I'm trying to explain the difference between "go to" and "go" and I'm not sure what the actual rule is. I've tried searching about it, but I couldn't find anything.

When should I use "go to" and when should I use "go?" For example, I should say "Let's go home" but not "Let's go to home." On the flip side, "Let's go to your house," but not "Let's go your house."

Can someone help me with the rule behind this?

  • Home is about the only one that doesn't need to, but there is a small set of locative words that don't need determiners (the, a, his, some, most): go to -∅- work/school/church/college/university (in the UK, also hospital), but go to my job/the store/a play/Bill's party – John Lawler Mar 17 '14 at 20:36
  • In this example, home is an adverb. One doesn't go to adverbs. – Anonym Mar 17 '14 at 20:49
  • @user61979 According to John Lawler, 'It's an adverbial prepositional phrase that has been stripped of its prepositions and determiners, leaving only a naked noun to stand for the whole phrase. [(]That's how a noun can be used as an adverb.[)]' – Edwin Ashworth Mar 17 '14 at 20:55
  • You can also go halves, go places, go yesterday, go today, go tomorrow, go bananas, go commando, go scat, go hippie, go country, go native, go stag, go bush, go ape, go fishing, go walkabout, go bust, go all the way, or go eyes wide open. Well, or go Dutch, but that doesn’t quite count. – tchrist Mar 17 '14 at 21:55
  • @tchrist But most of those things represent a state of mind, and follow the form "to go mad"; which I would have thought of as a composite verb. Perhaps the same thing as a verb + adverb? – WS2 Sep 4 '17 at 7:54

What do you notice that is different between your examples?

Let's go home.

Let's go to your house.

Allow me to give a different example:

Let's go to your home.

Are you seeing it? It's the possessive your. What happens when you throw that possessive in? Home goes from being an adverb (modifying go), to a noun which forms a part of an adverbial prepositional phrase. (I don't believe it fits the definition of the indirect object the going is not happening to the house, but rather toward it. Perhaps I'm wrong here.)

Home is a rare word that forms an adverb in this form.

On its own, your home isn't typically used as an adverbial phrase to modify go. Instead we make it part of the prepositional phrase to your home because it explains the action of going.

  • He can’t hear you. You can only reach his inbox if you name him in a comment chain that he himself is already part of, or which is affixed to one of his own postings. So you could only ask him in the original question’s chain, in this case. – tchrist Mar 18 '14 at 2:36
  • @tchrist Gotcha. Thanks. I was sort of hoping he was going to read down after his comment, anyway. – David M Mar 18 '14 at 3:19

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