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?


3 Answers 3


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


  • 4
    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
    Commented Jul 11, 2011 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
    Commented Jul 11, 2011 at 12:27
  • 2
    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
    Commented Jul 11, 2011 at 13:10
  • @Henry I agree with you. Take a look at this: “Playing upstairs” vs “Playing home”
    – B Faley
    Commented Jan 11, 2012 at 7:56
  • I’m pretty sure that my home is not an adverb.
    – tchrist
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 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.

  • +1 This answer also helped, but I think @JoseK's answer is more apt. Thank you. Commented Jul 12, 2011 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
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 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. Commented Feb 28, 2014 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". Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 16:09
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    Verbs of movement have no object. They are not transitive. You don't ask I'm going + whom/what. You ask I'm going + where to. Verbs of movement are a construction class of their own as they are followed by special indications as where to or taking what way (through the woods) or in which direction (this way, north).
    – rogermue
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 2:16

I go home. "Home" is an adverb of place that modifies verb "go".

I go to my home. "Home" is a noun, so we use preposition "to"+ noun "home" to complete the meaning.

I am home. Some authors mention "home" in this sentence is a noun. (You can find in dictionary,too). But I think it is not correct. "Home" in "I am home" is a noun. How can we use an adverb "home" after a liking verb "BE"? Therefore, "home" must be a noun and in this special situation the preposition "At" is dropped. That is why we write " I am at my home." (home = noun) I come home. (home = adverb of place) I come to my home (home= noun) I come back to my home> (home = noun. To comeback to = phrasal verb )

  • 2
    But people say "I'm at home" all the time. The only time I regularly hear people say "I'm home" is when they're calling out to the other people in the house to let them know they've arrived.
    – Catija
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 22:19

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