В гости

by Don  

One of the important phrases in Russian that deals with visiting is «в гости». It is a motion phrase, which means it is used with motion verbs, not location verbs. In Russian when you go to someone's home or office, you express that idea with the preposition к followed by the dative case. Thus:

В понедельник я ездил в гости к тёте. On Monday I went to visit my aunt.
Мы завтра пойдём в гости к Игорю. Tomorrow we will go visit Igor.
Когда я ехала в гости к друзьям на поезде, я была в одном купе с членом Академии наук. When I was riding the train to visit my friends, I shared a compartment with a member of of the Academy of Sciences.

Now here is where it gets interesting. In English if you mention that place you are going to in addition to the person, that place is expressed as a location phrase. In Russian that place shows up after the preposition в/на + accusative, in other words in a motion phrase:

Зимой я всегда летаю в гости к сестре в Канаду. In the winter I always fly to Canada to visit my sister.
Летом к нам в гости в деревню всегда приезжают племянники из города. In the summer our nephews from the city come to visit us in the village.
— Не поверишь, но в августе я полечу в гости к другу в Вашингтон, познакомлюсь с Бараком Обамой.
— Ты права, не верю.
“You're not going to believe this, but in August I'm flying to Washington to visit a friend and I'm going to meet Barak Obama.”
“You're right. I don't believe it.”

There is another phrase «в гостях» that treats visiting as a location instead of a motion. We'll discuss it in a day or two.

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