In Mandarin, if we have two VO in order the second one indicates the purpose of the first action, something like "in order to" or just "to" in English, as in:

我回家学习中文 - I'll go back home (in order) TO study Chinese.

But I've seen many times a 来 appearing to convey that role, as in:

有些作业老师让学生拿回家做 - There are some homeworks the teacher let the students take back home TO do.

So, my question is: Can I always use 来 when I want to convey that meaning or does it have some specific cases?


  • Actually the second example may be better without "来"
    – fefe
    Feb 11, 2020 at 2:19
  • In the second example, 去 is sometimes better than 来
    – sypicky
    Feb 12, 2020 at 0:37
  • It's an example from a Chinese learning material, so I assume it's quite right. The question is not about if it's better with or without 来 or with anything else, it's when I should use it or not. Feb 12, 2020 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


Simple rule: If you've got another verb after 他, translate 来 as to.

Of course, things are a bit more complex!

  1. 把杯子拿到这里来。(来 corresponds with hither)
  2. 把杯子拿到那里去。(来 corresponds with hence)

  3. 他用水来浇花。(来 corresponds with to)

  4. 他用铅笔来画画 (来 corresponds with to)

  5. 他明天来看你。(来 corresponds with ? He tomorrow to see you ?)

  6. 他马上来和我们一起吃饭。(来 corresponds with ? come? to?)

Nothing ever 'to' but it also 'come', just depends where you're standing!

You can't really use English to make sense of Chinese! Chinese makes sense!

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