People come to help her.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by hboo, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. hboo Senior Member


    I'm having a hard time understanding the usage of "come (or go )+ verb". For example:

    "People are friendly where she lives. When she is sick, people come to help her."

    Is "people come to help her" natural English? Would you also say: "people come help her" or "people come and help her"?

    I learned in my last post that "go to wash your hands" sounds odd. And "go wash your hands" or "go and wash your hands" is a command.

    If I relate this to the above example sentence, the theory would be: "come to help her" is odd; and "come help her" or "come and help her is imperative? But I feel like I'm totally wrong! Or maybe it's all contextual, no hard and fast rule at all?

    Here is my last post:

  2. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    You are right - like in many (most?) cases, context matters. And in your last post, you were talking about imperatives. This is not an imperative.

    'When she is sick, people come to help her' is perfectly natural and correct. You could also say ' . . . people go to help her', but by using 'come' you are sort of writing about it from 'her' perspective.

    ' . . . people come help her.' would be wrong here too, but ' . . . peoplecome and help her.' is OK.

    I see a subtle difference between . . . come to help her' and ' . . . come and help her.'. In the first case, the people come to comfort her or care for her, whereas in the second they come to help her do something.

    Others may have other thoughts . . .
  3. hboo Senior Member

    Thank you very much, heypresto.

    I learned that in AmE, "come/go + infinite", "to" can be left out. For example:"I want you to come visit me." - this is not wrong in AmE.

    I wonder if this is another difference between AmE and BrE?

  4. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    I think you might occasionally hear "I want you to come visit me." in BE, but it's not what we usually say.

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