When to use arrive and come ?

Come or Arrive
When to use arrive, and when to use come ? In this post, we will discuss about the usages of come and arrive.


arrive vs come, when to use arrive and come




Come is used in a large number of expressions. It can be used as noun, verb, preposition, exclamation. It means to move to or towards somebody or something or place.

Arrive is a verb. 
According to Oxford dictionary, it means to get to a place, especially at the end of a journey.
  1. I will wait until they arrive.
It means to happen or to come when you have been waiting for it. (Of an event or a moment)
  1. The wedding day finally arrived.

When to use come and arrive ?
According George Crabb:
"Come is general,  Arrive is particular.
Persons or things come; persons only, or what is personified, arrive. To come specifies neither time nor manner: arrival is employed with regard to some particular period or circumstances. 
"The coming of our Saviour was predicted by the prophets, the arrival of a messenger is expected at a certain hour. We know that evils must come, but we do wisely not to meet them by anticipation; the arrival of a vessel in the haven, after a long and dangerous voyage, is a circumstance of general interest in the neighborhood where it happens.

When to use arrive and come in a sentence in simple words. 

1. Come specifies neither time nor manner. In case of come, it is not necessary to mention time or manner-how something happens.
  1. Two police officers came into the hall.
  2. You have to come to lunch.   
Arrive  specifies specific time or circumstances. In case of arrive, it is necessary to mention time or circumstance. You can write: "They come; however, you can't write: "They arrive". You have to add time or place or purpose of arriving.
  1. The Princess Royal arrived at Gatwick this morning from Jamaica. (time is here, this morning)
  2. The police arrived to arrest him. (a circumstance is here, to arrest)

2. Come is used for persons or things or ideas.
  1. Mr Tom come to see me.
  2. An idea come to my mind.
  3. Many letters have come for us.
Arrive is mostly used for persons only or something personified.
  1. The sun arrived with its full brightness.
  2. Winds arrive dancing and swirling inside my house  through the windows and gates. ( Personify means to give human form; The sun and winds are personified here.)

However, in some formal circumstances, arrive can be used for things, like some new inventions, new products, for example: 1. Package arrived while I was taking bath.  2. A new product from Apple will finally arrive in the shops this month.

3. Generally, arrive is used for physical destination, whereas Come is used for both physical and abstract destination.
"Actors arrived Paris after a long time." Here Paris is a physical destination.
"An idea came to my mind." You can't use arrive here.

Arrive is usually followed by preposition "at", whereas come is followed by preposition "to". We should not use "arrive to".
Prepositions that follow arrive are at, in, and on.
  • In informal way, if you say that someone has arrived, you mean that they have become successful or famous. 
  1. He had arrived when he was shortlisted for the Noble prize.
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