Improve Your Vocabulary | Confusing English Verbs

Lesson Overview

I can already hear you saying… “Emma! Go and Come? These verbs are easy!” You’re right – they are simple verbs.
But they actually have very similar meanings. And for that reason, they are often used incorrectly by English learners!

In this lesson, we’ll take a close look at the differences, so that you can feel more confident when you use them.

Video Transcript
Section 1
Hello! I’m Emma from mmmEnglish! If I put these verbs in front of you, you’d probably tell me that they’re simple! They’re easy! You know them, right?

These are simple verbs. But they are quite similar to each other. But they are quite similar to each other. So in this lesson, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between them so that you can feel more confident when you use them.

Am I going? Or am I coming?

These two verbs both describe movement between the person speaking and someone else. Or something else. But the difference is in the direction of the movement.

When you use come, the movement is from somewhere else to where the speaker is. And when I say somewhere else, that could be the other side of the world, or it could just be the other side of the room. It doesn’t matter! What is important is the direction of the movement. From somewhere, to the speaker. So in this case, it’s me. So it’s from somewhere, to the speaker.

  • Are you coming to our house for dinner tonight?
  • Are you coming to Melbourne next month?
  • Tell me when you’re coming to Australia.

Go is usually used when the movement happens in the opposite direction. From, where the speaker is to another place.

  • Are you going to Thailand for the holidays?

So here, the speaker lives somewhere else, not in Thailand. And they’re not in Thailand at the time of speaking.

  • Are you going to Ben’s party on Friday?

So that’s from the place, where you are or you usually are, to Ben’s party.

Now if I was at Ben’s party and I called you, I could say:

  • Are you coming to Ben’s party?

So I’m asking if you’ll move from the place where you are, to Ben’s party. So I used come.

So far, so good, right? Now you might be talking about another person, someone who is not the speaker or the listener. You’re talking about other people. Or something else. And this is where things can get a little tricky! Because you can use either come or go. Look at this example.

  • My mum came to help me.

So this is simple, because I’m part of this activity. She came to me.

But here, my mum went to help my brother.

  • My mum came to help my brother.

Now both of these sentences are correct. I could use either come or go. But it depends on whose viewpoint I take. Which person, who’s involved in the activity am I describing or giving information about?

You use go when you’re using the viewpoint of the person doing the action.

  • My mum went to help my brother. My mum is doing the action.

And you use come, when you use the receiver’s viewpoint, the person who is receiving the action.

  • My mum came to help my brother. So my brother is receiving the action. So we’ve used come.

Now these two verbs are made much clearer with a door. ‘Come in‘ and ‘go in‘ are both ways to instruct someone to enter a room or a building. But, there’s a difference!

So I can say to you, “let’s go in” Let’s go from where we are, to another place, or inside.

Or when I’m inside, and you’re outside, I can say “Come in“. Move from where you are, towards me. Come inside the house.

Okay so let’s change the context.

  • Are you coming to Sarah’s wedding?

So this suggests, that the speaker will also be at the wedding.

  • Are you going to Sarah’s wedding?

Now this suggests that the speaker may be not going there. Or maybe they haven’t decided yet.

  • Are you going to visit your sister?

So that’s in a place that is away from the listener’s current place.

  • Are you coming to visit your sister?

And here, we’re being a bit more specific. The listener is in a different place. But, they’ll move to the location of their sister. And probably the speaker too.

So there you have it! Some really important differences to keep in mind about the verbs, go and come. You thought they were simple, but maybe you learnt a couple of new things about using them. If you enjoyed this lesson, please let me know by liking the video and writing in the comments as well.

Let me know what you think. And of course, subscribe! That red button down there!

Now if you’re feeling up to the challenge, you can help to translate this lesson into your native language, to help other English learners like you, to study with this lesson.

You can translate the captions, that is, the white text at the bottom of this screen, and the link to do that is in the description under this video.

So are you ready to try another lesson? Try either of these two right here. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week. Bye for now!

Links mentioned in the video

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