to - definition in the American English Dictionary - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

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English definition of “to”

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to

preposition  us   /tu, , /

to preposition (INFINITIVE)

used before a verb showing that it is in the infinitive: She agreed to help. I asked her to finish by Friday. I need to eat something. I’d love to visit New York. I want to go now. "To" followed by an infinitive is used after adjectives: It’s not likely to happen. I was afraid to tell her. "To" followed by an infinitive is used after nouns: He has the ability to do two things at once. "To" followed by an infinitive can begin a clause: To be honest (= Speaking honestly), I prefer the gray skirt. "To" followed by an infinitive can be used to express requests or orders: Is it possible to have tea instead? You’re not to go there by yourself. "To" followed by an infinitive is used after "how," "what," "when," "where," "whether," "which," "who," "whom," or "whose": I don’t know what to do. Can you tell me how to get there? "To" followed by an infinitive is used after "enough": I was close enough to touch him.

to preposition (INSTEAD OF VERB)

used instead of a verb clause when answering questions: "Would you like to go to the movies tonight?" "Yes, I’d love to."

to preposition (FOR)

for the purpose of doing something: I asked Helen out to dinner.

to preposition (SHOWING DIRECTION)

in the direction of or as far as: We went to Montreal last year. I’m going to the bank. We were in mud up to our ankles. "To" can be used to show the position of something or someone in relation to something or someone else: We came face to face in the elevator. The Rocky Mountains are to the west of the Great Plains. "To" can show something is on or around something: Can you tie the dog’s leash to the fence?

to preposition (BETWEEN)

used in phrases that show a range of things or a distance between places: There must have been 30 to 35 people there. We got two to three inches of snow at home. Read pages 10 to 25. It’s two to three hundred miles from Boston to Washington.

to preposition (RECEIVING)

used for showing who receives something or who experiences an action: I told that story to Glen. Who’s the letter addressed to?

to preposition (IN CONNECTION WITH)

in connection with: They exercise to music. What was their response to that news?

to preposition (COMPARED WITH)

compared with: Paul beat me three games to two. I scored 80 to Talia’s 90.

to preposition (UNTIL)

until a particular time, state, or condition is reached: It’s only two weeks to your birthday. We’re open daily from 2 to 6 p.m. My shirt was torn to shreds. "To" is used, when giving the time, to mean minutes before the stated hour: It’s twenty to six.

to preposition (CAUSING)

causing a particular feeling or effect in someone: To my great relief, she decided against going.

to preposition (CONSIDERED BY)

considered by: Does this make any sense to you? Fifty dollars is very little to him.

to preposition (MATCHING)

matching or belonging to: the top to a bottle the keys to my apartment There is a funny side to everything.

to preposition (FOR EACH)

for each of; per : This car gets about 30 miles to the gallon.
(Definition of to from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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