Imagine you are talking about the distance between two states like NYC and Texas. You are in NYC and don't know what is the precise distance and your friend who you're talking to is aware. You want to ask them. You would probably ask:

  • How far is it from here to there?

I guess the bold part is redundant and whereas you are indicating Texas by the pronoun "it", the part "to there" can be omitted without any change in meaning. But My question is that if I guess right and then if saying the sentence in the way it is (without removing "to there" would be considered a mistake or not?

  • 4
    You're right: Both are fine. – Teacher KSHuang Feb 8 '17 at 11:10
  • 1
    Why you think it might be wrong to use "to there"? – user3169 Feb 9 '17 at 1:10
  • @user3169 I have already explained it in my question. Could you possibly read it again? – A-friend Feb 9 '17 at 16:00
  • I mean other than redundancy, which is almost always optional depending on context. – user3169 Feb 9 '17 at 17:16
  • NYC is not a state. NYC is short for New York City, in other words the city of New York. The city of New York is located in the state of New York. – green_ideas Feb 19 '17 at 21:45

Dummy pronoun A dummy pronoun, also called an expletive pronoun or pleonastic pronoun, is a pronoun used for syntax without explicit meaning. - wikipedia

You ask whether "to there" is required (or alternatively, whether it is a mistake) in the question:

How far is it from here (to there)?

If you consider "it" to be a dummy pronoun, then you need "to there" for the question to make sense.

If you consider "it" to be a referential pronoun (referring to the destination), then you should exclude "to there" to avoid clumsy redundancy.

Since both readings of "it" are possible, both variants of the question are fine.

Your question notes that both origin and destination are known. So consider a conversation that includes the following snippet:

You came all the way from Texas? How far is it from here (to Texas)?

Both forms are natural. However, "How far is it from here to there?" sounds a little less natural to my ear. In that case, drop "to there" altogether. As an aside, since both origin and destination have been established, you can even shorten the second question to just "How far (away) is it?"

| improve this answer | |

How far is it from here? is perfectly fine.

How far is it from here to there? is equally fine but would be used if there may be some confusion about your intended destination as it would refer to the last location you were talking about.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.