Chinese has words corresponding to “come” (來) and “go” (去), but the way they’re used is a little different from English. For this reason, using the English words correctly can be a challenge for Chinese speakers. Let’s go over some of the basic rules.
1. Come here. Go away!
The first and simplest rule is that we use “come” when we’re talking about “here” and “go” when we’re talking about other places — but “here” could be “here” for the speaker or “here” for the listener. Look at the example conversation below. Ann is speaking to her boss on the phone. Ann is at home, and the boss is at the office.
Ann: Hi, boss. It’s me, Ann. I’m really sorry, but I can’t come to the office this morning. A repairman is coming to fix my air conditioner at 10:00, and I have to be here when he comes.
Boss: But Mr. Chen is coming this morning! He’s an important customer, so I want you to be here. Can’t you ask the repairman to come in the afternoon?
Ann: I already asked him, but he can’t. He has to go to Taichung in the afternoon. Maybe I can go to Mr. Chen’s company this afternoon and talk to him there.
Boss: Yes, that should be okay.
Notice that both Ann and her boss use “come” when they talk about Ann’s home (“here” for Ann) and the office (“here” for the boss). When they talk about other places (Taichung and Mr. Chen’s company), they use “go.”
2. Come with me/you
We also use “come” to talk about accompanying the speaker or the listener somewhere.
- I’m going to the park. Do you want to come with me?
- Where are you going? Can I come, too?
3. Go = leave, come = arrive
If you mention a specific time with “go,” it should be the time you leave. If you mention a specific time with “come,” it should be the time you arrive.
- I usually go to work at 7:45 and arrive at 8:00.
- I leave work at 5:00 this evening, so I’ll probably come home at about 5:15.
4. Bring / take
The difference between “bring” and “take ” is similar to the difference between “come” and “go.” You bring things when you come, and you take things when go.
- When you come to class next week, please remember to bring a pencil.
- When you go home, don’t forget to take your pencil.
- When my dad comes home from a business trip, he always brings gifts for us.
- When I go out, I always take my cell phone.
If you’d like to learn more about English grammar and usage, just come to Eton You’ll learn a ton!
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