I was asked a question in my Language exam: Alex was asked to show the guests_________the house.

I have found one solution to be around from Merriam-Webster but could not find any reference to the usage of to.

What could be the other possible answers to this and is "to the house" correct?

Thank you in advance.

  • 4
    Is there any context for the sentence? I think that around is more likely than to. Jul 24 at 5:12
  • There is no context to this sentence. It was just a practice question that I came across. Jul 24 at 15:54

From the SOED can be got the following definitions.

show 11 b Guide (or lead) a person, to, into, over, or through, a place, house, etc. [since] Late Middle English.

show round show (a person) over a place, show the sights to.

"To the house" is correct according to the Oxford dictionary. However,the phrasal verb "show sb around/round (sth) is used more commonly; it can be taken as synonym when used with "through".

show around phrasal verb show somebody around (something) (British English also show somebody round (something))
​to be a guide for somebody when they visit a place for the first time to show them >what is interesting
♦ We were shown around the school by one of the students.

These ngrams shows that the form using "around" is more common: (ngram 1, ngram 2). I suspect that "show sb to (a place)" is more formal.

  • 2
    "To" and "around" are not synonyms here. A porter in a hotel "shows you to your room" (while carrying your luggage there) but does not "show you around your room" (unless you are staying in a multi-room suite in a very expensive hotel).
    – alephzero
    Jul 24 at 13:53
  • @alephzero I agree with that, only "through" would do.
    – LPH
    Jul 24 at 14:43

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