The preposition to primarily indicates approach and arrival, motion made in the direction of a place or thing and attaining it, access; and also, motion or tendency without arrival; movement toward; -- opposed to from.
Hence, it indicates motion, course, or tendency toward a time, a state or condition, an aim, or anything capable of being regarded as a limit to a tendency, movement, or action; as, he is going to a trade; he is rising to wealth and honor.
In a very general way, and with innumerable varieties of application, to connects transitive verbs with their remoter or indirect object, and adjectives, nouns, and neuter or passive verbs with a following noun which limits their action. Its sphere verges upon that of for, but it contains less the idea of design or appropriation; as, these remarks were addressed to a large audience; let us keep this seat to ourselves; a substance sweet to the taste; an event painful to the mind; duty to God and to our parents; a dislike to spirituous liquor.
As sign of the infinitive, to had originally the use of last defined, governing the infinitive as a verbal noun, and connecting it as indirect object with a preceding verb or adjective; thus, ready to go, i.e., ready unto going; good to eat, i.e., good for eating; I do my utmost to lead my life pleasantly. But it has come to be the almost constant prefix to the infinitive, even in situations where it has no prepositional meaning, as where the infinitive is direct object or subject; thus, I love to learn, i.e., I love learning; to die for one's country is noble, i.e., the dying for one's country. Where the infinitive denotes the design or purpose, good usage formerly allowed the prefixing of for to the to; as, what went ye out for see? (Matt. xi. 8).
In many phrases, and in connection with many other words, to has a pregnant meaning, or is used elliptically.
Extent; limit; degree of comprehension; inclusion as far as; as, they met us to the number of three hundred.
Effect; end; consequence; as, the prince was flattered to his ruin; he engaged in a war to his cost; violent factions exist to the prejudice of the state.
Apposition; connection; antithesis; opposition; as, they engaged hand to hand.
Accord; adaptation; as, an occupation to his taste; she has a husband to her mind.
Comparison; as, three is to nine as nine is to twenty-seven; it is ten to one that you will offend him.
Addition; union; accumulation.
Accompaniment; as, she sang to his guitar; they danced to the music of a piano.
Character; condition of being; purpose subserved or office filled.
to in Afrikaans is aan, om te, na, toe, na ... toe, vir
to in Danish is til
to in Dutch is naar, aan, tot, bij, tegen, voor
to in Finnish is varten
to in German is zu, zu
to in Italian is a tavola, in
to in Latin is tenus, procul, gratia
to in Portuguese is a, para
to in Spanish is a, para, ante
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