Come vs. go
Go usually expresses a movement away from the position the speaker is in now; come expresses a movement towards the speaker. Imagine you are at school. The time is 9.30 a.m. I had to go to Jimmy’s to pick up some books; then I went to the post office before I came to school.
Sometimes the speaker is in one place but imagines that they are already in another place. When Thomas meets Marta in Spain, he invites her to Switzerland. He says:
‘Would you like to come and visit me in Bern?’ (He imagines he is there and so her movement is towards him.)
We can also imagine that the listener is in a different place. Talking to Marta, Thomas says:
‘I’ll come to your flat at 7.30 p.m.’ (She will be at home, as his movement is towards her.)
Note: It is a similar difference between bring and take:
I think I’ll take my bike to the match and Peter can bring it back here tomorrow.
Different meanings of ‘go’
• When you leave a place in order to do an activity, you often express it either with go + ing noun or go (out) + for a + noun. Here are some common examples:
We could go shopping / riding (on horses)
They went sightsceing / swimming (also ‘for a swim’).
Let’s go (out) for a drive.
She wants to go (out) for a walk / (out) for a drink / (out) for a meal.
• Go is followed by certain adjectives to describe a change in state (usually to a worse state) with the meaning ‘become‘ (get is also used with some adjectives).
My brother’s hair is going grey, and my father is going bald. (= losing all his hair)
The company went bankrupt last year. (= lost all its money and had to stop operating)
My grandmother is going deaf. (deaf = cannot hear)
He’ll go mad (= get very angry) if you wear his jacket.
• It is often used to describe the speed something is traveling (also do):
We were going about 80 kph when the accident happened.
• When you want to say/ask if a road or form of transport takes you somewhere:
Does this bus go to (= take me to) the National Gallery?
I don’t think this road goes to (= leads to) the station.
I’ve never tried bungee jumping but I’d love to have a go. (= try it)
How’s it going? (= How are you?) And you can use the same question if you want to know if something is easy, difficult, enjoyable, etc. For example, if you arc doing an exercise in class, your teacher may ask:
How’s it going? (also How are you getting on?)
It’s my go (also it’s my turn). This expression is used in games such as chess or monopoly where you move from one player to another, then back.
You can consolidate your knowledge now by passing a test.
Good luck Zealots.