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Which of the following is correct?

I am leaving for London.

I am leaving to London.

I have always thought the first one is correct till I came across the name of this painting.

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related: “where's that to?” –  Matt Эллен Apr 20 '12 at 9:19
    
By the way, since the painter is Italian, the title of the painting is not the original title by the artist but a translation from somebody who may not have translated it correctly. –  user41919 Apr 5 '13 at 19:21
    
Agreed. I today certainly wouldn’t translate Il Viaggio di Mosè in Egitto with anything involving “leaving to”. –  tchrist Apr 5 '13 at 19:29

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Both are correct, but the first is more common modern parlance. Leaving to is likely an ellipsis of leaving to go to.

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I don't think it's missing go to at all. As the answer to the question I link to suggests, to by itself is accepted and has been for hundreds of years. –  Matt Эллен Apr 20 '12 at 9:24
    
@MattЭллен That question also says "Now only dial. and U.S. colloq." I've never heard it in England (but then I don't often go to Somerset and the West Country), and I'd never use "leave to London". –  Andrew Leach Apr 20 '12 at 13:31
    
@AndrewLeach I bet it's heard (well maybe not the London part) in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall –  Matt Эллен Apr 20 '12 at 13:42
    
How about "I'm about to leave to the station?" –  Matt Эллен Apr 20 '12 at 13:45
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I'm happy that it should be a West Country or American dialect. The US inherited many dialectal forms, or has developed them separately [UK: got; US still has gotten]. But I'd never leave to anywhere, it's always leave for. –  Andrew Leach Apr 20 '12 at 13:49

"Leave to" is not an American usage - as an American ESL teacher/ editor, I can guarantee that it is not in our grammar books. The accepted standard preposition that completes the infinitive in this case is "for" - in recent times, I've heard an Irish woman using "to" and did a Google search to see if it was perhaps a BE form that I wasn't familiar with.

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