The Grammarphobia Blog

Home sweet home

Q: Why is it that we go to school, go to work, and go to church, but we don’t go to home?

A: The words “school,” “work,” and “church” in your question are nouns that represent places. We use a preposition (a positioning word like “to”) when we talk about movement toward a place.

The word “home,” on the other hand, is an adverb above and modifies the verb “go.” We don’t need a preposition with an adverb: “Let’s split and head home.”

The word “home” has been a noun, adjective, and adverb since Anglo-Saxon days. The earliest published reference for the adverb in the Oxford English Dictionary dates from around the year 1,000.

A similar word, “south,” can also be a noun, adjective, and adverb. Here’s the adverb in action: “When the temperature fell, he headed south.” No preposition needed.

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