Home > Language, Uncategorized > From…To, To To…From

From…To, To To…From

October 6th, 2011

Honestly, I don’t know why, and resent, the change in usage from “from …to”, (which seems to me a reasonable formulation), to “to…from”.  For instance, “Usage rates have gone to 45% from 39%.”   This is just backwards.  You go from somewhere to somewhere.  If you reverse the order, it requires the reader (or listener) to make a mental recalculation, switching direction of metaphor.

You find this all the time as a matter of style in the New York Times and in lots of other publications.  It’s ugly.  It’s got to go.

I’d say, “I took a train from New York to Chicago.”  I would not say, “I took a train to Chicago from New York,” unless I was trying to emphasize the fact that it was a train, rather than a plane. Or that it was from New York that I took the train, and not Atlanta.

If I wanted to emphasize the starting point, I might say, “The usage rate rose to 50% from 35%, ” if 35% were a shockingly low number.  But that would not be the normal case.

Language should follow the order of nature.  Rivers flow from the mountains to the sea; rain falls from the sky to the ground; time’s arrow moves from the present to the future. Language must agree.

Categories: Language, Uncategorized Tags:
Comments are closed.