He is home
He is at home
He went home
I know that in the sentence 1 and 3 the word home is considered an adverb and in the sentence 2, home is considered a noun.
According to Rod Mitchell, a famous linguist and English expert who answers questions on LinkedIn, the word "home" is always a noun and may be a verb too but it is not an adverb.
Here are excerpts of Rod Mitchell's explanation which show that home is a noun and may be a verb but not an adverb.
"Home" is not an adverb, no. It is a noun.
My home is in the city of Milan.
The old folks' home is putting on a special show tonight for fundraising.
Home is where the heart is.
It can also be a verb:
The smart bomb homed in on the target.
Homing pigeons are so called because they always home in on their home.
"home" as a verb shows movement towards/to the home of the thing moving. "Home" as a noun basically refers to the place where someone or something belongs (which is why we say "Home is where the heart is").
Old English was a case marking language. All nouns were marked in various ways for four cases, nominative, accusative, dative and genitive. Being an Indo-European Germanic language, in Old English, the accusative had two main uses, one being to show the direct object, and the other to show movement in relationship to the noun. The dative showed indirect object and fixed position.
The case marking showed the role of the NP in the sentence, and adpostions were only used to refine that role.
So, in Old English, "hām"(as it was written and pronounced 1000 years ago) had the accusative form "hām" (Old English nouns made no formal difference between nominative and accusative), and the dative form "hāme" (the modern spelling "home" is from what originally was the dative).
- ic gā hām = I go (to) home.
- ic eam hāme = I am (at) home.
- ic gā ēast = I go (to) east.
- ic eam ēaste =I am in the east.
As English evolved, overt case marking, except for the genitive 's, eroded, and so for some centuries now, not only have prepositions become relatively more important, to the extent of being equal in semantic value and functional load to nouns, adjectives and verbs. However, we have quite a few "relicts" of case marking, such as "home", "back", "north", "south", "east", "west" (and their combinations), "this week" and "next year", where in contexts where the locational reference is clear, prepositions are not used.
So, what we have in the case of "go home", "stay home", "go east", "Milan is north of Florence", "come back next week", are prepositional phrases, namely sentence adjuncts, that add "locative" content, namely locational, temporal, etc.
In traditional grammar, one claim was that there were four main word/phrase types, nominals, verbals, adjectivals and adverbials – the last one was said to include (logically) everything that is not nominal, not verbal and not adjectival. However, in more accurate analyses, it can be shown that what is commonly included in "adverbials" are actually at least 3 or even more parts of speech (when talking about words), and different kinds of phrase – each of which acts differently and has different grammar.
"Home" in sentences such as "he went home" and "he stayed home" is a noun that is part of a prepositional phrase (prepositional adjunct) that specifies the destination/location. It is a prepositionless prepositional phrase, just as "I was there last week" contains to prepositionless prepositonal phrases, namely "there" (which has overt case marking, the -re) and "next week", which has an understood preposition.
True adverbs are (1) clause manner modifiers: he ran quickly - "quickly modifies our understanding of his speed, and (2) degree modifiers (it is quite hot, he is so in trouble) - quite and so modify our perception of the degree of heat and "in trouble"."
My question is:
Is "home" really an adverb when it is used at the end of sentence without the preposition at?