Come vs. go?

9 replies
1 2
Anonymous:
Hello,

A. I'm upstairs. I'll go down there.
B. I'm upstairs. I'll come down there.

C. I'm busy at home. You can't go here.

D. I'm busy at home. You can't come here.

E. I can't go to the party tonight.

F. I can't come to the party tonight.

Questions:

1. Could you please tell me which of the sentences above are correct?
2. Is there a difference in meaning between A and B, C and D, and E and F?

I would very much appreciate your assistance.
A. I'm upstairs. I'll go down there.
B. I'm upstairs. I'll come down there. -- Both are fine and have the same intent; it depends on where the listener is.

D. I'm busy at home. You can't come here.-- Only this one is a reasonable choice.

E. I can't go to the party tonight.
F. I can't come to the party tonight. -- Both are fine and have the same intent; it depends in part on where the listener is.
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Anonymous:
This makes more sense to me now. Thanks very much. Emotion: smile
Anonymous:
Hello,

I thought of other examples but can't seem to apply the rule that usage of go/come depends on where the listener is.

G. Can I go with her to the operating room?
H. Can I come with her to the operating room?

I. I am coming back to Paris next month.
J. I am going back to Paris next month.

Questions:

1. Are all sentences above reasonable?
2. Is the listener in G probably right in front of you?
3. In H, is the listener probably in the operating room and talking with you over the phone?
4. In examples I and J, suppose I am just writing the sentence for an article. Of course, it is not possible to tell where the reader is. In this case, can I use either?

I would really appreciate your explanation.
The difficulty is that, all in all, it depends on where the speaker and listener and target all are, and how the speaker is conceiving of their spatial relationships. For instance, we often, for courtesy, assume the listener's viewpoint when it contrasts with our own: (on the phone) 'I'll come to your house tomorrow at 8'.-- irrespective of where the two people are at the moment.

G. Can I go with her to the operating room?
H. Can I come with her to the operating room?

I. I am coming back to Paris next month.
J. I am going back to Paris next month.

Questions:

1. Are all sentences above reasonable?-- Yes

2. Is the listener in G probably right in front of you?-- No indication of location whatsoever.

3. In H, is the listener probably in the operating room and talking with you over the phone?-- No, and 'no' on logical grounds also. He is probably talking to the doctor or nurse, though.

4. In examples I and J, suppose I am just writing the sentence for an article. Of course, it is not possible to tell where the reader is. In this case, can I use either?-- Yes, but it probably depends on the rest of the article and how the writer is portraying the locations.
SystemAdministrator: A system administrator takes care of the inner workings of the entire system. These users have the ability to promote, ban and modify other users.Teachers: Users in this role are certified teachers. This may include DELTA, CELTA, TESOL, TEFL qualified professionals. Email a scan of your qualification to an admin, if you wish to be considered.
Anonymous:
Thanks for your explanation. This is much clearer to me now. However, I still don't understand why the following is not logical:
Mister Micawber3. In H, is the listener probably in the operating room and talking with you over the phone?-- No, and 'no' on logical grounds also. He is probably talking to the doctor or nurse, though.

Isn't it logical to assume that the doctor or nurse is likely talking with us on the phone and answers the question with: "Yes, you can come with her here in the operating room,"?

Going back to example C, could you please explain why go here is not reasonable?

C. I'm busy at home. You can't go here.

Please bear with me. I really want to completely understand the idea behind their usage. Big thanks.
3-- People don't use phones in operating rooms.
C-- 'go' + 'here' is too odd.
SystemAdministrator: A system administrator takes care of the inner workings of the entire system. These users have the ability to promote, ban and modify other users.Teachers: Users in this role are certified teachers. This may include DELTA, CELTA, TESOL, TEFL qualified professionals. Email a scan of your qualification to an admin, if you wish to be considered.
Anonymous:
Thanks again for your response. Just a few last questions if you don't mind, please, just to confirm whether I have understood everything in this topic.
Mister MicawberA. I'm upstairs. I'll go down there.
B. I'm upstairs. I'll come down there. -- Both are fine and have the same intent; it depends on where the listener is.
1. Is the speaker in A speaking from his viewpoint, whilst B from the listener's viewpoint?
2. Where is the listener, possibly, in A and B, taking into account that usage of go/come depends on where the listener is?

You say: C-- 'go' + 'here' is too odd.

Is 'go' + 'here' too odd that one should always avoid using it?
Suppose I am holding and looking at a map, and then I give an instruction to someone, can I say, "Go here in this area if you need to withdraw cash,"? Or it should be "Come here in this area..."?

Incidentally, can we combine two prepositions with a verb like come in up (meaning come inside and come upstairs where I am at the moment)?

Thanks very much for your patience. I owe you this one. Emotion: smile
1. Is the speaker in A speaking from his viewpoint, whilst B from the listener's viewpoint?- Yes, that is how I view them, though A could still be speaking from the listener's viewpoint if the listener is not downstairs (see #2 below). We'll never know.

2. Where is the listener, possibly, in A and B, taking into account that usage of go/come depends on where the listener is?-- in A, the listener is upstairs or somewhere other than downstairs; in B she's downstairs.

You say: C-- 'go' + 'here' is too odd.

Is 'go' + 'here' too odd that one should always avoid using it?-- I'm not sure; it just seems wrong here. If the distances are short, for instance, as on a game board, I would easily say 'I'll go here with my game piece'.

Suppose I am holding and looking at a map, and then I give an instruction to someone, can I say, "Go here in this area if you need to withdraw cash,"?-- Yes
Or it should be "Come here in this area..."?-- Yes, if the speaker will be in that area when the listener comes.

Incidentally, can we combine two prepositions with a verb like come in up (meaning come inside and come upstairs where I am at the moment)?-- Not those like that, but it is a common structure: ' I went out on the rooftop', etc. 'Come in up the stairs' seems a reasonable, casual utterance to me.
SystemAdministrator: A system administrator takes care of the inner workings of the entire system. These users have the ability to promote, ban and modify other users.Teachers: Users in this role are certified teachers. This may include DELTA, CELTA, TESOL, TEFL qualified professionals. Email a scan of your qualification to an admin, if you wish to be considered.
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