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Expression with 'To'

Expression with 'To'

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Requirements

Expressions with "to"

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn some very common expressions which consist of a verb and the preposition "to". In an earlier lesson, we learned that some expressions require prepositions to add directionality or more information. These expressions require "to" in order to make them complete. First, we will look at each expression with an example of its use in a sentence. Then we will hear a dialog in which some of the expressions are used. Finally we will examine the sentences of the dialog.
We will group expressions that are used in grammatically similar ways in order to explain their use.  The first group of expressions involves interpersonal relationships. These expressions consist of a subject, (usually a person or people,)  a conjugated form of "to be",an adjective,  the preposition "to", and an object, (usually a person or people.) For example, we can say "Jennifer is friendly to the people in her office.".  In this sentence, "Jennifer" is the subject, "is" is the conjugated form of "to be", "friendly" is the adjective, followed by "to", and "people in her office" is the object.
Similarly, we can say "David is kind to animals.". In this case, "David" is the subject, followed by "is" which is the conjugated form of "to be", "kind" is the adjective, followed by "to", and then "animals". While these expressions generally refer to people, it is not a requirement, as in this case, where David is kind to "animals".  
We can say "David and Jennifer are happily married. Jennifer is faithful to David, and David is faithful to Jennifer.". We can also say that "David is good to Jennifer, and Jennifer is good to David."   An expression which is grammatically the same, but quite different in meaning, can be used this way: "Mr. Johnson is rude to the workers.".
The second group of expressions also involves a conjugated form of "to be", an adjective which looks like a past tense verb, "the preposition "to", and a noun or pronoun.  For example, "David and Jennifer are used to their apartment."  Although this may seem to be a past tense formation, it is not the past tense. Later in our English studies, we will learn more about this construction. For now, this kind of construction works like an adjective. Another expression which works similarly is "David is opposed to animal cruelty."
A third group of expressions involves a subject, a conjugated verb, the preposition "to", and an object.  In the sentences "David talks to Jennifer." and "David speaks to Jennifer.", we can easily see that the preposition "to" adds some directionality to the verb – the talking is directed from David to Jennifer. Similarly, "Jennifer responds to David." shows the directionality of the action – from Jennifer to David.  We can see a similar, but more abstract, nuance of directionality in the sentence "The job matters to David." which means that the job is important to David. This expression can also be used with an interpersonal meaning – "Jennifer matters to David." Another expression involving "to" is "The apartment belongs to Jennifer and David.".  And finally, a very obvious usage of the preposition "to" in the expression "travel to". "David and Jennifer will travel to Chicago." in which the directionality of the verb is clear.  
Listen to this dialog, in which Jennifer and David are talking about David's boss, Mr. Johnson.

Jennifer:   Mr. Johnson is not very friendly to the workers.
David:  No, he is sometimes rude to us.
Jennifer:  How do you respond to him?
David:  We are friendly to him. We are used to him.
Jennifer:  How can you be so faithful to him?
David:  Our work matters to him.
Jennifer:   He is not kind to you.
David:   He is good to us. He pays us well.

Now that you have heard the dialog, let us take a look at the sentences of the dialog.
At first, Jennifer says "Mr. Johnson is not very friendly to the workers.". We notice that the movement of the action is one-way – from Mr. Johnson to the workers. The preposition "to" adds important nuance to the expression. Similar directionality is shown when David responds, "No, he is sometimesrude to us.".  We see that the rude behavior goes only in one direction.
Jennifer uses one of the verbs with the preposition "to" when she asks "How do you respond to him?". We can see the importance of the preposition – she is asking about the workers' response to Mr. Johnson, but not about his response to them.
David explains "We are friendly to him. We are used to him.". Here, David explains the workers' response to and feelings toward Mr. Johnson. Again, the response and feelings are unidirectional.  
Jennifer asks "How can you be so faithful to him?". Jennifer wonders about the workers' feelings toward Mr. Johnson, but not about Mr. Johnson's feelings toward the workers. The preposition "to" again gives nuance to the expression in an important way.
David answers "Our work matters to him.".  In this case, David explains that their work is important to Mr. Johnson. Without the preposition "to", this statement would not make sense. None of David's previous comments would combine to form a reason for the behavior of the workers. So the small preposition "to" is very important.
Jennifer says "He is not kind to you.", showing the directionality of Mr. Johnson's behavior – from Mr. Johnson to the workers, to which David responds  " He is good to us. He pays us well.", so the difference between being "kind to" or "friendly to" someone does not add up to the same thing as being "good to" someone. In the end David wraps up by explaining  that Mr. Johnson "is good to" the workers because he pays them well, with the implication that Mr. Johnson's appreciation for their work is not in his friendliness or kindness, but rather in his expression of appreciation, his pay for their important work, which "matters to him".
Listen to the dialog once more, paying special attention to the nuance which is made possible by the preposition "to".
Jennifer:   Mr. Johnson is not very friendly to the workers.
David:  No, he is sometimes rude to us.
Jennifer:  How do you respond to him?
David:  We are friendly to him. We are used to him.
Jennifer:  How can you be so faithful to him?
David:  Our work matters to him.
Jennifer:   He is not kind to you.
David:   He is good to us. He pays us well.

Great! Sometimes a little word can be of great importance. This is the case with the little word we used today. You can use it to make your statements clearer. You can use it to express feelings more exactly.  Use it often in your English conversations.