‘Arrive to’ vs. ‘arrive in’ vs. ‘arrive at’ in English

by Jakub Marian

Tip: See my list of the Most Common Mistakes in English. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more (PDF Version).

Because of the influence of verbs like “come to”, “move to”, and “go to”, learners of English often tend to use the combination “arrive” + “to”. However, although sentences such as “come to me”, “we moved to London”, and “are you going to the party?” are completely appropriate, “arrive” behaves somewhat differently.

There is only one context in which “arrive to” is appropriate, namely when “to” means “in order to”; for example:

The cleaner arrived [in order] to clean the office.

When you want to express that you come to a country, city, or generally a geographical location, use “arrive in”, for example:

We will arrive in England at about 5 o’clock.
Once you arrive in Paris, you will definitely have to see the Eiffel Tower.

In virtually any other situation, you should use “arrive at”:

When I arrived at the party, all my friends were already drunk.
Will you arrive at the meeting?

There are a few isolated expressions in which also “arrived on” is possible:

We arrived on/at the island after a long trip.
The spacecraft arrived on/at Mars.
The police arrived too late on/at the scene of crime.

but using “at” in these cases is completely acceptable as well.

This article was based on my guide to the most common mistakes in English, which explains many similar topics. Why don’t you check it out?

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