Considering the use of this verb meaning in : 'manage to arrive' . How and when do I use the preposition 'to' ?

Please take a look at the following sentences and explain which one makes sense in both examples to mean in the mentioned definition.

  1. Sorry, I can't make it home for dinner tonight, I've got my hands full with a bunch of work.

  2. Sorry, I can't make it to home for dinner tonight, I've got my hands full with a bunch of work.

Here is another one :

  1. There was heavy traffic but I finally made it to work.

  2. There was heavy traffic but I finally made it work.

  • "made it to work" means you finally arrived at your work. not sure about the second one though. Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 20:40
  • "made it work" implies there was a problem, but you found an acceptable solution. I didn't have the blackberries the recipe called for, but I made it work. I used raspberries instead
    – Kys
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 21:52
  • Home is not a noun in your first example; it's an adverb of place, and as a result can't be the object of the preposition to. You can find a handy list of these adverbs here on our sister site ELU. Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 22:52
  • "my hands full with a bunch of works" is not idiomatic, the noun work is normally an uncountable noun, unless it refers to pieces of fine art, musical compositions, or literary works e.g. The works of Beethoven cover a period of thirty years, factories (BrEng) The steel works, and road repair work (BrEng roadworks) en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/work
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 8:03
  • On the other hand, with a bunch of work is idiomatic, and perfectly correct :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 8:05

3 Answers 3

  • I can't make it home CORRECT

This means you are unable to reach this destination. Home could refer to the building, or the area where you live; e.g., village, city, country. When used as an adverb of place, home requires no preposition

An Australian holidaymaker: I can't wait to get back home (home = Melbourne, Australia)

  • I can't make it to home UNLIKELY but not impossible

In this sentence we have to identify what home might be referring to. It could be short for home base (think of a baseball player running to home base) or the home plate

With the Yankees prepared for the long play, Taylor instead bunts, allowing Hayes to make it to home safely and win the game.

  • There was heavy traffic but I finally made it to work CORRECT

This means the speaker managed to arrive at his or her workplace despite the traffic. Work and workplace are nouns, and the preposition to is used to express motion or a direction toward a point or thing.

  • There was heavy traffic but I finally made it work INCORRECT

This sentence is grammatical but it has a completely different meaning. It means that the speaker managed to make something work i.e function despite the heavy traffic. In other words, the speaker repaired something that was broken or not functioning properly. And in the sentence, work is used a verb

My watch is broken, can you make it work again?
His phone doesn't work unless he goes to a high point

  • 1
    We would say "There was heavy traffic" not "a heavy traffic" in that context.
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 12:46
  • @TRomano you're right. A slip up, others would have edited the post, or just left a comment. Anyway, thanks for telling me. And I don't suppose there's any chance of you retracting your downvote, is there?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 15:09
  • Tnx a lot Mari .... Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 19:05
  • @YazdanSamieiPoor Oh, thank you. I'm glad the answer helped you in some way.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 19:08

Make it (informal) is an idiomatic expression with different connotations. It is also used with the meaning:

  • to manage to arrive at a place or go to an event. She made it to the airport just in time to catch her plane. We're having a party on Saturday - can you make it?

(Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms)

The preposition "to" is generally used. It is not used in "make it home" as "home" is not preceded by the preposition to as in "I'm going home".

  • 1
    make it to the house; make it to the apartment; make it to my home, but just make it home.
    – John Feltz
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 20:49
  • what about "made it work" in the second example? im curious about it. Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 21:06
  • 1
    @Will - made it work sounds like you repaired something and made it function. You'd say I made it to work if you mean that you went to your workplace.
    – user5267
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 21:10
  • @AbsoluteBeginner So you mean the preposition "to" always accompanies "make it" other than when it comes with "home" ? Aren't there any other exceptions which violate this rule? Is "home" the only one which comes without "to" ? Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 22:04
  • 3
    @YazdanSamieiPoor - "Home" is a special case in English, which functions like an adverb. "I am going home", but never "I am going work" or "I am going restaurant". I think it is the only one that works like that.
    – stangdon
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 22:21

When make it is used to mean "attend an event" or "reach a place or destination"

I can't make it to the party.

I can't make it to the office.

I can't make it to work.

I can't make it onto the plane|boat|raft|solid ice|steep bank|diving board|gangplank|elevator|A-list...

I can't make it home.

I can't make it there.

I can't make it over.

I can't make it out.

I can't make it up.

I can't make it down.

I can't make it across.

I can't make it through.

you will notice that the complement sometimes is a prepositional phrase and sometimes a simple locative. I suppose a modern grammarian would call the simple locative an intransitive preposition or intransitive adposition. It used to be called an adverb. It establishes the location in space or the nature of the movement through space.

However, whether the preposition to is required or not has nothing to do with the verb make it. The prepositional phrases are governed by their own grammatical rules independent of the verb.

  • based on what you has mentioned , it is a literary custom to use or not use " to " which we have to memorise it . Isn't it ? Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 22:12
  • 1
    You have to learn how to use transitive locative prepositions and intransitive locative adpositions. These are not literary conventions but grammatical rules. You do have to commit them to memory, either by conversing with native speakers on a regular basis, or by some rote book exercise.
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 22:17
  • @YazdanSamieiPoor It might be easier to understand if you think of it like this: the preposition to can only take a noun or NP as its object, and home, there, up, down, across &c. aren't nouns. (Home is an adverb of place here.) Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 23:03
  • 1
    I can't make it up is a bit ambiguous, it could also mean "I can't invent/create a story or a lie". And then there's the "I'll make it up to you" when you want to say you're "sorry".
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 5:57
  • 1
    Oh, well it's a downvote from me. If you don't want to mention the possible issues of ambiguity.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 15:16

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