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How vs To - What's the difference?

how | to |

As adverbs the difference between how and to

is that how is to what degree while to is toward a closed, touching or engaging position.

As a noun how

is the means by which something is accomplished.

As a conjunction how

is in which way; in such way.

As an interjection how

is A greeting, used in representations of Native American speech.

As a particle to is

A particle used for marking the following verb as an infinitive.

As a preposition to is

Indicating destination: In the direction of, and arriving at.

As an abbreviation TO is

toronto, a Canadian city.



(wikipedia how)

Etymology 1

From (etyl) (m), (m), (m), (m), (etyl) . /hw/ > /h/ due to in (etyl); compare (m), which underwent this change later, and thus is spelt ''wh
((etyl) spelling of /hw/) but pronounced /h/ (it previously had a different vowel, hence avoided the spelling and sound change in Old English). Vowel change per Great Vowel Shift. Akin to (etyl) (m) ((etyl) (m)), . See (m) and compare (m).


  • To what degree.
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=4 , passage=No matter how early I came down, I would find him on the veranda, smoking cigarettes, or otherwise his man would be there with a message to say that his master would shortly join me if I would kindly wait.}}
  • In what manner.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-08-03, volume=408, issue=8847, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Boundary problems , passage=Economics is a messy discipline: too fluid to be a science, too rigorous to be an art. Perhaps it is fitting that economists’ most-used metric, gross domestic product (GDP), is a tangle too.
  • In what state.
  • How are you?
    How was your vacation?
    Usage notes
    * See usage notes on else. * How good is it?'' means "To what extent is it good?", whereas ''How is it good?'' means "In what manner is it good?". Likewise, ''I know how good it is'' means "I know the extent to which it is good", whereas ''I know how it is good means "I know the manner in which it is good".
    Derived terms
    * how many * how much * how come * how so * know-how


    (en noun)
  • The means by which something is accomplished.
  • I am not interested in the why, but in the how .
  • * 1924 , Joseph Rickaby, Studies on God and His Creatures? , p. 102:
  • It is an a posteriori argument, evincing the fact, but not the how .


    (English Conjunctions)
  • In which way; in such way.
  • I remember how to solve this puzzle.
  • That, the fact that, the way that.
  • * 2010 April 24, Jesse McKinley, “ Don’t Call It ‘Pot’ in This Circle; It’s a Profession]”, in [[w:The New York Times, The New York Times] , page A1:
  • “There’s this real Al Capone fear that they’re going to get our guys, not on marijuana, but on something else,” Mr. Edson said, referring to how Capone was eventually charged with tax evasion rather than criminal activity.

    Etymology 2

    From a (etyl) language, compare (etyl) . Alternatively from (etyl) (m).


  • Etymology 3

    From (etyl) (m).


    (en noun)
  • (dialectal) An artificial barrow or tumulus.
  • (dialectal) A small hill in northern England. (Usage preserved mainly in place names.)
  • References

    * *





    Alternative forms

    * (dialectal) ter * (contraction) t' * (abbreviation)


  • I want to leave.
    He asked me what to do.
    I don’t know how to say it.
    I have places to''' go and people '''to see.
  • * 1711 , :
  • To' err is human, ' to forgive divine.
  • * , Scene 1:
  • To be, or not to be: that is the question: /
  • * 2010 July, , headline [http://web.archive.org/web/20100705003703/http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gfMucgz8wUGUNUNXRyIyqzY6lWwQD9GM98N83]:
  • Odds are, BP to get new CEO this year
  • * {{quote-news
  • , year=2011 , date=April 10 , author=Alistair Magowan , title=Aston Villa 1 - 0 Newcastle , work=BBC Sport citation , page= , passage=To' that end, the home supporters were in good voice ' to begin with, but it was Newcastle who started the game in the ascendancy, with Barton putting a diving header over the top from Jose Enrique's cross.}}
  • "Did you visit the museum?" "I wanted to , but it was closed."
    If he hasn't read it yet, he ought to .

    Derived terms

    * going to / gonna * got to / gotta * have to / hafta * ought to / oughta * supposed to / supposta * used to / usta * want to / wanna * fixing to / finna


    (English prepositions)
  • In the direction of, and arriving at.
  • We are walking to the shop.
  • * 2013 September 28, , " London Is Special, but Not That Special," New York Times (retrieved 28 September 2013):
  • Driven by a perceived political need to adopt a hard-line stance, Mr. Cameron’s coalition government has imposed myriad new restrictions, the aim of which is to reduce net migration to Britain to below 100,000.
  • He devoted himself to education.
    They drank to his health.
  • That is something to do.
  • His face was beaten to a pulp.
  • similar to''' ...'', ''relevant '''to''' ...'', ''pertinent '''to''' ...'', ''I was nice '''to''' him'', ''he was cruel '''to''' her'', ''I am used '''to walking.
  • (arithmetic)
  • one to one = 1:1
    ten to one = 10:1.
  • * {{quote-news
  • , year=2012 , date=April 22 , author=Sam Sheringham , title=Liverpool 0-1 West Brom , work=BBC Sport citation , page= , passage=In total, the Reds had 28 shots to their opponent's nine, and 15 corners to the Baggies' three.}}
  • (arithmetic) .
  • Three squared or three to the second power is nine.
    Three to the power of two is nine.
    Three to the second is nine.
  • I gave the book to him.
  • (time) Preceding.
  • ten to''' ten'' = 9:50; ''We're going to leave at ten '''to (the hour).
  • (Canada, UK, Newfoundland, West Midlands) at
  • Stay where you're to and I'll come find you, b'y.

    See also

    * at


  • Toward a closed, touching or engaging position.
  • Please push the door to .
  • * 1913 ,
  • He went in his room, pushed the door to , without fastening the latch.
  • (nautical) Into the wind.
  • Synonyms

    * closed, shut


    * open, ajar

    See also

    * come to * heave to * lean-to * set-to * to and fro * (English Citations of "to")


    * Andrea Tyler and Vyvyan Evans, "Spatial particles of orientation", in The Semantics of English Prepositions: Spatial Scenes, Embodied Meaning and Cognition , Cambridge University Press, 2003, 0-521-81430 8