Expressing Motion and Direction

In Chinese, 来/去 (lái/qù) can express both motion (come/go) and direction (here/there) depending on where the speaker is.

S 来/去 Place Word Purpose
yuēhàn lái zhōnɡɡuó xuéxí hànyǔ.
约翰 中国 学习 汉语。

John comes to China to learn Chinese.

xī’ān kàn bīnɡmǎyǒnɡ.
西安 看 兵马俑。

I go to Xi’an to visit the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses.

tāmen diànyǐnɡyuàn kàn diànyǐnɡ
他们 电影院 看电影

They gent to the cinema to watch movies.

An alternative pattern is: S + 从/到 (cónɡ/dào) + Place Word + 来/去 + Purpose. In the pattern, “从” indicates a motion away from a point. “到” indicates a motion towards a point.

S 从/到 Place Word 来/去 Purpose
cónɡ měiɡuó lái (zhèlǐ) xué hànyǔ.
美国 来 (这里) 学 汉语。

She comes (here) from America to learn Chinese.

(xiǎnɡ) dào wàimiàn sànbù.
(想) 到 外面 散步。

I want to go outside for a walk.

lìlì dào túshūɡuǎn xuéxí.
丽丽 图书馆 学习。

Lily goes to the library to study.

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