the

the determiner
uk strong /ðiː/ ukweak /ðə/ us strong /ðiː/ ukweak /ðə/

the determiner (PARTICULAR)

A1 used before nouns to refer to particular things or people that have already been talked about or are already known or that are in a situation where it is clear what is happening:

I just bought a new shirt and some new shoes. The shirt was pretty expensive, but the shoes weren't.
Please would you pass the salt.
I'll pick you up at the airport.

A1 used before some nouns that refer to place when you want to mention that type of place, without showing exactly which example of the place you mean:

We spent all day at the beach.
Let's go to the movies this evening.
I have to go to the bank and get some Euros.

A1 used before noun phrases in which the range of meaning of the noun is limited in some way:

I really enjoyed the book I've just finished reading.
Do you like the other kids in your class?

A1 used to refer to things or people when only one exists at any one time:

What will happen in the future?
After I leave college, I want to travel around the world.
They live in the north of Spain.
Ed Koch was for many years the mayor of New York.
When we went to Paris, we went up the Eiffel Tower.

A2 used before superlatives and other words, such as "first" or "only" or numbers showing something's position in a list, to refer to only one thing or person:

That was one of the best films I've ever seen.
What's the highest mountain in Asia?
I will never forget the first time we met.
You're the fifth person to ask me that question.

used to say that the particular person or thing being mentioned is the best, most famous, etc. In this use, "the" is usually given strong pronunciation:

Harry's Bar is the place to go.
You don't mean you met the Will Smith (= the film star), do you?

used before some adjectives to turn the adjectives into nouns that refer to one particular person or thing described by the adjective:

It seems that the deceased (= this particular dead person) had no living relatives.
I suppose we'll just have to wait for the inevitable (= the particular thing that is certain to happen).

used before some adjectives to turn the adjectives into nouns that refer to people or things in general that can be described by the adjective:

She lives in a special home for the elderly.
The French were defeated at Waterloo in 1815.

used before a singular noun to refer to all the things or people represented by that noun:

The car is responsible for causing a lot of damage to our environment.

used before a family name to refer to two people who are married or to a whole family:

The Jacksons are coming to visit on Saturday.

used before some nouns referring to musical instruments or dances to mean the type of instrument or dance in general:

Nico is learning to play the piano.
Can you do the waltz?

used before a noun to represent the activity connected with that noun:

I'm going under the knife (= having a medical operation) next week.
It's not a good idea to spend more than three hours at the wheel (= driving a vehicle) without a break.

B2 used before numbers that refer to periods of ten years:

the 60s

B2 used before each of two comparative adjectives or adverbs when you want to show how one amount gets bigger or smaller in relation to the other:

The sooner I get this piece of work done, the sooner I can go home.

used before comparative adjectives or adverbs when you want to show that someone or something has become more or less of a particular state:

She doesn't seem to be any the worse for her bad experience.

used for emphasis when you are expressing a strong opinion about someone or something:

André's got a new job, the lucky devil.

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the determiner (YOUR)

B1 used instead of a possessive adjective such as your, her, or my:

He held his daughter by the arm (= her arm).
I can't remember where I parked the (= my) car.

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the determiner (ENOUGH)

enough:

I'd like to go out tonight, but I don't think I have the energy.
[ + to infinitive ] I don't have the time to talk to you now.

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the determiner (EACH)

each; every:

It does 30 miles to the gallon.

be

be verb
uk strong /biː/ ukweak /bi/ ukweak // us strong /biː/ ukweak /bi/ ukweak // being, was, were, been

be verb (DESCRIPTION)

A1 [ L ] used to say something about a person, thing, or state, to show a permanent or temporary quality, state, job, etc.:

He is rich.
It's cold today.
I'm Andy.
That's all for now.
What do you want to be (= what job do you want to do) when you grow up?
These books are (= cost) $3 each.
Being afraid of the dark, she always slept with the light on.
Never having been ill himself, he wasn't a sympathetic listener.
Be quiet!
[ + -ing verb ] The problem is deciding what to do.
[ + that ] The general feeling is that she should be asked to leave.
It's not that I don't like her - it's just that we rarely agree on anything!

A1 [ I usually + adv/prep ] used to show the position of a person or thing in space or time:

The food was already on the table.
Is anyone there?
The meeting is now (= will happen) next Tuesday.
There's a hair in my soup.

[ L ] used to show what something is made of:

Is this plate pure gold?

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be verb (ALLOW)

[ + to infinitive ] formal used to say that someone should or must do something:

You're to sit in the corner and keep quiet.
Their mother said they were not to (= not allowed to) play near the river.
There's no money left - what are we to do?

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be verb (FUTURE)

[ + to infinitive ] formal used to show that something will happen in the future:

We are to (= we are going to) visit Australia in the spring.
She was never to see (= she never saw) her brother again.

[ + to infinitive ] used in conditional sentences to say what might happen:

If I were to refuse they'd be very annoyed.
formal Were I to refuse they'd be very annoyed.

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be verb (CAN)

[ + to infinitive ] used to say what can happen:

The exhibition of modern prints is currently to be seen at the City Gallery.

be verb (EXIST)

[ I ] to exist or live:

formal Such terrible suffering should never be.
old use or literary By the time the letter reached them their sister had ceased to be (= had died).

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and

and conjunction
uk strong /ænd/ ukweak /ənd/ uk/ən/ us strong /ænd/ ukweak /ənd/ uk/ən/

and conjunction (ALSO)

A1 used to join two words, phrases, parts of sentences, or related statements together:

Ann and Jim
boys and girls
We were wet and tired.
We kissed and hugged each other.
Tidy up your room. And don't forget to make your bed!
and so on A2 also and so forth

together with other similar things:

schools, colleges, and so on
and all

and everything else:

She bought the whole lot - house, farm, horses, and all.

UK slang too:

I'd like some and all.
and all that informal

and everything related to the subject mentioned:

She likes grammar and all that.
and/or

used to mean that either one of two things or both of them is possible:

Many pupils have extra classes in the evenings and/or at weekends.

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and conjunction (THEN)

A1 used to join two parts of a sentence, one part happening after the other part:

I got dressed and had my breakfast.

as a result:

Bring the flowers into a warm room and they'll soon open.
Stand over there and you'll be able to see it better.

A2 With certain verbs, "and" can mean "in order to":

I asked him to go and find my glasses.
Come and see me tomorrow.
Wait and see (= wait in order to see) what happens.
informal Try and get (= try to get) some tickets for tonight's performance.

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and conjunction (FOR EMPHASIS)

B1 If "and" is used to join two words that are the same, it makes their meaning stronger:

She spends hours and hours (= a very long time) on the phone.
The sound grew louder and louder (= very loud).
We laughed and laughed (= laughed a lot).

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of

of preposition
ukweak /əv/ uk strong /ɒv/ usweak /əv/ us strong /ɑːv/

of preposition (POSSESSION)

A1 used to show possession, belonging, or origin:

a friend of mine
the president of the United States
the colour of his hair
a habit of mine
that revolting dog of hers
the love of a good woman
the complete plays of (= written by) Lorca

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of preposition (AMOUNT)

A1 used after words or phrases expressing amount, number, or a particular unit:

loads of food
hundreds of people
most of them
none of them
both of us
a third of all people
a speck of dust
a drop of rain

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of preposition (POSITION)

A2 used in expressions showing position:

the top of his head
the back of your dress
on the corner of the street
the front of the queue
I've never been north of Philadelphia.

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of preposition (TYPICAL)

typical or characteristic of:

She has the face of an angel.
That guy's got the personality of a dead fish!

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of preposition (DAYS)

A1 used to refer to a particular date in a month:

the eleventh of March
the first of the month

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of preposition (MADE OF)

made or consisting of; having:

plates of gold and silver
a land of ice and snow
a woman of great charm
a subject of very little interest

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of preposition (JUDGMENT)

B2 used after an adjective when judging someone's behaviour:

It was mean of you to mention her weight.
Thank you so much for my present. How thoughtful of you.

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of preposition (RELATING TO)

C1 about; relating to:

Speaking of Elizabeth, here she is.
One of the advantages of travelling by train is being able to read.
Let us consider the events of the last five months.
Of her childhood we know very little.
formal And what of (= tell me about) young Adrian? How is he?

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of preposition (THAT IS/ARE)

that is/are:

a rise of two percent in inflation
the pain of separation
At the age of six she could read a newspaper.

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of preposition (THROUGH)

B1 through; having as the cause:

He died of cancer.
I didn't have to go there - I did it of my own free will.
I want to know how it happened because it certainly didn't happen of itself.

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of preposition (COMPARING)

A2 used when comparing related things:

I liked the green one best of all .
Worst of all was the food!
He's the best looking of the three brothers.
I think that of all his books it's my favourite.

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of preposition (TIME)

US used in saying what the time is:

It's ten (minutes) of five (= ten minutes before five o'clock).

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  • It's twenty five of four.
  • We got there at five of nine.

of preposition (SEPARATE FROM)

used in expressions showing distance from something in place or time:

We live within a mile of the school.
She came within two seconds of beating the world record.

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a

a determiner
ukweak /ə/ uk strong // usweak /ə/ us strong // also an

a determiner (NOT PARTICULAR)

A1 used before a noun to refer to a single thing or person that has not been mentioned before, especially when you are not referring to a particular thing or person:

I've bought a car.
She's got a boyfriend.
There was a sudden loud noise.
What a shame that you couldn't go to the party.
Is he a friend of yours (= one of your friends)?

A1 used to say what type of thing or person something or someone is:

She wants to be a doctor when she grows up.
This is a very mild cheese.
Experts think the painting may be a Picasso (= by Picasso).

A1 used to mean any or every thing or person of the type you are referring to:

Can you ride a bike?
A cheetah can run faster than a lion.
A teacher needs to have a lot of patience.

used before some uncountable nouns when you want to limit their meaning in some way, such as when describing them more completely or referring to one example of them:

I only have a limited knowledge of Spanish.
He has a great love of music.
There was a fierceness in her voice.

A2 used before some nouns of action when referring to one example of the action:

Take a look at this, Jez.
I'm just going to have a snack.
There was a knocking at the door.

A2 used when referring to a unit or container of something, especially something you eat or drink:

I'd love a coffee.
All I had for lunch was a yogurt.

A2 used before the first but not the second of two nouns that are referred to as one unit:

a cup and saucer
a knife and fork

A2 used before some words that express a number or amount:

a few days
a bit of wool
a lot of money

used in front of a person's name when referring to someone who you do not know:

There's a Ms Evans to see you.

used in front of someone's family name when they are a member of that family:

Is that a Wilson over there?

used before the name of a day or month to refer to one example of it:

My birthday is on a Friday this year.
It's been a very wet June.

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a determiner (ONE)

A1 one:

a hundred
a thousand
a dozen
There were three men and a woman.

A2 used between a fraction and a unit of measurement:

a quarter of a kilo
three quarters of an hour
six tenths of a second

A2 used when saying how often something happens in a certain period:

Take one tablet three times a day.
I swim once a week.

A2 used when saying how much someone earns or how much something costs in a certain period:

She earns $100,000 a year.
My plumber charges £30 an hour.
I pay £25 a week for my parking permit.

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in

in preposition
uk /ɪn/ us /ɪn/

in preposition (INSIDE)

A1 inside a container, place, or area, or surrounded or closed off by something:

Is Mark still in bed?
I got stuck in a traffic jam for half an hour.
They live in a charming old house.
How much is that coat on display in the window (= in the space behind the window of the shop)?
I've got a pain in my back.
What's that in your hand?
I've got something in (= on the surface of) my eye.
They used to live in Paris, but now they're somewhere in Austria.
He's always looking at himself in the mirror (= at the image of his face produced by the mirror).
I never know what's going on in her head (= what she's thinking about).
My daughter's in hospital (US in the hospital) having her tonsils out.
US Is Erika still in school (= does she still go to school)?

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in preposition (INTO)

into something:

Come on, we're late - get in the car.
Put the milk back in the fridge when you've finished with it.
They threw him in the swimming pool.

in preposition (PART)

A2 forming a part of something:

He used to be the lead singer in a rock band.
There are too many spelling mistakes in this essay.
I've been waiting in this queue for ages.
What do you look for in a relationship?
I can see a future champion in Joely (= I think that Joely might become a champion).
Talent like hers is rare in someone so young.

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in preposition (DURING)

A1 during part or all of a period of time:

We're going to Italy in April.
Some trees lose their leaves in (the) autumn.
I started working here in 2009.
Life in the 19th century was very different from what it is now.
Bye, see you in the morning (= tomorrow morning).
She was a brilliant gymnast in her youth (= when she was young).
How many civilians died in the Vietnam War?
This is the first cigarette I've had in three years.
I haven't had a decent night's sleep in years/ages (= for a long time).
in between

between the two times mentioned:

I have breakfast at 7.30, lunch at 1.00, and sometimes a snack in between.

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in preposition (NO MORE THAN)

A2 needing or using no more time than a particular amount of time:

Can you finish the job in two weeks?
She could get that essay done in a couple of hours if she really tried.
They completed the journey in record time (= faster than ever done before).

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in preposition (BEFORE THE END)

A2 before or at the end of a particular period:

Dinner will be ready in ten minutes.
We'll all be dead in a hundred years so there's no point worrying about it.
I'm just setting off, so I should be with you in half an hour.

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in preposition (EXPERIENCING)

B1 experiencing a situation or condition, or feeling an emotion:

We watched in horror as they pulled the bodies from the wreckage.
He's living in luxury in the south of France.
She left in a bit of a hurry.
You're in great danger.
Could I have a word with you in private?
Have you ever been in love?
Your car's in very good condition, considering how old it is.

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in preposition (EXPRESSED)

B1 expressed or written in a particular way:

Cheques should be written in ink.
She usually paints in watercolour.
They spoke in Russian the whole time.
He always talks in a whisper.

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in preposition (RESULT)

B2 used when referring to something that is done as a result of something else:

I'd like to do something for you in return/exchange for everything you've done for me.
The changes are in response to demand from our customers.
He refused to say anything in reply to the journalists' questions.

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in preposition (ARRANGEMENT)

B1 used to show how things or people are arranged or divided:

We all sat down in a circle.
The desks were arranged in rows of ten.
Discounts are available to people travelling in large groups.
Sometimes customers buy books in twos and threes, but rarely in larger quantities than that.
Cut the potatoes in two.
People are dying in their thousands from cold and starvation.

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in preposition (AGE/TEMPERATURE)

used when referring approximately to someone's age or the weather temperature:

Nowadays many women are in their late thirties when they have their first child.
Temperatures will be in the mid-twenties (= about 25 degrees).

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in preposition (INVOLVED)

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in preposition (COMPARING AMOUNTS)

used to compare one part of an amount of something with the total amount of it:

Apparently one in ten people/one person in ten has problems with reading.
UK The basic rate of income tax is 25 pence in (US on) the pound.

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in preposition (CHARACTERISTIC)

used to show which characteristic or part of a person or thing is being described:

The new version is worse in every respect - I much preferred the original.
Are the two bags equal in weight?
She's deaf in her left ear.

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in preposition (CAUSE)

[ + -ing verb ] used to show when doing one thing is the cause of another thing happening:

In refusing (= because she refused) to work abroad, she missed an excellent job opportunity.
The government banned tobacco advertising and, in doing so (= because of this), contributed greatly to the nation's health.
in that formal

because:

This research is important in that it confirms the link between aggression and alcohol.

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to

to preposition
uk strong /tuː/ ukweak // uk/tu/ uk// us strong /tuː/ uk// uk/t̬ə/ uk/tu/

to preposition (INFINITIVE)

A1 used before a verb to show that it is in the infinitive

A1 used after some verbs, especially when the action described in the infinitive will happen later:

She agreed to help.
I'll have to tell him.
Sadly, she didn't live to see her grandchildren.

A1 used after many verbs of agreeing, needing, and wanting:

I need to eat something first.
I'd love to live in New York.
That child ought to be in bed.

A2 used instead of repeating a verb clause:

"Are you going tonight?" "I'm certainly hoping to."

A1 used in phrases where there are reported orders and requests:

He told me to wait.
Did anyone ask Daniel to reserve the room?

A1 used after some adjectives:

It's not likely to happen.
Three months is too long to wait.
She's not strong enough to go hiking up mountains.

used after some nouns:

He has this enviable ability to ignore everything that's unpleasant in life.
This will be my second attempt to make flaky pastry.

A clause containing to + infinitive can be used as the subject of a sentence:

To go overseas on your own is very brave.
My plan was to get it all arranged before I told anyone.

A1 used after question words:

I don't know what to do.
Can you tell me how to get there?

A2 used with an infinitive to express use or purpose:

I'm going there to see my sister.
This tool is used to make holes in leather.
To make this cake, you'll need two eggs, 175 grams of sugar, and 175 grams of flour.
He works to get paid, not because he enjoys it.

You can introduce a clause with a phrase containing to + infinitive:

To be honest (= speaking honestly), Becky, I like thegrey shirt better.
To tell you the truth, I never really liked the man.

A1 used with an infinitive after 'there is' or 'there are' and a noun:

There's an awful lot of work to be done.
to be going on with UK

To be going on with means in order to continue with the present activity or situation:

Do we have enough paint to be going on with, or should I get some more while I'm out?

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to preposition (SHOWING DIRECTION)

A1 in the direction of:

We're going to town on the bus, okay?
We went to Prague last year.
I asked someone the way to the town centre.
You can walk from here to the school in under ten minutes.
I asked Kirsten and Kai to dinner (= invited them to come and eat dinner with me) next week.
We received another invitation to a wedding this morning.
I had my back to them, so I couldn't see what they were doing.
She walked over to the window.
He went up to a complete stranger and started talking.
UK You've got your sweater on back to front (= with the back of the sweater on the chest).

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to preposition (RECEIVING)

A2 used for showing who receives something or who experiences an action:

I lent my bike to my brother.
I told that to Alex and he just laughed.
Who's the letter addressed to?

A2 With many verbs that have two objects, 'to' can be used before the indirect object:

Give me that gun./Give that gun to me.

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to preposition (UNTIL)

B1 until a particular time, state, or level is reached:

It's only two weeks to Christmas.
Unemployment has risen to almost eight million.
He drank himself to death.
She nursed me back to health.

A1 used when saying the time, to mean before the stated hour:

It's twenty to six.

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to preposition (EXTREME)

used to suggest an extreme state:

Look at your shirt - it's torn to shreds!
She was thrilled to bits.
I was bored to tears.

to preposition (CONNECTION)

B1 in connection with:

What was their response to your query?
She was so mean to me.
There's a funny side to everything.

B1 used to say where something is fastened or connected:

The paper was stuck to the wall with tape.
A fast rail service connects us to the city.

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to preposition (FUTURE)

used before an infinitive, usually with 'be', to indicate a future action:

The government announced today that it is to cut funding for the arts for next year.
See also

mainly UK used in this pattern to say what someone should do or to give an order:

You're not to (= you must not) bite your nails like that.

Newspapers often use to + infinitive without 'be' in their headlines (= titles of articles) when reporting planned future events:

Russia to send troops in.

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to preposition (CAUSING)

C2 causing a particular feeling in a particular person:

That's when I found out, to my amazement, that she was coming here.

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to preposition (CONSIDERED BY)

considered by:

I realize it may sound strange to you.
I mean, £50 is nothing to him (= he would not consider it a large amount).
informal "I hear you've been going out with Ella." "Yeah, so? What's it to you?" (= It should not interest you, and you have no right to ask about it.)

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to preposition (SERVING)

B1 serving:

As a personal trainer to the rich and famous, he earns over a million dollars a year.

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to preposition (AGAINST)

against or very near:

Stand back to back.
They were dancing cheek to cheek.

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to preposition (BELONGING)

matching or belonging to:

My dad gave me the keys to his car.
I've lost the trousers to this jacket.

having as a characteristic feature:

She has a mean side to her.
There is a very moral tone to this book.

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to preposition (SHOWING POSITION)

B1 used to show the position of something or someone in comparison with something or someone else:

John's standing to the left of Adrian in the photo.
The Yorkshire Dales are twenty miles to the north of the city.

to preposition (IN HONOUR OF)

in honour or memory of:

I proposed a toast to the bride and the groom.
The record is dedicated to her mother, who died recently.

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to preposition (FOR EACH)

for each:

How many dollars are there to the pound?
This car does about 40 miles to the gallon.
When we go swimming together I do six lengths to her twelve.
Compare

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to preposition (BETWEEN)

B2 used in phrases that show a range:

There were probably 30 to 35 (= a number between 30 and 35) people there.

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