is there any error


The headmaster wants you to come into his office.

asked Jan 20 '13 at 13:53 gaurav New member

4 answers


This is OK, but 'to' is usually used in this context.

 The headmaster wants you to come to his office.

link comment answered Jan 20 '13 at 14:28 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

The headmaster wants to see you in his office is another option, and gets around the go/come issue.  Otherwise, The headmaster wants you to go to his office would be better than come to, depending on who is relaying the command and where they are when they relay it to 'you'.

link comment edited Jan 20 '13 at 20:48 Shawn Mooney Expert

Context, I've mentioned before, is king.


A student being summoned from class to the headmaster's office might be told:

"The headmaster wants you to come to his office."


A student waiting in a chair outside the headmaster's office might be told:

"The headmaster wants you to come into his office."


Both are correct, but only when used where they express what you are trying to say.

link comment answered Jan 21 '13 at 08:08 Tony Proano Expert

I prefer Context is queen. :)  However, I would suggest that in the context where Tony suggests that The headmaster wants you to come into his office is the correct sentence, The headmaster wants you to come in, or The headmaster will see you now would be much more natural.


As well, I am curious about what others think about whether come needs to change to go in this sentence?  At first, I thought the rules related to reported speech were relevant to this question, but I have pretty much talked myself out of that; now, I think it is just the basic come/go rules that apply.


To me, unless the person relaying the headmaster's command (Headmaster: "Tell that rotten brat Johnny to come to my office!") is either (a) in the headmaster's office (which would be highly unlikely) or (b) standing very close to the headmaster's office at the time she/he relays the command to Johnny, the correct sentence would be "The headmaster wants you to go to his office", or, as I suggested in an earlier post, "The headmaster wants to see you in his office".  If (a) was true, it would be "The headmster wants you to come to his office," and if (b) was, "The headmaster wants you to come in." I'd like to hear what others think.

link edited Jan 21 '13 at 23:06 Shawn Mooney Expert

I'd have to agree that the come/go directive would be based on the location where such an order would have been given. If the headmaster is in his office it would be natural for him to say, "have little Johnny COME to my office." While the teacher who delivers the message to Little Johnny, presumably in the classroom, would say, "Johnny, you need to GO to the headmaster's office."
If the headmaster gives the directive to the teacher somewhere outside of the headmaster's office I think he would likely say, "have him COME to my office" but would still be correct if he were to say, "have him GO to my office."
I think this is more 'writing style" related than any specific grammar rule. One of my favorite things about dialogue is that people do not often speak with correct grammar.

I hope there is more discussion on this.

Tony ProanoJan 23 '13 at 05:49

I was also trying to use as much of the original wording as possible. I would have stated things differently in my own writing. "The Headmaster will see you now."

Tony ProanoJan 23 '13 at 05:54

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