show so much hostility toward/to each other

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bamboo--tw

Senior Member
ROC/Mandarin
I don't understand why the two families show so much hostility toward/to each other.


Hi,
Do both toward and to fit in the above and mean about the same to you? Thanks.
 
  • bamboo--tw

    Senior Member
    ROC/Mandarin
    Thanks, bibliolept.
    But I'm still confused because we don't distinguish the two prepositions in our language. So, could you explain in a few words why "toward" is a better choice?
     

    bamboo--tw

    Senior Member
    ROC/Mandarin
    "Toward" is more idiomatic in my experience; it underscores the fact that the hostility is directed at each other.
    Thanks, Bibliolept.
    By the way, I found that you used "at" in your post. I wonder if it's all right to say "the hostility is directed toward/to each other." Thanks.
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Another explanation for the use of toward over at is that in the context given English speakers have heard "toward" used since their childhood. Usage dominates the reason for one preposition over another in the English language.
     

    bamboo--tw

    Senior Member
    ROC/Mandarin
    Thanks, Harry.
    I just ran across the following, and it uses "to" rather than 'toward" and "at" this time. So, I'm really confused.

    The two major political parties here are hostile to each other.
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I would have to feel that it was the writer's taste to employ to instead of towards or at. Don't be confused. Just try to understand that with English prepositions there is not always an absolute rule which favors one preposition over another. An author can use his own tastes in many cases such as toward, to and at.
     

    Cathy Rose

    Senior Member
    United States English
    An example of what Harry is talking about is the use of prepositions with the word "different." Is A different from/to/than B? Many AE speakers would choose different from, while many BE speakers would say different to. I've also heard different than used in both AE and BE.
     

    bamboo--tw

    Senior Member
    ROC/Mandarin
    Thanks, Harry and Cathy.
    Now my confusion comes mainly from when to use "to," "toward' and "at" in the related sentences in question.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    You could always use Google or, better yet, search specific corpora (WR link listing several) for the specific phrasing. You can analyze the various examples offered and perhaps roughly assess which phrasings are more idiomatic or at least more popular in more formal writing.
     
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