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I noticed that 去 and 来 are used in a sentence in a strange meaning. For example: 1) 实际上,很多问题的答案都可以从生活中找到。但这需要你有眼睛去发现,用心去总结。

2) 自己不花时间去想 3) 眼不是用来做饭的吗? What's the difference between them and when should i use it? Also i know that they have the meaning of movements and directions

4 Answers 4

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Both 来 and 去 can function as "to" before a verb, the difference is:

  • Use 来 when the action is in front or very close to you

  • Use 去 when the action is at a distance away from you

Example:

(in Hong Kong's perspective) 用東江水[來]解救本港的缺水危機 = Use East River's water [to] rescue our Hong Kong's water shortage crisis

(in Mainland China's perspective)用東江水[去]解救香港的缺水危機 = Use East River's water [to] rescue Hong Kong's water shortage crisis

Another example:

  • 用水救火 = use water to fight fire

  • 用水[去]救火 = use water [to] fight fire (1. the fire is at a distance from you. 2. the water is here, you are sending it out to fight a fire) e.g. 射水去救火 (shoot water to fight fire)

  • 用水[来]救火 = use water [to] fight fire (1. the fire is in front of you. 2. the water is somewhere else, you bring it in to fight a fire) e.g. 引水来救火 (bring water in to fire fire)

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  • Okay, it sounds good,but how can i understand the distance in this sentences: 自己不花时间去想 , 用眼睛去发现,用心去总结 ?
    – Tatiana
    Jul 15, 2023 at 9:40
  • 自己不花时间去想 --> Not spend time to think of something that's in a distance; 用眼睛去发现 --> to discover something that's in a distance; 用心去总结-->Summarize something that's in a distance
    – Tang Ho
    Jul 15, 2023 at 10:17
  • 自己不花时间来想 --> Not spend time to think of something yourself; 用眼睛来发现 --> to discover something with your eyes; 用心来总结-->Summarize something with your heart
    – Tang Ho
    Jul 15, 2023 at 10:19
  • 去 emphasize the object; 来 emphasize the subject (yourself)
    – Tang Ho
    Jul 15, 2023 at 10:22
  • Thank you very much, but can i ask one more question? What is the distance and what do we want to emphasize? 盐不是用来做饭的吗
    – Tatiana
    Jul 15, 2023 at 16:46
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Both suggest the goal you are using something for, and come with words that mean “use”.

Personally, I feel that 去 delivers a stronger sense of movement. It sounds like you have to pay something (in a broader sense, including action) to reach your goal.

In contrast, 来 doesn't imply such a sense. Also, 用来 exists but 用去 does not exist.(用……去 is okay)

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is the simpler of these two words, 来去, in most cases, you can think "去" as "to" when it is in front of a verb:

  • 发现 - to discover

  • 总结 - to sum up; to summarize

  • 想 - to think (about)

has a wider use and is more difficult to explain, especially when used after a verb. Here are a few phrases worth memorizing.

  • 用来 - be used for

  • 看来 - seems to be

  • 說来 - having brought this up; come to speak of (it)

  • 拿/取來 - take/bring it over

  • 出來 - to come/get out

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眼不是用来做饭的吗?
Isn't the eye used in cooking? (Yuck! Boiled eyeballs!)

Because the English translation may show to or from for 去 or 来, that does not mean the Chinese actually means that.

我来开车好吗?(In English translation this 来 becomes will)
I'll drive OK?
我开车好吗?(no 来 but still use will in translation.)
I'll drive OK?

她跑着来迎接我们。(In English translation this 来 becomes to)
She ran to greet us.
她跑着迎接我们。
She greeted us running. ??
She ran to greet us.

这事由你来决定吧。(In English translation this 来 becomes to)
this matter by you to decide ok
This matter you decide. (Or longer: This matter is for you to decide.)
这事由你决定吧。
This matter you decide.

你去哪?(In English translation this 去 becomes going)
you go where
Where are you going

我也去,行吗?(In English translation this 去 becomes come.)
Can I come too?

我去给你弄杯水来。(In English translation this 去 becomes will)
I go for you make cup water from
I'll get you a glass of water.

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