Grammar for Guests

25 May 2023

Do you like to have guests? Who would you invite over to a party? Would you have a guest stay overnight?

In this week's Everyday Grammar, we will learn the language of inviting and visiting.

I invited my niece for a visit. I hosted her over the weekend. We went to a concert together and spent time catching up.

Everyday Grammar: Grammar for Guests
Everyday Grammar: Grammar for Guests

Let's look at some of the grammar of the paragraph I wrote.


When we "invite" someone, we ask them to spend time with us, socially, or to come to an event.

For example, I used the past tense in my paragraph above:

I invited my niece for a visit.

"Invite" can also be a noun. It is a request to take part in an event or to be present. It is the shorter, informal version of the noun "invitation."

I sent her an invite by text message, and she replied "yes."

I sent out invitations to our housewarming party.

We can combine different prepositions like "along," "back," "in" and "over" with the verb "invite" to get more specific meanings from the base verb. These are called phrasal verbs.

To "invite over" means to invite someone to your house. This may be a formal event, but often it can be informal such as for drinks or to have a meal.

I would like to invite you over sometime!

When you "invite someone in," you ask them to come into your home, especially if you have met them outside of your home.

We often talk with our neighbors outside before inviting them in.

I would invite you in, but the house is so messy.

To "invite back" means that you invite someone to your home after you have been to a different place with them, especially if you have been to their house.

I invited them back to my house for drinks after the concert.

Lastly, to "invite along" means that you ask someone to go with you somewhere or to do something with you, especially if you have already made plans.

Stacy invited me along to the party after my earlier plans were cancelled.


Just like "invite," the word "visit" can work as two parts of speech. As a verb, "to visit" means that you go see someone and spend time with them.

I plan to visit her next month.

As a noun, a "visit" means the act of spending time with someone, especially at their home. It can be a short visit, a few hours; or it can be many days. We often use it with the verb "pay" in everyday conversations.

I'll pay her a visit next week when I have the time.

We can also use the phrasal verb "visit with" to mean that you go to see someone and spend time talking with them.

She visited with her grandparents last year.


Another noun and verb combination is the word "host." As a verb "to host" means to receive and entertain guests. As a noun, the word describes the person who is welcoming or entertaining the guests.

Lisa always hosts the best Halloween parties.

Host is connected to the word "hospitality," or the act of having guests or the service of welcoming guests.

The "hospitality industry," for example, describes businesses including hotels, restaurants, tourism, and entertainment.

A person can also be "hospitable," or welcoming of guests and friendly toward them.

The couple were very hospitable to their guests.

Catch up

If we are meeting someone after a long time apart, we might have a lot to talk about. The phrasal verb "catch up" describes this situation.

Let's catch up next week! I'll call you!

If the sentence includes who we are talking to, we use the preposition "with" in the phrase.

I caught up with my niece over the weekend.

In the paragraph about my weekend, I used the gerund form of the verb. Gerunds are verb forms that act as nouns.

We spent time catching up.

Closing thoughts

Today we learned about the words "invite," "visit" and "host," and how they work as both nouns and verbs. We also learned phrasal verbs like "invite back," "visit with" and "catch up with."

Now let's take what we have learned and use it! Write a small paragraph about having a guest. Try to use different noun-verb combinations of the words we learned. Add a phrasal verb!

Write to us in the comments or send your paragraph to We may share your message in a future Everyday Grammar.

I'm Faith Pirlo.

And I'm Dan Friedell.

Faith Pirlo wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

niece – n. the daughter of your brother or sister

paragraphn. a part of a piece of writing that usually that begins on a new line and often is made up of a few sentences

informal – adj. suited for ordinary or everyday use

messy – adj. lacking neatness or precision

entertain – v. to provide enjoyment, to interest or please

couple –n. two people who are married or who have a close relationship; to of something