see to it

mimi2

Senior Member
vietnam vietnamese
Hi,
“You must see to it that those things are done.”
Does “see to it” mean “examine”?
Could you tell me what “it” stands for? Does it stand for “that those things are done”?
Thanks.
 
  • Blue Butterflies

    Senior Member
    Romania | Romanian
    Hi

    It means "make sure." You have to make sure/take care that those things will be done.
    (It's in the dictionary, too, but I can't give links yet)
     

    Janey UK

    Senior Member
    Native speaker of British English
    "See to it" is a construction that means 'ensure'.

    You must see to it/ensure that things are done.
    You must see to it/ensure that the oven is switched off before you leave the house.
     

    mimi2

    Senior Member
    vietnam vietnamese
    Hi, Janey UK,
    I can also say "You must make sure that things are done". Is it right?
    Thanks.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I can also say "You must make sure that things are done". Is it right?
    English is a very concise language and there are often many ways of expressing the same thought.

    Although "make sure" is correct, it's two words where one (ensure) as suggested by Janey UK is more concise and, in my opinion, more elegant.
     

    Janey UK

    Senior Member
    Native speaker of British English
    English is a very concise language and there are often many ways of expressing the same thought.

    Although "make sure" is correct, it's two words where one (ensure) as suggested by Janey UK is more concise and, in my opinion, more elegant.

    As my creative writing teacher always used to say, "Never use two words where one word will do..." :)
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Hi,
    “You must see to it that those things are done.”
    Does “see to it” mean “examine”?
    Could you tell me what “it” stands for? Does it stand for “that those things are done”?
    Thanks.
    I don't believe "it" stands for anything here, but is instead part of an idiom which evolved from phrases in which "it" had stood in for something. But the resultant "see to it" developed the same meaning as "ensure."

    There is a bit of a difference in tone, however. The difference between "Ensure that the job is done" and "See to it that the job is done" is that the latter is a somewhat more forceful statement.

    (For the record, Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, has "see to it" as an idiom under the entry for "see," while Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate has the idiom "see to" but not "see to it.")
     
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