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My friend and I had a long debate over a particular phrase. We wanted to know if either of us planned to attend an event arranged somewhere at a future date. Neither of us was hosting the event.

She asked me "would you come to event?" I told her she should phrase the question as "would you go to event?"

Does "would you come" indicate that she plans to attend that event and is just asking me to accompany her?

I'm not sure which is correct. Can someone clarify?

3 Answers 3

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While both 'go' and 'come' are perfectly correct, in normal usage 'come' implies a movement towards the speaker. 'Go' implies a movement to somewhere the speaker is not. This doesn't always mean a literal presence, but at least a potential presence or association.

I would use 'come to the event' if:

  • I am hosting the event
  • I am at the event, or intending to be at the event
  • I am in some way associated with the event

So, for example:

I am going to the event. Are you coming?"

but

I am not going to the event. Are you going?

However I think you will find that this is too strict for most people's usage, and you are unlikely to be corrected for using 'go' and 'come' interchangeably here.

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  • Then what would be the equally ambiguous response to this question, If I do not want to reveal what my plan about this event is?
    – Just
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 18:44
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Both "Would you come?" and "Would you go?" are perfectly fine. Theoretically, the former focuses on the viewpoint of the people who are at the event and want to know whether the person being asked will join them, while the latter focuses on the viewpoint of the person being asked. However, this distinction rarely matters. If you wanted to emphasize the aspect of accompanying someone, you would need to make that explicit, but either verb would work: "Would you come with me?" or "Would you go with me?"

By the way, the full question would be "Would you come to the event?" or "Would you go to the event?"

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  • I think the distinction matters a little more than you give it credit for. It would be a bit misleading for you to ask somebody if they would come to the event if you had no intention of going yourself. If you asked that, and they said "yes", went to the event, and discovered you weren't there, they may be reasonably confused or annoyed.
    – Jason C
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 15:22
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"Would you go..." is when she is unsure of attending it.

"Would you come..." is when she is hosting or is planning (applies to your case) to attend the even.

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