SKY: Which one is correct, "arrive at home," "arrive home," "arrive at my home?." Would you mind to give some sentences out of the expressions? Thanks!
Joe Carillo: All of these three expressions—“arrive at home,” “arrive home,” and “arrive at my home”—are unidiomatic if not necessarily incorrect usage. You won’t catch educated native English speakers saying “We arrived at home this morning,” “I arrived home promptly at noon,” or “They arrived at my home at midnight.” Instead they will say “We came home this morning,” “I came home promptly at noon,” or “They came to my home at midnight.”
It seems to be a quirk of the English language for the noun “home” in particular not to work semantically well with the verb “arrive.” It’s probably because the word “home” holds a very special, intimate place in people’s hearts and minds”; in other words, “home” is an exception to the rule. Other place nouns like “house,” “hut,” “cottage,” and “hotel” are more congenial to being used with “arrive,” as in “They arrived at the house this morning,” “I arrived at the hut promptly at noon,” or “They arrived at our cottage at midnight.”
One reason for the inappropriateness of using the verb “arrive” in expressions like “arrive at home,” “arrive home,” and “arrive at my home” is, of course, that “arrive” is an intransitive verb. As such, “arrive” can’t have a direct object like “home.” However, it normally should be able to work with an object of a preposition as in “I arrived at home” or “She arrived at my home,” but it doesn’t in actual practice. As I observed earlier, it isn’t idiomatic to use “arrive” in such constructions; the sentences have a false sound to them.
Thus, when the destination is specifically “home,” it’s highly advisable—and idiomatic—to use the verb “reach” or “come” instead of “arrive,” as in these sentences: “She reached home way past midnight.” “She came home with two classmates in tow.” Take note that like “arrive,” the verb “come” is also intransitive and actually can’t have a direct object like “home,” but somehow, it has become conventional in English to drop the “to” in the sentence “She came to home with two classmates in tow,” making it a bare infinitive instead: “She came home with two classmates in tow.”
These are peculiarities of the English language that we need to learn to live with.
maxsims: Those three expressions are all in "native" English-speaking use, but their use (or non-use) is highly dependent on context.
I will grant you that "We arrived at home this morning" is rare, but it isused, mainly by pedants who wouldn't be caught dead missing a preposition. Pure affectation.
"I arrived home promptly (or at any time) at noon" is not unusual, particularly if the speaker is not at home when making this statement. If he were at home, he would be more likely to say "I came home..etc".
"They arrived at my home at midnight" is a statement that varies, depending on who "they" are. If "they" are expected visitors, the statement is not unusual. If "they" are unexpected visitors (and more particularly unwelcome ones), "They came to my home at midnight" would be more usual.
In any case, educated or not, most of us use "got"!
Joe Carillo: The usage considerations you enumerated are precisely the reasons why although it isn’t ungrammatical to use the verb “arrive” in terms of reaching “home,” I personally wouldn’t unilaterally recommend its usage to English learners. When the destination is “home,” I would recommend using “come” if the speaker owns or lives in that home, regardless of whether he is there or not at the moment of speaking. For destinations other than “home,” there’s wider latitude for choice—it could be “come,” “arrive,” and “reach” and there’s very little possibility of the learner being accused of being unidiomatic in the choice of verb. Indeed, there just are too many ifs and buts when using “arrive” in the context of “home,” and the learner would just take too many grammatical tumbles by doing so.
And the other thing is that being intransitive, the verb “arrive” shouldn’t really have a direct object, strictly speaking. How then do you explain to the English learner the presence of “home” after the verb “arrive” in the sentence “We arrived home promptly at noon”? Isn’t “home” in that sentence a direct object of the verb “arrived”—in which case “arrive” can’t only be an intransitive verb but a transitive verb as well? The learner then checks the dictionary and finds that “arrive” can only be intransitive—so as a teacher of English, you find yourself having to defend your position against the dictionary definition.
You said that educated or not, most native English speakers use “got” instead of “arrive” or “come.” I think you’ve driven the nail right on the head, Max. I have a strong feeling that native English speakers have come to idiomatically use the verb “got” as default verb precisely to avoid the “arrive”/ “come” rigmarole in relation to “home.” How else could native English speakers so comfortably say “I got home by midnight” but would never imagine themselves ever saying “I got house by midnight” or “I got hotel by midnight?” And yet “home,” “house,” and “hotel” belong to the same class of words that refers to dwellings! Clearly, the word “home” is a very special word in English and one that transcends the grammar and semantics of the language—which was precisely my point at the very start of this discussion.
madgirl09: Again, context and conditions surrounding the use of the word must be considered. I also often use the word "arrive" home, especially in stressing "when" we actually got home: We have just arrived home! I have not checked the recorded message yet. Or when there are expected difficulties: "Hope you'd arrive home safe and sound. I'm worried you'd collapse on the way home (we both live in the same house). In the given line.."arrive home"...the word "home" is a noun that functions as an adverb of place, not as an object of the verb "arrive".
The verb "get" is informal, so you'd often (more often) hear this word instead of "arrive". Arrive vs come? There are some slight differences of meaning between the two, and reasons why sometimes, "arrive" is preferred over "come"...Give me time. I'll research for more explanations...
vinzvonvan: Trying to be abreast of the latest posts in this forum, I chanced upon this topic and kept thinking of my own conviction.I have been using the expression “I just arrived home” to correct student’s answer of this particular question:”Where are you now?” The expected response could be: “I’m at home”, “I’m in the office”, “I’m at the park”,…etc or that one “I just arrived home”. It really depends on what he wants to say where he exactly is.. Our trainer is a native of South Carolina so I asked his opinion about the usage of the said expression.He said there’s nothing wrong with it and that he uses it to tell the condition of his arrival in the house and that it has nothing to do with the word “home” having a special meaning. In this sentence “I just arrived home”, the usage is correct. But maybe to use it together with other words (like Joe’s examples),the usage seems to be improper. According to him, he’d rather use that expression than “I just came home” although it still denotes another meaning. This reply is almost late but I guess learning shouldn't end on the last post.
Joe Carillo: Your telecommunication perspective regarding the usage of “I just arrived home” has made me think deeper about the applicability of the verb “arrive” in that sentence. Your English-usage trainer from South Carolina is right, but only because the communication situation is different: the speaker and the listener are most likely in different places and so far away from each other, talking by mobile phone to bridge the distance. The medium, to take a little liberty with Marshall McLuhan’s famous quote, alters not only the message but also the usage.
Now, so we can clarify precisely when the verbs “come home” and “arrive home” are applicable, I have constructed the following two communication scenarios:
Scenario 1: Imagine a woman (W1) in front of a closed door of a house in a Manila suburb. She knocks at the door and a woman from the inside (W2) opens it.
W2: Oh, hi, Carmen! Come in! Come in! W1: Thanks, Gina, sorry I’m late! My car won’t start so I had to take a cab. What time did you reach home? W2: Oh, I came home almost an hour ago. My flight from London arrived half an hour ahead of time. W!: So how’s London? W2: Oh, well, muggy as ever! And it was raining so hard when my plane took off from Heathrow!
Scenario 2: Imagine two women, one an OFW nurse in a hospital cafeteria in Dubai or Oman (W1), and the other a fellow nurse (W2) who has just come home—from a grammatical standpoint, not arrived home for sure—in a Manila suburb, plopping herself on the sofa in the living room. Then W2’s mobile phone rings.
W2: Hello! W1: Hi, Helen, this is Jenny! Where are you now? W2: Oh, I just arrived home. By cab because there’s been a mix-up and no one came to pick me up. I had a very rough flight and my plane arrived an hour late. Grrr! W1: That’s terrible! It’s a good thing you arrived still in good shape! W2: Not exactly! It seems my spine has split into two. My balikbayan box was simply too heavy with all those thingamajigs my folks wanted me to bring them!
As we can see, vizvonvan, the usage of “come home” or “arrived home” is clearly a function of the physical distance between the speaker and listeners as well as the telecommunication channel. For third-person accounts of such conversations, the point of view of the narrator would also strongly influence the usage. In any case, I would like to emphasize that Scenario 2 above where the expression “Oh, I just arrived home” is used would be unthinkable without landline phones or mobile phones.