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Thread: "to" the gallon

  1. #1
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    Default "to" the gallon

    Hellow, I have a question again.
    It's regarding the following sentence.
    "The car does 30 miles to the gallon".
    (= The car does 30 miles per gallon.)
    As a non-English speaker, "to" the gallon is strange to me.
    In this sentence, why "to" is grammatically used?
    Thank you very much.

  2. #2
    sheena55ro Guest

    Default Re: "to" the gallon

    Quote Originally Posted by H. Shimoya
    Hellow, I have a question again.
    It's regarding the following sentence.
    "The car does 30 miles to the gallon".
    (= The car does 30 miles per gallon.)
    As a non-English speaker, "to" the gallon is strange to me.
    In this sentence, why "to" is grammatically used?
    Thank you very much.

    Both "to the gallon" and "per gallon" are correct.
    e.g.
    How many miles per gallon does the car get? -correct
    The car does 30 miles to the gallon. - correct
    The car does 30 miles per gallon - correct

    As for me, I prefer "per mile"

    All the best,

  3. #3
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    Default Re: "to" the gallon

    Thank you very much.
    So, in this case,
    does "to" grammaticaly means
    mevement of something in a direction
    including its destination?

    Thank you very much again.

  4. #4
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: "to" the gallon

    Hello H., welcome to Using English!

    "To" in "to the gallon" expresses a relation between two things; if you want to connect it with the more usual meanings of "to", perhaps you could think of it as a metaphorical "against" (where one thing is set "against" another).

    Or thus:

    10 miles => 1 gallon
    100 miles => 10 gallons

    etc., where => expresses correspondence or movement.

    All the best,
    MrP

  5. #5
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    Default Re: "to" the gallon

    Quote Originally Posted by H. Shimoya
    Thank you very much.
    So, in this case,
    does "to" grammaticaly means
    mevement of something in a direction
    including its destination?
    Thank you very much again.
    No, it doesn't. "To" in this context means 'in opposition to', and is commonly used in vernacular speech, particularly in British English.

    For example, there is a common (albeit old-fashioned) vernacular phrase in British English 'nineteen to the dozen', meaning someone (or something) that is going so fast or exuberantly that they (or it) complete 19 (of whatever it is they are doing) for every 12 (dozen) that you would normally expect them to complete. For example, "I never see Bob these days - that factory works him nineteen to the dozen..."

    Saying that your car does "forty to the gallon" is not only an acceptable usage - it is standard British English. It means "I can travel forty miles IN OPPOSITION TO the expenditure of one gallon of fuel".

  6. #6
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    Default Re: "to" the gallon

    Thank you very much.

    I'm satisfied as a non-English speaker that
    "to" is grammaticaly equivalent to "against" in this case.

    Such as, "today's exchange rate against the dollar".

    Thank you very much again.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: "to" the gallon

    Thank you very much, Coffa.
    I understand this sufficiently;
    >"To" in this context means 'in opposition to', and is commonly used in
    >vernacular speech, particularly in British English.

    And, I thank you very much for the interesting expression that
    "that factory works him nineteen to the dozen".
    I think that this "to" completely means "against".

    Thank you very much.

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