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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.

  • related: “where's that to?” – Matt E. 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
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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 E. 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 E. Эллен Apr 20 '12 at 13:42
  • How about "I'm about to leave to the station?" – Matt E. 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
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"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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