Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “to”

to

preposition (SHOWING DIRECTION)    strong /tuː/ weak // /tu/ // US  //
A1 in the direction of: We're going to town on the bus, okay? We went to Prague last year. I asked someone the way to the town centre. You can walk from here to the station in under ten minutes. I've asked Helen and Ben to dinner (= invited them to come and eat dinner with me) next week. We received another invitation to a wedding this morning. I had my back to them, so I couldn't see what they were doing. She walked over to the window. He went up to a complete stranger and started talking. You've got your sweater on back to front (= with the back of the sweater on the chest).Describing movement towards Grammar:At, in and to (movement)We use to when we are talking about movement in the direction of a point, place, or position:See moreGrammar:No or not?No and not are the two most common words we use to indicate negation. We use no before a noun phrase:See moreGrammar:NounsNouns are one of the four major word classes, along with verbs, adjectives and adverbs. Nouns are the largest word class.See moreGrammar:ToTo is a preposition. It is also used as part of the infinitive (the to-infinitive):See moreGrammar:To as a preposition: destination or directionWe can use to as a preposition to indicate a destination or direction:See moreGrammar:To as a preposition: receiver of an actionWe use to with verbs such as give, hand, send, write, to indicate the person or thing that receives or experiences the object of the verb:See moreGrammar:To as a preposition: timeWe use to in telling the time, when we refer to the number of minutes before the hour:See moreGrammar:To as a preposition: approximate numbersWe can use to when we refer to an approximate number somewhere between a lower number and a higher number:See moreGrammar:To as a preposition: after nounsA number of nouns are followed by to. These include nouns expressing direction or destination such as door, entrance, road, route, way:See moreGrammar:To as a preposition: after verbsSome verbs are followed by the preposition to, including be used, get used, listen, look forward, object, reply, respond:See moreGrammar:To as a preposition: after adjectivesSome adjectives connected with people’s behaviour and feelings are followed by to, including cruel, faithful, generous, kind, loyal, nasty:See moreGrammar:To: the to-infinitiveWe use to before a verb to make the to-infinitive form:See more
(Definition of to preposition (SHOWING DIRECTION) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of to

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Describing movement towards, but you might be interested in these topics from the Movement and location topic area:

Definitions of “to” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

sail

When a boat or a ship sails, it travels on the water.

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More