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?
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:
- I went home. (adverb = home is a direction, a way you went)
- 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.
- I arrived home. (adverb = home is a direction, a way you arrived)
- 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:
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions, please post in the comment section below.
- Matthew Barton / Creator of Englishcurrent.com