To

'To' is a preposition. However, that is not its only function. In this lesson, we will discover this word and its uses in detail.

How to Use "To" in the English Grammar

To as a preposition is used to show the direction, time, result, people's reaction, etc. Look:

Functions of 'To'

  1. preposition
  2. infinitive marker

1. 'To' as a Preposition

Use

To as a preposition has many functions. We have covered them all.

  • To is used to show the direction, it has a similar meaning to 'towards, in the direction of.' For example:

I walk to the door.

I walk toward the door.

She goes to the supermarket.

  • To as a preposition is used to introduces a verb complement. It is used with some verbs like say, give, lend. etc. Look:

I say this to you.

I will lend my bike to Alicia.

  • To is used for telling time, for example:

It is five minutes to two.

It's ten to two.

  • To is used to show the result of an action. Look:

It was torn to pieces.

smashed to pieces

  • To is used to show a particular state, time, or level is approached.

two months to the New Year

It takes time to reach from happiness to sadness.

  • To is used to show a something in connection with something else, look:

He was so mean to me.

her response to you

  • To can head a phrase and show people's reactions to something, like:

To my amazement, he smiled.

  • To shows something is attached to something else. Look:

The key is attached to my door.

Tie this string to that handle.

  • To shows the position of something is against something else. Look:

cheek to cheek

standing back to back

Position in a Sentence

To as a preposition is used before nouns or pronouns and make prepositional phrases. Look:

To my honor

Nouns can take determiners.

2. 'To' as an Infinitive Marker

Use

To as an infinitive marker stands before a verb. Take a look at its functions:

  • To is used to show purpose or intention:

I want to do that.

I asked her to talk to my boss.

  • To is used to indicate the reason/cause of something. Look:

I am glad to hear that.

She was sorry to being with you.

  • To is used to indicate something that is known, believed, or reported. For example:

a person that people believed to be nervous

a book that is knows to be good

  • To comes before a verb and is used to show the function of something. For example:

a pillow to sleep on

a glass to use

  • To is used to avoid repeating a verb clause, in the following example, 'I hope to' replaces 'I hope to succeed.'

A : Do you succeed?

B : I hope to.

I don't know what to do.

She understands how to touch it.

Tip

To can be used with an infinitive after 'there is' or 'there are' and a noun:

There's a lot of work to do here.

Position in a Sentence

'To' as an infinitive marker heads an infinitive verb, look:

She understands how to touch it.

a person that people believed to be nervous

Tip

A clause that has 'to' can be used as the subject of a sentence:

To do that on your own is very unique.

'To do that on your own' is the subject.

'To' as an Adverb

To in British English can be an adverb, it is used with 'push/pull the door' and means 'toward a closed position.' Look:

I pushed the door to.

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