“Go home” (not “Go to home”) and Other Adverbs of Place

Common Mistakes: I go to home. I returned to home. I left from home.

In these sentences, we don’t need the preposition (to/from/at/in, etc). We  do  not use prepositions before home when home is used as an adverb.

Home is an adverb? What? Then what is this thing?

going home

That’s a home (or a house). It’s a noun (a thing). Okay. So clearly home can be a noun or an adverb (or an adjective but let’s forget about that). Let’s look at some example sentences.

1) I want to buy a home. 

Here, home is a noun. It is the object of the verb (buy). It is a noun just like house, dog, or car.

2) The man went home.

Here, home is used as an adverb of place. Adverbs of place tell you where an action happened, happens, or will happen. For example, “I jumped up. / The wind blows south. / The girl will turn around.” Up/south/around tell you where you jumped, where the wind blows, and where the girl turned.

Let’s look at the sentence, “The wind blows south.” Here, south is not a location (a noun). It’s a direction, just like up and around. You may be used to seeing adverbs that end in ~ly (quickly, beautifully). If it helps, think of the meaning of this sentence as “The wind blows southernly.” “I jumped up” also has a meaning like “I jumped upwardly.” But it’s fine to say “The wind blows south. / I jumped up.” Not all adverbs end in ~ly.

Now, back to “The man went home.” In this sentence, think of home as a direction. It would be the same as “The man went homewardly,” except that homewardly is not a word! So, when we talk about the direction of your house, we use home.

“He sailed home. / He looked home. / He went home.” He may not be going to his house, but he is going in that direction. Here home is an adverb of place (just like up, down), so we do not use a preposition (to, at, in, from, etc).

So How Do I Know When Home is a Noun or an Adverb?

Sometimes it’s easy.

Think about these verbs: go, run, cook, buy.

  • Can you go in a direction? Yes. Ok, so you can home use an adverb of place here. = I go home.
  • Can you run in a direction? Yes. Ok, so you can home use an adverb of place here. = I run  home.
  • Can you cook or buy in a direction? Not really. These verbs aren’t about movement or traveling. You can’t cook down/up/around, so you can’t cook home (adverb). But you can cook AT home (noun). When home is used as a location (and not a direction), use a preposition if the verb needs one. I cook at home. I looked at a home. I bought a home.

Sometimes both are possible. For example:

  1. I went home. (adverb = home is a direction, a way you went)
  2. I went to my home. (noun = home means house, a thing, a location)

The meaning of these sentences is the same. But 95% of the time, people would say the the first sentence (I went home) because it is a shorter and more common.

  1. I arrived home. (adverb = home is a direction, a way you arrived)
  2. I arrived at home. (noun = a location)

Again, both sentences are possible. But the first sentence is much more commonly used than the second.

Important Note:  The sentence “I went to home” is always wrong. This sentence uses a preposition. So that means that home is a noun. But, just like houses, homes are countable. Before a countable singular noun, you need an article (a/the) or another determiner (my/his/that/this). You can’t say “I went to home” for the same reason you can’t say “I went to house.” But you can say “I went to his house” or “I went to his home.”

Other Adverbs of Place

Here are some other difficult adverbs of place that don’t need a preposition:

  • upstairs/downstairs
  • downtown
  • inside/outside,
  • here/there
  • back
  • away/near/close
  • abroad/overseas
  • everywhere/somewhere/nowhere
  • underground

I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions, please post in the comment section below.

– Matthew Barton / Creator of Englishcurrent.com

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62 comments on ““Go home” (not “Go to home”) and Other Adverbs of Place

  1. Mammad (Posted on 10-14-2014 at 19:44) Reply

    your explanations are very good

  2. Nirmal Sarkar (Posted on 10-31-2014 at 00:04) Reply

    Its very very helpful for me. Thank you very much.

  3. N.Sarkar (Posted on 10-31-2014 at 00:09) Reply

    If anyone from West Bengal want to speak English for practice can call me @9933479194.

  4. Satish H. Kamble (Posted on 11-14-2014 at 05:22) Reply

    It Is Very Useful.

  5. anne (Posted on 11-16-2014 at 11:23) Reply

    This was more than helpful, even to a native english speaker. Thank you.

  6. jj (Posted on 2-6-2015 at 21:30) Reply

    Other places can’t be used instead of home? Sorry.

    1. Amir (Posted on 6-12-2015 at 19:54) Reply

      It was excellent

  7. Anonymous (Posted on 3-13-2015 at 22:03) Reply

    I will go to home or I will go home? Which sentence is correct and why? I will go to school.. is it a correct sentence?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 3-13-2015 at 22:52) Reply

      The article answers those exact questions. Please read it again. Good luck!

  8. Dil (Posted on 3-27-2015 at 21:10) Reply

    I agree with you. But, the main reason that we do not use ‘to’ before home is the word home in that particular context is ‘indefinite adverbial phrase’. But, when we add ‘my, his John’s… in front of ‘home’ we make it definite and there we use ‘to’. We don’t need ‘-lly or ly’ suffixes to all adverbs but for adverbial phrases of manner as in slowly or beautifully.

    1. SSVR SRINIVAS (Posted on 12-5-2015 at 10:54) Reply

      Are anomalous finites come under finite verbs or non finite verbs. Give some reason

      1. mb Post author (Posted on 12-5-2015 at 11:19) Reply

        I have no idea. What do you think?

  9. acharya (Posted on 4-5-2015 at 14:51) Reply

    Let us think this way:home is a noun which has something of an adverbial flavour about it.

  10. Faheem Hussain (Posted on 5-16-2015 at 00:55) Reply

    It really helped me, it was that much clear by examples that there is no questi0n to ask ab0ut y0ur descripti0n and my confusi0n has g0ne off. Thank y0u

  11. Mari (Posted on 8-1-2015 at 08:36) Reply

    The article is very clarifying, but it doesn’t say the reason why I say: I’m going home, but I’m going to the house

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 8-1-2015 at 12:00) Reply

      ‘home’ is the place where you live. a ‘house’ is a building used for living. It could be anyone’s home (i.e. not necessarily yours).

  12. shajalal tuhin (Posted on 9-5-2015 at 14:38) Reply

    I GO TO SCHOOL. this sentence “SCHOOL” , NOUN/ADVERB?

    1. mb (Posted on 9-6-2015 at 10:20) Reply

      Noun.

  13. Md. Jahangir Alam (Posted on 11-4-2015 at 04:01) Reply

    Some people ask questions without reading the full texts or explanations carefully!! This is very disgusting, indeed!!

  14. SSVR SRINIVAS (Posted on 12-4-2015 at 08:09) Reply

    Have you been back home?
    Is it a correct sentence

    1. mb (Posted on 12-4-2015 at 11:11) Reply

      Yes

  15. Darren (Posted on 12-16-2015 at 01:50) Reply

    Why is:
    ”I went home” and adverb of place.
    but
    ”I went to work” not an adverb of place?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 12-16-2015 at 12:17) Reply

      Please read above. In “I went to work”, work is a place — a noun. Work has no adverb form (see the dictionary). Also, adverbs describe how/when something happens. Work does not fulfill that function in “I went to work.”

  16. english lover (Posted on 12-19-2015 at 09:28) Reply

    “all of us went to homes” Is it correct ?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 12-19-2015 at 13:51) Reply

      if you mean that everyone went to their home, you would say ‘All of us went home/All of us went to our homes’. If you say ‘went to homes’ (plural, without ‘our’), it sounds like you went to a group home or some kind of institution for people who need professional care. This is another meaning of ‘home’ and it is often used in the plural.

  17. english lover (Posted on 12-23-2015 at 16:20) Reply

    I think we could benefit each other.
    where can I write questions ?
    but be sure u will be amazed

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 12-26-2015 at 12:26) Reply

      What kind of questions do you want to write?

      1. english lover (Posted on 2-16-2016 at 05:23) Reply

        quick explanations and question tags but all my questions are really hard

  18. english lover (Posted on 12-26-2015 at 10:26) Reply

    are u busy working or avoiding to answer ?
    I’m just concerned.
    no offense.

  19. Bikash Mandal (Posted on 1-1-2016 at 22:53) Reply

    A noun has normally a limitation or limited boundary on the other hand an adverb has no boundary.So there’s difference between ‘house’ and ‘home’.’Home’ is a opposite word to ‘abroad’ which is also an adverb. Home is also an adverb. So we can buy a ‘house’ but never ‘home’

  20. Arvind saran (Posted on 2-23-2016 at 03:08) Reply

    Very very thankful metthew berton.
    It is very helpful to my knowledge.

  21. JADI SRIHARI (Posted on 3-15-2016 at 00:38) Reply

    Which is clearly understandable to any average student
    thank you very much

  22. saroja kamtala (Posted on 3-28-2016 at 01:35) Reply

    it is very helpful.ihave one more dought, i went hyderabad or i went to hyderabad

    1. Anonymous (Posted on 3-28-2016 at 12:27) Reply

      dought = though. And the answer is ‘I went to Hyderabad’ because Hyderabad is a noun.

      1. Anonymous (Posted on 4-19-2016 at 06:09) Reply

        I believe Saroja meant – doubt and not though. And there is a type in your reply – It should read – I went (and not want) to Hyderabad.

  23. prshant (Posted on 5-5-2016 at 11:22) Reply

    I go to school. (so, sir why we use preposition here)

    1. mb (Posted on 5-5-2016 at 16:56) Reply

      We use a preposition there because school is a noun, not an adverb (like ‘home’ can be).

  24. jay_pee (Posted on 6-8-2016 at 19:57) Reply

    examples with the verb ‘going’ without the insertion of ‘to’. Xo is *i’m going school* correct?.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 6-8-2016 at 20:05) Reply

      ‘School’ is a noun. You need ‘to’ (preposition). You only don’t use a preposition if it is followed by an adverb, for example: I’m going up. / I’m going home / I’m going south.

  25. Rahul dadhich (Posted on 7-15-2016 at 00:19) Reply

    Nowadays a lot of people work from home. (Here home doesn’t stands for an adverb and if its an adverb then what is the use of from)

    I’ll call you from home later

    1. mb (Posted on 7-15-2016 at 10:04) Reply

      Good question. Remember that an adverb modifies a verb, and tells you how the verb happens.

      So when I say “I went home” it describes how I went — mainly, I went in the direction of my house. It’s similar to ‘I went north’ in that sense.

      Now, if we look at the phrase “I work home” (an incorrect sentence), this isn’t the same. The word ‘home’ is not describing ‘how’ you work. It is not describing the the action of working, but where you are when you work. So that is probably why a preposition is needed (from). Home is modifying the preposition, not the verb. That is my guess.

  26. balai (Posted on 8-1-2016 at 10:56) Reply

    I go to temple , I go to school and I go home how are they different?

    1. mb (Posted on 8-1-2016 at 12:52) Reply

      Please read my explanation above. That is the question this page answers.

    2. Markoni Naibaho (Posted on 9-30-2016 at 05:50) Reply

      very good,thanks alot.

  27. santos (Posted on 8-10-2016 at 03:20) Reply

    I am coming from home.
    Is it correct.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 8-10-2016 at 14:48) Reply

      Yes, it is correct. It means that you are leaving your house, and going in another direction. Here, ‘home’ is an object of the preposition. It does not modify the verb (i.e. it does not tell you how you are coming.)

  28. AP (Posted on 10-2-2016 at 09:30) Reply

    What about times when the preposition “from” is a part of the sentence?

    e.g.
    I work from home.
    I would like to introduce you to our guests from abroad.
    I hear a sound coming from outside.

    1. Roger (Posted on 10-2-2016 at 16:56) Reply

      All those sentences are valid. See my reply two comments above re: “coming from outside”.

      The other verbs, work and introduce, cannot have the adverb ‘home’ directly after it, because, as stated in the article, you cannot ‘introduce’ or ‘work’ in a direction. However, you can travel, walk, run, go in a direction. This is why sentences like “I ran home” are correct. You can never “work home” because it’s not a verb that implies movement. A preposition is needed.

  29. Tina (Posted on 10-23-2016 at 22:22) Reply

    This is the best explanation of “home” as an adverb that I’ve ever come across. Thank you. This is excellent work.

  30. Satish Chander Puri (Posted on 12-5-2016 at 22:34) Reply

    why we say go shopping, go picnicking, go sight seeing etc.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 12-5-2016 at 22:58) Reply

      This is a bit of a different case. These words are gerunds and not in their noun form (shop, picnic, sight). ‘go’ acts like a helping verb. If you want to use the noun form, you would use a preposition and say ‘go to a shop, go to/on a picnic, go to a site’.

  31. Md. Atiq (Posted on 12-12-2016 at 11:28) Reply

    Peace be upon u.Here you have described it nicely. but if we see “I go to college” here is also a direction.So why can’t we say “I go college ” instead of ” I go to college. my another question is that here the word “college is used as an/a adverb or noun? “

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 12-12-2016 at 14:01) Reply

      Hello. Good question. In the phrase “I go to college”, ‘college’ is used as a noun (not an adverb). So why don’t we use an article? I am not sure why, but the general distinction is as follows:
      1) if we are talking about a specific countable building, e.g. the college on the corner of my street, or the college near your house, we use an article (“I go to the college next to the park”).
      2) if we are talking about going to school/college/university as in the ‘act of receiving an education’, then we don’t use an article. For example. “John went to college, so he can write an essay”. Here we aren’t referring to a building, we are talking about receiving a level of education.

  32. Samnang (Posted on 2-1-2017 at 10:24) Reply

    I want to ask you one guestion
    1. I go to school. And I go to the school
    What is the meaning?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 2-1-2017 at 11:22) Reply

      ‘I go to school’ means that you study; you are a student. ‘I go to the school’ means you are going to a specific school that the speaker knows about. Please re-read the above lesson as it should answer your question.

  33. Shan (Posted on 2-10-2017 at 02:33) Reply

    learly undersood why article is not used before the nouns school or college. Thanks.

  34. Anonymous (Posted on 2-26-2017 at 01:46) Reply

    What is passiv voice. “I go to college”

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 2-26-2017 at 19:43) Reply

      That sentence cannot be made into the passive voice because the verb ‘go’ does not have a direct object.

  35. Princess (Posted on 3-5-2017 at 00:48) Reply

    Is the sentence “I will go village.” Correct following the above mentioned rule or Do we have to say I will go to the village/I will go to my village?
    Can I use both in Spoken and Written English?

    1. MB (Posted on 3-5-2017 at 22:35) Reply

      It’s not correct, ever. You have to say , ‘I go to [the/my/a] village.’

  36. Md Anoaruzzaman (Posted on 3-11-2017 at 01:42) Reply

    Fine! Thank you. Now please tell something about the progressive of the sentence “He is a teacher”. As IS here principle verb.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 3-11-2017 at 12:46) Reply

      That sentence isn’t in a progressive tense; it’s in the simple present. But if you wanted to make it in the present progressive, you could say, ‘He is being a teacher (today)’.

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