I am travelling to Prague from London for a couple of days.
- Should I exchange my money here in the UK first?

Having to re-read this question on the travel SE site, I was reminded of financial reports on Bloomberg and similar, where a release of new data is often constructed as, for example, "Full-year profits increased to $4 million from $3.5 million."

This "to... from..." word-order pattern seems mostly to appear in US-sourced copy.

When using such information in my own reports I would invariably reverse the order - to me, it seems far more logical/normal/readable/scannable to write the starting point first, then move to the end point.

Am I being over-critical? Is there any linguistic rationale for "to... from..." that I am missing?

  • In your financial example I'd prefer to see 'up from' or 'down from' depending on the direction. I agree with you on the order, 'from' then 'to' scans better. – mjsqu May 1 '14 at 0:03
  • The use of to...from vs. from...to is entirely contextual and individual. There is no American preference. We go to London from (wherever), and go from $40 to $120, or profits were increased from 15% to 30%. – anongoodnurse May 1 '14 at 1:05

I agree that it is far easier to follow from... to... unless there is a good reason.
Stock quotes seem to have an adequate excuse: the reader's attention is expected to be firmly attached to the current value, with the previous value given as an afterthought.


It's all about attention.

  1. The ball was passed to ball man from man ball.
  2. The ball was passed from ball man to man ball.

Both are talking about the same thing.

  1. About where it went
  2. Where it came from or who got it there.

The best way to use To & From would be to use "To" in the beginning and followed by "From". My reasoning is, it is always fair to start with what you want. For example: I want to change my name to "1XXXX1" from "1XXXX".

  • Welcome to ELU. Wouldn't you say that it's preferable to end with what you want? – JHCL Oct 21 '15 at 15:44
  • 1
    I'm sorry, but this is your opinion, based apparently on your view on what makes most sense. Language use is not determined by any one person's opinion, and often not particularly by logic. Your opinion (or mine) of what would make most sense is not of much value. – Colin Fine Apr 26 at 16:47

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