In general, 去 and 來 are considered opposites. They tell of the different location of the speaker in relation to the object, much like “come” and “go”, or “here” and “there”.
上去 go up / 上來 come up
下去 go down / 下來 come down
出去 / 出來
回去 / 回來
帶去 / 帶來
進去 / 進來
送去 / 送來
過去 / 過來
去 and 來 can be used in the same word (or idiom). The most straightforward meaning of this kind of words is to show direction of movements. Let’s look at some examples:
- 跑來跑去 to run about
- 飛來飛去 to fly about
Many other action words that involve movements that cause a change in location can be used in the same fashion, such as:
- 踢 (to kick)
- 轉 (to turn)
- 走 (to walk)
In some cases where the verb do not involve movements in location, it gives a sense of back and forth, or in many directions:
說來說去 – all the talks on a subject
看來看去 – examining something from various points
想來想去 – to give all considerations on something
推來推去 – to push and pull others (being rude), everybody trying to evade responsibility and push it to others
眉來眼去 – to exchange flirting looks
It can also be used as an adjective, such as 直來直去, describing someone being very direct and straightforward.
An adjective worth learning is the idiom 死去活來. This idiom gives a very vivid picture when used with the following verbs:
愛得死去活來 – to be madly in love
哭得死去活來 – to cry one’s heart out
痛得死去活來 – to be in excruciating pain
氣得死去活來 – to be boiling mad
Some exceptional cases
In some cases (such as with the verbs 看 /聽 /吃 /穿), the meaning doesn’t change whether you use 去 or 來：
看上去 / 看起來 – it appears to be
聽上去 / 聽起來 – it sounds like
吃上去 / 吃起來 – when one tastes it
穿上去 / 穿起來 – when one wears it
去 is taught in Book 2 of Beginning Reader, one of the very first words that your child learns. As they learn more characters, they start to learn about different combinations of the characters to build new words.
The best way to expand their vocabulary is to build upon what they have already learnt.
In our coming post, we will share with you some games and activities that you can do at home to expand your child's vocabulary based on 去.