English can be a little confusing for a lot of people, especially for non-native people. This is because of the number of complexities that are being posed by the rules of grammar.

When it comes to ‘of’ and ‘to’ a lot of people are confused when to use which preposition. However, there are certain ways to determine the manner in which each of the words is to be used.

So, what is the difference between’ ‘to’ and ‘of’? In a nutshell,’ of’ is used to signify relation or in connection to something. Whereas,’ to’ is used to indicate the purpose, location, or thing someone is moving to.

In this article, we will be focusing on the usage of each of them and how they differ from each other.

What does ‘Of’ denote?

The major use of ‘Of’ is used to denote ownership or possession. For example:

  • ‘Rio was the owner of the restaurant.’
  • ‘The purse was of my sister’s friend.’
  • ‘Tomato is a part of the nightshade family.’

Of is also used to indicate a reference to time. For instance:

  • ‘The estimated time of the ceremony was 8’o clock.’
  • ‘At the time of the accident, it was raining’
  • Most of the times Jon is really helpful.

Apart from this,’ of’ is used when something is a part of something. This may be a little unclear so let’s have a look at the example,

  • ‘He took a piece of chocolate from the packet.’
  • ‘A part of the fund will go towards recreational activities.’
  • ‘The team will spend most part of their day on the site for mining.’

‘Of’ is also used to display relationships between things or an outcome of a certain activity.

Let’s see a set of examples for the same. This might be a little difficult to understand and hence we have provided you with a list of examples to make it more clear.

  • ‘The best part of the show was at the end.’
  • ‘The prologue of the book gives an idea about the storyline.’
  • ‘She was one of the founders of the club.’

What does ‘To’ denote?

‘To’ is one of the most used prepositions. It is used to show a plan or movement in a certain direction. It is also used to indicate the place of arrival. For example,

  • ‘I am going to Sandra’s place.’
  • ‘The soldiers decided to move towards the North.’
  • ‘Are you going to the physics class tomorrow?’

Additionally, ‘To’ is used to indicate some work that needs to be done or some duty that one has to fulfill. For instance,

  • ‘I need to submit the assignment by the end of the week.’
  • ‘You have to clear this mess before the guests come.’
  • ‘Alex needs to complete this work before the deadline or else she will be asked to leave the project.’

‘To’ is also used to indicate a range of time between which something some event or thing is going to take place. For example,

  • ‘The ceremony will be conducted at the museum between 5 pm to 7 pm.’
  • ‘The number of deaths caused by the accident was somewhere between 50 to 60.’
  • ‘She needs to complete a week’s training to match the eligibility criteria.’

 Moreover,’ to’ also denotes an endpoint. Therefore,’ to’ covers the quantitative aspect of anything. For example,

  • ‘The value of the pound suddenly increased to 1.73$.’
  • ‘I did not work so hard to give up at this point.’
  • ‘She didn’t know what to do next.’

Furthermore, ‘To’ is also used to indicate a relationship, possession of something, or a sense of belonging. For example,

  • ‘The police suspected that the knife belonged to Penny.’
  • ‘He is like a brother to me.’
  • ‘Mary had responded to your query in the email.’

Infinitive verbs also use ‘To’ as their prefix. Infinitive verbs mean the base form of the verb. In this type of verbs,’ To’ is used as a part of the verb and not as a preposition.For example,

  • ‘I want to be a leading cardiologist.’
  • ‘I hope to spend less than $20 dollars on my haircut.’
  • ‘Try to solve this equation without anybody’s help.’

Difference Between ‘To’ And ‘Of’

Now that have learned the usage of, ’of’ and ‘to’ let’s have a look at the key differences between both of them.

Usage

‘Of’ is used to describe a connection or relationship with someone or to indicate distance. For example,

  • ‘Jon is one of the smartest people I know.’
  • ‘Of all the designs that she showed me, this is the best one’

Whereas, ‘To’ is usually used in sentences to express some work that is to be done. It is also used to express quantities.

  • ‘I need to finish this work  before the client comes.’
  • ‘I am going to buy 3 chocolates.’

As A Prefix To Infinitive verbs

‘To’ is used as a prefix to an infinitive verb. For example,

  • ‘ I want to be an artist.’

Whereas ‘of’ has a wider usage and is not specifically used with any type of sentence.

Comparison Chart: ‘To’ Vs ‘Of’

CharacteristicOfTo
Usage‘Of’ is used when we are talking about a relationship or some sort of distance.‘To’ is used for targets and quantities.
Specific Use‘Of’ has more of general use.‘To’ is specifically used while using Infinitive verbs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of “of lately”?

Of lately is a more fancy word for “recently”.For instance, if you have seen more movies more than the usual number of times, you could say,” I have seen a lot of movies, of late”

What is the meaning of “to and Fro”?

To and fro is used to express a back and forth motion of something. To be precise,’ to’ means ‘towards’ and ‘fro’ means to go away from. However, people tend to use to and fro for any sort of movement in opposite directions.

For example,
‘She rocked her baby to and fro steadily.’
‘It is indeed a tough task to go to and fro.’

Conclusion

With continuous efforts and significant exposure to the English language is the best way to develop your skills. There are going to be instances where you will get confused like what is the difference between ‘to’ and ‘of’.However, that could be solved if one pays proper attention to the intricacies.

Although, in a lot of sentences you will see that ‘to’ and ‘of’ can be used interchangeably.

So whenever you are confused about which preposition to use ‘to’ or ‘of’, try using the above-mentioned learnings to solve any sort of confusion.