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Do these both mean exactly the same thing?

何時に子どもを迎えますか
何時に子どもを迎えに行きますか

“When do you pick up your child?”

I suppose the second says “when do you leave to pick up your child” more precisely?

If so, is that the difference between the two? I don’t know which form to use in general conversation and what sounds less or more “wooden”.

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The verb 迎える alone can mean to go greet someone, but the meaning is closer to "welcome" or even "herald". So, if you say 子供を迎える, it actually means to "welcome a child into your life".

For the more everyday occurrence like picking up your child, it's more natural to say "子供を迎えに行く".

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  • Thanks, although I do not know yet what -ku means here. I need to learn this grammar still.
    – buddhabrot
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 11:27
  • Still, is it correct to assume -ni ikimasu is generally preferred and more natural than using the verb immediately, when it involves a certain action?
    – buddhabrot
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 11:28
  • -ku is just the base form (the stem) for the verb 行く(いく) from which you can conjugate the polite form 行きます(いきます).
    – asa9ohan
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 13:28
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    It depends on the verb you are using and the context of the sentence. -ni ikimasu is not always necessary or natural. However, you can understand adding "-ni ikimasu" as meaning "leaving to ______" or "going to _____".
    – asa9ohan
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 13:32

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