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In English, we use the word "come" very loosely (at least in day-to-day spoken English):

  • Want to come over to my place later?
  • Can I come over to your house for New Years'?
  • Can you come meet me at the coffee shop after work?
  • I'll bring pictures of the kids the next time I come visit you in Florida.
  • etc.

In other words, "come" can be used regardless of where the speaker and the listener are located, either now or in the future.

In Spanish, I've heard that venir is supposed to be used only for situations where the listener is coming to the speaker's current location, and ir should be used for other situations (the same goes for traer and llevar). Is this the rule? If so, is it just in formal, written contexts, or does it apply to spoken language too?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes, you use "venir" when moving to the speaker's current location, and "ir" to another location. However, as in English, you can say "¿Quieres venir a mi casa?" without being in said place.

The RAE has a very simple but good explanation:

  • Venir Llegar a donde está quien habla.
  • Ir Moverse de un lugar hacia otro apartado de quien usa el verbo ir y de quien ejecuta el movimiento.

From rae.es Venir and Ir.

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It's that simple. However, I've noticed that in Catalan-speaking areas, at least in Mallorca, they often say "ya vengo" instead of "ya voy". –  MikMik Dec 30 '11 at 8:30
2  
Mallorca it's a catalan (or whatever term you want to use) speaking area and that mistake it's a literal translation of "Ja venc" cataln for "ya voy" –  Laura Dec 30 '11 at 13:30

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