Why don't you come/go with us?


I have a question on the difference between come and go.

I vaguely know— ‘come’ is used in a situation in which the person whom the speaker talk to(i.e., the hearer) is involved. So, ‘why don’t you go with us’ sounds odd to me.

What do you native speakers think? What’s the difference between come and go? Actually, in Korean, the two are sometimes translated in the same word depending on the context. Come and go is a kind of words that Korean students feel difficult. Please help me out!

Thank you in advance,

“Come” usually indicates that in the speaker’s mind the other person is approaching him, physically or otherwise. “Go” usually means leaving the point where the people are located and moving to another place.

If someone says, “Why don’t you come to the movies with us?” the speaker is imagining the listener joining the group (i.e., approaching them) and accompanying them to the movies.

If the same person, in the same situation, says, “Why don’t you go to the movies with us?” he is imagining everyone as a group leaving their present location and going to the movies together.

Everything depends on what the speaker is picturing in his or her mind.

You can understand this better if you read up on something called “deixis”. It seems that none of the English web pages on deixis explain it clearly, so I recommend you look it up in Korean.

Wow, thank you for your easy-to-understand explanation, Jamie. Actually, I remember the term ‘deixis’ which I learnt at school. I think your explanation is enough for me but I’ll check up my linguistic books again! Thank you!