I'm not sure which one to use: I'm "coming" or "going" as I promised.

And why would I use that specific word instead of the other?

  • 1
    Coming is the opposite of going. You might as well ask if you should use the word black or white. It seems you don't know whether you're coming or going... – oerkelens May 11 '16 at 14:17
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    "I'm coming" means you're going to the person to whom you said "I'm coming." "I'm going" means you're going somewhere but it is not to the listener. However, if you say "I'm coming" to someone spatially close to you you, it means that you'll be back. – vickyace May 11 '16 at 14:24

It depends on your relationship to the place where you are and where the recipient of your message is. If, for instance, you are at work and there is a meeting you are both expected to attend, then you would say, "I am going to the meeting as I promised." If your colleague is already at the meeting and waiting for you, then you would say, "I am coming to the meeting as I promised." Where are you in relation to the place? Where is your recipient? You would tell a colleague at work, "I am going home now," but if you are on the phone with your spouse who is already at your home, you would say, "I am coming home now."

So in each case, ask yourself, "Am I coming or going?" in relationship to the recipient.

  • Thanks for your help folks! I'm asking this because I moved interstate for uni and I promised my high school friends that I would visit them during holidays! So I would use "I'm coming" instead of "I'm going" – Brandon May 11 '16 at 15:46
  • @Brandon See Wikipedia for "going to" as referring to the future. – ab2 May 11 '16 at 18:55
  • @Mark Hubbard -- +1 for your answer, but there is a complication that you did not address in your answer as illustrated by this example: "I'm going to come home and see you as soon as I get over this cold." – ab2 May 11 '16 at 19:12
  • @ab2 -- That is an interesting complication. I struggled with others as well but decided to keep my answer as simple as possible. Thank you for your comments, link to Wikipedia and up-vote. – Mark Hubbard May 12 '16 at 15:24

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