Most Common English Words (no. 3)

In my last post I wrote that the third most common word in the English language is a two-letter word like “be”. Any ideas? If you think the answer is “to“, you got it!

To” is a common word because it is used to form the infinitive. The infinitive is formed by combining “to” and a verb, but it is not a verb. It is used as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.

  • Everyone wants to eat cake. (“to eat cake” is a noun)
  • Is it time to eat? (“to eat” is an adjective for “time”)
  • My dad went to work. (“to work” is an adverb for “went”)

If it is not used in an infinitive, “to” can be used to show the direction of a movement or action.

  • We will go to Spain this year.
  • I will ride my bike to school.

It is also used to show the person or thing that receives something.

  • They are nice to her.
  • I gave the present to her.

Finally, “to” can be used to mean “until” or “before”.

  • My school is from eight to three.
  • It’s 15 days to April.

These are not the only ways to use “to” but these can give you an idea of how useful it is. Read again tomorrow to find out the next word on the list.