2

I wonder what's the difference between

"make a right turn to the corner"

and

"make a right turn at the corner."

My teachers could hardly explain why the former one is wrong, and I only found one match at Google

Does

"He makes a turn to the corner"

really sound strange to native speakers?

  • Although i wanted to answer the question, others were faster. Basically it's a different meaning - this is a common English mistake made by NNE people, usually appears more during learning English.(non natives). – Sakatox Feb 23 '16 at 17:03
  • Thanks for making the layout more outstanding. And you're right my Chi-English does influence me a lot during learning the language. – 宏一封 Feb 24 '16 at 4:14
2

In the first case he turns to or towards the corner. That implies that the corner hasn't been reached.

In the second he reaches the corner and then turns - he is at the corner.

The first is the kind of direction you would give somebody in a room (turn towards the corner). The second is the kind of direction you would give to somebody travelling through streets (turn right at the corner by the hospital).

  • "In the first case he turns to or towards the corner. That implies that the corner hasn't been reached." I find this explanation is very useful as I didn't take the movement implication into consideration. Your time and reply is appreciated. – 宏一封 Feb 24 '16 at 4:17
2

Making a turn to a corner is not incorrect, it just means something different from making a turn at a corner usually.

Making a turn to a corner would imply you were making a turn towards the corner, while making a turn at the corner means making a turn where the corner is located. Turning to something means to turn towards that thing generally.

In most cases, to is used to indicate movement towards something, but as you've discovered, it can be used to indicate relative position of an object to another. Because of this ambiguity, it is better to use at so that your meaning is clear.

  • Thank you for answering my question. Some teachers also explained the usage of to indicates the meaning of towards. – 宏一封 Feb 24 '16 at 3:05
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    It's good to know this is acceptable in the context of approaching the corner. I really appreciate your detailed answer. – 宏一封 Feb 24 '16 at 4:07
  • @宏一封 No problem. You'll find as you explore English that there are many ways to"break" English that are still correct, ways which seem incorrect at first but turn out to be clever. If you like this aspect of English, I encourage you to read some classic English literature like Arthur Conan Doyle or Edgar Allen Poe to see where it takes you. – Premier Bromanov Feb 24 '16 at 4:11

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