#GrammarTrivia: the word ‘to’

I bet you know what ‘to’ means.. Or do you? If you check the dictionary, you would notice the two letter word have tons of meaning. We’re not going to talk about all of them. But we’ll have a look at 4 of its functions.

1. as preposition of movement

To’ indicates the place you reach as a result of moving. The phrase that contains ‘to’ is called ‘to-phrase‘. ‘to-phrase’ follows:

  1. a verb.
    • Example:
      • walk to school. Walk =verb
  2. a noun.
    • Example:
      • the bus to Malang. The bus = noun

In the examples above, the ‘to-phrases’ are: ‘to school‘ and ‘to Malang‘. Here’s the structure:

  1. “walk to school” = verb + to-phrase
  2. “the bus to Malang” = noun + to-phrase

Example sentence using:

  1. ‘verb + to-phrase’ structure: “I walk to school every day.”
  2. ‘noun + to-phrase’ structure: “She’s been waiting for the bus to Malang for half an hour.”

‘from’ and ‘to’

‘to’ can also be used with ‘from’.

Structure:

from + noun phrase + to + noun phrase.

Example:

  • from Jogja to Semarang”.

In a sentence:

  • “They usually travel from Jogja to Semarang by train.”

A. ‘from .. to’ to indicate distance

The ‘from .. to’ structure can also be used to indicate distance.

Example:

  • “How far is it from Bandar Lampung to Palembang?”

B. ‘from .. to’ to express change of state

Besides distance, ‘from .. to’ can also be used to express change of state.

Example:

  • “The light changes from red to green.”

2. to show time

To’ indicates the end-point of a time period. There are 2 ways of using it:

  • with ‘from’

‘from .. to’ to indicate the end-point of a time period.

Example:

“We will be having our final test from Monday to Friday.”

  • without ‘from’

Without ‘from’, ‘to’ cannot be used alone. We use ‘until’ or ‘up to’ instead.

Example:

“We will have our test until Friday.”

However, American English prefers the use of ‘through’ to ‘to’.

Example:

“We will have our test from Monday through Friday.”

3. to indicate receiver

To’ to indicate ‘receiver’ is usually followed by a person.

Example:

  • “I’m giving this present to you.” The receiver = you.

The receiver in “I’m giving this present to you.” is what we call as ‘indirect object’. The direct object: this present.

‘to + receiver’ is usually used this way (as indirect object). Other verbs used this way are: offer, hand, lend, owe.

Structure:

Subject

Verb

Direct object

to

Indirect object

I

am giving

this present

to

you

A. ‘to’ as the receiver of a message

‘to’ also points to the ‘receiver’ of a message.

Example:

  • “I just sent an email to a friend.”
  • “Do you have something to say to me?”

4. the use in idioms

‘To’ is also used to form many ‘prepositional verbs’ and ‘phrasal-prepositional verbs’.

Examples of prepositional verbs:

  • belong to,
  • listen to,
  • believe in,
  • talk about,
  • wait for.
  • Read: Phrasal Verbs 1.

Examples of phrasal-prepositional verbs:

 

‘to’ also follows some adjectives. Examples:

  • close to,
  • due to,
  • similar to,
  • used to (used with ‘be’ = ‘I’m used to..’).

Prepositional verbs, phrasal-prepositional verbs, and ‘adjective + to’ structure form ‘idioms’. Ring a bell?

Well, that’s it. A little #GrammarTrivia on the use and function of ‘to’. I hope it is useful for you.

 

Compiled and written by @NenoNeno at @EnglishTips4U on Monday, April 29, 2013

 

Related post(s):

 

^MQ

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