Consider the following two phrases which are both about going to some place:

If I can't make it there

If I can't make it to there

Isn't the second phrase grammatically correct, whereas the first is not? If they are both correct and both mean the same thing, then what's the difference, if anything?

closed as off-topic by Edwin Ashworth, Chenmunka, ScotM, Centaurus, Marv Mills Jul 1 '15 at 12:55

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No your first example is grammatically correct and your second is incorrect†.

In English there can be used in various ways but here we are using it as an adverb rather than as a noun as it seems you are thinking.

Now the adverb there has several senses that might require distinct cases or prepositions in other languages (or even in English if we were dealing with a noun and not there):

  • "in" or "at" a place
  • "to" or "into" a place

So you see that a sense of "there" already covers the preposition "to" thus making it redundant and in this case ungrammatical.

I have noticed that "to there" is a very common mistake among Japanese learners of English by the way.


†As Boob points out in another answer there are some circumstances under which "to there" is grammatical but I'll leave this as a footnote since this appears to be an English-learner question and I might make things more unclear if I attempt to cover those also.

  • lol nice catch! Actually I'm an English learner of Japanese, and am listening to Japanese music even as I write this. I've been studying Japanese for years, and I guess their grammatical tendencies are starting to have an effect on my English. lol! – language hacker May 21 '11 at 10:16
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    Second one is also correct. – user8568 May 21 '11 at 11:02
  • Sorry Boob you are correct. I added a footnote to my question. – hippietrail May 21 '11 at 11:19
  • So how was Japan? – language hacker Jul 14 '11 at 4:59
  • Basically, "No your first example is grammatically correct and your second is incorrect" should be deleted. Prepositional deletion is common with say "If I can't make it to there by Friday, it will have to be next week" – but not mandatory. 'There' is defined as a pronoun as well as an adverb // locative/directional particle. 'From there' and 'near there' are commonplace. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 30 '15 at 0:14

Without a preposition make it cannot be used to directly refer to a place.

  • *I can't make it your birthday.
  • *I can't make it France.

However, it can be used to indirectly refer to a place, using a locational pronoun:

  • I can't make it there.
  • Can you make it here by Thursday?

It can also refer to a time by eliding the preposition on:

  • I can't make it (on) Thursday

With a preposition make it cannot refer to locational pronouns.

  • *I can't make it to there.
  • *Can you make it to here.
  • 'With a preposition make it cannot refer to locational pronouns.' Have you an authority to support this statement? There are 1 500 000 Google hits for "made it to here", and I wouldn't consider it ungrammatical. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 30 '15 at 0:12
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    It's not ungrammatical in that it is still intelligible, but it is not standard English, "can you make it to here by five o'clock" sounds like Singlish or something similar. – jsj Jun 30 '15 at 1:25
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    But you're choosing your examples. Let me choose one. 'We must turn back. I'm surprised we've even made it to here [= this far].' While I agree that your example would normally be used without the 'to', 'With a preposition make it cannot refer to locational pronouns' is obviously not altogether true. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 30 '15 at 16:02
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    @EdwinAshworth Ahh see now you are making a constructive point. That is a case I didn't consider. The "to" can be used emphasise the distance. I wonder what rules govern that case. – jsj Jul 1 '15 at 0:25

"Make it" is synonomous with "succeed" is some contexts.

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    True, but that isn't the context of the question. – Chenmunka Jun 30 '15 at 9:49

The place where I can get a new one is pretty far and I cant make it there now.

Means I cannot go now.

I can't make it to there but I'm addicted to it.

Means I cannot continue it (a game) to the specific step even though I'm addicted to it.

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