Is “To” a Preposition or an Adverb? Quick Quiz for Grammar Pros

Last updated Mar 1, 2024
By Gwenydd Jones

You know you’re a grammar pro when you even start wondering about such nerdy matters as whether to is a preposition or an adverb. In fact, it can be both.

In the labyrinth of language, the fine line between prepositions and adverbs can be a tricky terrain to navigate. This is especially true when we’re talking about a common little word like to.

Fear not, for we’ve crafted a quick and quirky quiz to challenge even the most seasoned grammar pros. Read on grammar knight to put your grammar skills to the test.

Cartoon of Suricata wondering “Is to a preposition or an adverb?”

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Quiz questions: “to” as a preposition versus an adverb

Is the word in bold an adverb or a preposition?

1. Thereto

2. A means to an end

3. He ran to catch the train.

4. Drink to her health.

5. The car belongs to Marie.​​

Scroll down for the answers and for some quick tips to help you tell whether to is a preposition or an adverb.

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07/21/2024 06:47 am GMT

Quiz answers: “to” as a preposition versus an adverb

1. Thereto is an adverb that indicates direction or purpose.

2. In the phrase a means to an end, the word to is a preposition that establishes a directional connection between means and end.

3. In he ran to catch the train, the word to is an adverb of purpose modifying a verb.

4. In the phrase drink to her health, the word to is a preposition expressing the direction of the action towards a noun. In this case, the destination or purpose of the drinking is her health.

5. In the car belongs to Marie, the word to is a preposition expressing possession.

Quick tips to tell whether “to” is a preposition or an adverb

Prepositions are normally followed by a noun or pronoun. They often relate to position and direction.

Adverbs normally modify verbs and express the manner or purpose of an action. They can also modify an adjective or another adverb.

When to is a preposition, it’ll likely answer the question where? It’ll tell you about place or direction. When to is an adverb, it’ll probably be modifying a verb or adjective to tell you how something happened.

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07/21/2024 07:07 am GMT

Written by Gwenydd Jones

Gwenydd Jones is a Spanish- and French-to-English translator, an SEO blogger and a course creator. She is the founder of The Translator's Studio and the lead teacher on its courses. Connect with Gwenydd on LinkedIn or contact her through this website.

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