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While learning English, I was taught not to put 'to' in front of 'home'. I.e. "go to home" is incorrect, you should say "go home".

Is there a reason (maybe historical) for this?

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4  
Related: Prepositions used with “home”. –  RegDwigнt Jul 11 '11 at 9:27
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I thought it all dated from [URL:"epicure.demon.co.uk/latinlesson.html"] Romanes Eunt Domus...[/URL] :-) –  Rory Alsop Jul 11 '11 at 9:46
    
Related: “Playing upstairs” vs “Playing home” –  Meysam Jan 11 '12 at 7:54
    
@tchrist - exactly. You did follow the link, right? :-) –  Rory Alsop Jan 11 '12 at 8:53

2 Answers 2

up vote 19 down vote accepted

In this phrase "Go home", home is not a noun but an adverb

Specifically, it is an adverb of place

So you do not need a preposition like "to" prior to home.

The Longman Dictionary specifies

Do not use a preposition (a word such as 'at' or 'to') before home when it is an adverb

Other similar adverbs of place are listed below, and you can see you can use the same rule to all of them

abroad
anywhere
downstairs
here
home
in
nowhere
out
outside
somewhere
there
underground
upstairs

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This looks a little circular. How do I know when home is an adverb? In "I am going home", home must be an adverb because there is no preposition; in "I work at home", home cannot be an adverb because there is a preposition. And knowing this I can decide whether to use a preposition or not. –  Henry Jul 11 '11 at 12:14
    
@Henry: If you think about it, adverbs of place are describing where the <verb> happens. I "I work at <place>" home is obviously a noun. So you can have a preposition. –  JoseK Jul 11 '11 at 12:27
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Contrast "I am going home" and "I work at home" with "I am going upstairs" and "I work upstairs". It seems I have to know these phases in order to know when home is an adverb and when a noun, as it is sometimes possible to say "I work <adverb of place>". So the rule "Do not use a preposition (a word such as 'at' or 'to') before home when it is an adverb" is not helpful. –  Henry Jul 11 '11 at 13:10
    
@Henry I agree with you. Take a look at this: “Playing upstairs” vs “Playing home” –  Meysam Jan 11 '12 at 7:56
    
I’m pretty sure that my home is not an adverb. –  tchrist Apr 2 '13 at 19:07

I've never been happy with the suggestion of adverbial status of nouns that can just as easily be parsed as objects.

i.e. If "home" is where "I am going", then "home" is the object of the verb. For it to be an adverb, it would have to modify "going", which it doesn't (with "I am going quickly", "quickly" clearly modifies how the "going" is carried out).

The difference between nouns where we use "to" and where we don't is more to do with the non-specific meaning of the object noun.

"Home" is a non-specific place, in this context, in that you cannot put a determiner in front of it without losing its (intrinsic/abstract/personal) meaning:

i.e. none of these work: -- "I am going the home." -- "I am going that home." -- "I am going a home".

For specific places (you can tell they are specific, because you need a determiner to specify which one), the "to" is required.

I don't want to shout down Longmans, because they do an extremely difficult job very well, but sometimes they do drift a little from reality.

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+1 This answer also helped, but I think @JoseK's answer is more apt. Thank you. –  intellidiot Jul 12 '11 at 3:55
    
The adverb home does modify the verb: it lets us know the direction of motion. Some similar adverbial constructions are: Where did you go? I went away. Adverbs have several functions, only one of which describes manner. –  Anonym Feb 20 at 4:05
    
@mark wallace I've said it before, but I'll say it again, all adverbs are are attributes of attributes. In this case, 'I' is in the category of substance, 'go' is in the category of action (an attribute of substance) and 'home' is in the category of where, an attribute of the attribute of going. Aristotle's 10 categories are prior to grammar, which codifies the relationships between them. –  Leon Conrad Feb 28 at 13:46
    
OK I think I understand. In English we write or say, I am going home...not I am going "to" home. It's an exception (present continuous). It's confusing, especially since you can write or say "I am going to school" or "I am going to Church". It's an exception that you just have to learn. Of course, you can always say "I am going to my home". –  devenir riche 2 days ago

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