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For example:

  1. 我跟朋友去公园了。
  2. 我和朋友去公园了。

Are both of these sentences correct? Are there any subtle differences in the meaning conveyed?

If they are not entirely interchangeable, how do we know which one to use?

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In general, "和" is more similar to English word "and", while "跟", on the other hand, is less formal or even cheesy sometimes. "跟" may reflex the relationships between "我" and "朋友" as "我跟朋友去公园了" may mean "I went to park with my friend" where I actually followed his/her lead. –  Flake Dec 14 '11 at 16:05
    
See also chinese.stackexchange.com/q/2032/878 –  Question Overflow Jul 22 '13 at 4:01
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5 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Both of them are correct, and the & here are the conjunction. The one 我同朋友去公园了 is also correct.

They are almost the same, but if you do want to distinguish the meanings (except for the spoken/written difference):

  1. 我跟朋友去公园了。: it seems like my friend (朋友) wanted to go to the park (公园), and s/he asked me whether I wanted to go with her/him. So I just went with her/him and left a message to my mother: "Mam, 我跟朋友去公园了".

  2. 我和朋友去公园了。: it seems like my friend and I were doing something together (e.g. having lunch), after it, we decided go to the park together.

Maybe that's not a very good example. But I cannot think of a better one because both of them are almost the same (99.9%). :p

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Just curious, in this usage of 和 (and I guess most usages) can you pronounce it with either 'he' or 'han'? –  pyko Feb 12 '12 at 21:11
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@pyko, han4 is the Taiwanese (Mandarin) reading of 和, he2 is the Mainland (Mandarin) reading. –  juckele Jul 22 '13 at 21:01
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according to chinesegrammar.info - the most important difference between 跟 and 也:

跟 links nouns (things), 也 links verbs (actions)

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when 和 and 跟 mean "and" or "with",they are interchangeable,but when in other meaning,they are not interchangeable, for example,in the case that 跟 mean "follow",they are not interchangeable,like “我紧跟他,你跟上他”.

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Both 和 and 跟 mean "with." In this regard, they are basically interchangeable.

Of the two, 和 is more formal. It is also the more "equal" of the two words.

跟 has the connotation of "following" or "tagging along" in order to be "with" someone. In Chinese society, that is actually more "acceptable," because you are being "agreeable," (as opposed to "proactive"). Meaning that many would find you the companion of choice.

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Tom, is there a side of the 跟 which is implicitly the 'following' side? I presume A跟B puts A as the 'follower' of B? –  juckele Jul 22 '13 at 21:03
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Both sentences are grammatically correct and almost the same in meaning. Speaking of the slight difference, the first sentence (跟) is more of an oral language while the second (和) is kind of formal or written.

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Almost the same in meaning, but not exactly the same? Is there some other difference except for the spoken/written difference? –  dr Hannibal Lecter Dec 13 '11 at 23:05
    
@dr Hannibal Lecter: The difference between "I went to park with my friend" and "My friend and I went to park" if one must tell. But in practice, no one would notice. –  Kabie Dec 14 '11 at 22:35
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