‘Arrive to’, ‘arrive in’, or ‘arrive at’ in English

Influenced by other similar-looking conjunctions, such as “come to”, “move to” or “go to”, learners of English often tend to use “arrive to” to mean “arrive somewhere”. Although phrases such as “come to me”, “we moved to London” or “are you going to the party?” are perfectly fine, “arrive” is used differently.

There is only one situation where we would use “arrive to”, and that is to express the purpose of arriving somewhere, e.g.

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

If we want to express that we have arrived in a country, a city, or a geographical point in general, we use “arrive in”, e.g.

  • 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 pretty much all other situations, we use “arrive at”:

  • When I arrived at the party, all my friends were already drunk.
  • Please, arrive on time at the meeting.

Although some people would argue that the last sentence is an example of “arrive on”, this is not the case. “On time”, meaning “on time”, is a separate complete phrase. Likewise, we could use any other time designation in the same place (e.g., “arrive tomorrow at the meeting”) where no “on” occurs.