English as a Second Language/come vs go

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Question
Dear Shannon,

go=from here to there
come=there to here

I read the following sentence from a grammar book:-

We are going to a disco tonight. Do you want to come along?

In the above context,I don't think the speaker is at the location of the disco. Why doesn't the author use "go along"?

Thanks for your help.

Answer
Hi CH,

Yes, your definitions are correct, and you could certainly say, "do you want to go with us?"  (Go along may or may not work, as it is a special idiom: "to go along with something/someone" can mean to accept some kind of group plan, such as playing a trick on a friend).

The idea of using "come" in this way is that the friends are going to be at the disco, and you will be walking into the place -- arriving, therefore, going "here" instead of "there" when the time arrives.  Friends could say, "We're having a party tonight.  Do you want to come?"  It sounds better than "go" because your friends will already be there, and you will be joining them, not leaving them.

If you have a situation where the speaker will be there, but instead of meeting him/her there, you will join the speaker as you travel there together, then you could change this to "come along" or "come with (the person)."  In this context, it means exactly the same as "go with us."  It's just a more intimate way of showing that you are part of the group and not an outsider.

Shannon Cole
www.coleinstitute.com

English as a Second Language

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Shannon Cole

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I can answer questions related to learning the English and Spanish language.

Experience

I have taught ESL and Spanish since 1998 at the university and middle school levels. I am a native of the U.S., and have taught in both the U.S. and Mexico.

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I am owner and operator of www.coleinstitute.com, an online language school.

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Georgia TESOL in Action (1999)

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B.A. in Spanish; M.Ed. in Language Education

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I have clients worldwide, some who want their documents proofread, and others who take lessons with me through the Internet. Some work at high-profile companies and government organizations. Besides the U.S. and Mexico, my recent students come from South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Colombia, Russia, Italy, Paraguay, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.

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