom is coming to my house. - red arrow to S.

    Then elicit coming/going with prompts:
    Tom - my house; you - zoo; I - Tom's house; etc.

    Then you could set up pair-work practice with similar prompts written on cards for each student.

    I should add here that, although I believe strongly that English should be used in the classroom as much as possible, I have always felt that L1 can, and should, be used if it makes life easier for the learners. So, if your leaners all have the same L1, and provided that you know for certain that their L1 has exact equivalents of come and go, then let them know this at some stage. (My opinion; others may well disagree.)

    On the other hand, if you know the L1, and know that there are not exact equivalents, create English sentences to bring out this fact. For example, if L1 has different words for go (on foot) and go (by car,bus,train,etc),make sure that some of your sample sentences are illustrated with a picture/diagram of a bus.

    Incidentally, bring functions in a similar way to come, take to go.

  6. Khosro's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: come or go back

    Good Idea, although you risk making them feel that they should always use "come" for houses and "go" for other places. I prefer a 4-player game, 3 as stations and the forth as someone who does all the going and coming.

    Luckily, there are exact equivalents for "go" and "come" in Persian.

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    #9

    Re: come or go back

    Quote Originally Posted by Khosro View Post
    Luckily, there are exact equivalents for "go" and "come" in Persian.
    In that case, you have no real problems. Even if you are a firm believer in not using Persian in the classroom, they shouldn't have any difficulty in understanding.

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    #10

    Re: come or go back

    Quote Originally Posted by Khosro View Post
    Good Idea, although you risk making them feel that they should always use "come" for houses and "go" for other places.
    Good point, but I used the 'houses' example only for an introductory stage. You can always change locations once they have got the basic idea.

    Your 4-player game sounds fine.

    Have fun.

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