On my way, I saw a big sign saying

No to death penalty. Stop killing.

What's the meaning of to? The meaning of the sign is obvious but is it correct grammatically?

  • 1
    Signs don't use the correct English. They use block language . The "to" could refer to future time. Not so sure. – user178049 Mar 6 '17 at 5:11
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    It's just a short version of "Say no to the death penalty". – satnam Mar 6 '17 at 5:16
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    If it's a "big" sign as you say, then the omission of "the" is unusual. Ordinarily, even on a sign, you'd find space to be more grammatical: "No to the death penalty! Stop the killing!" – Andrew Mar 6 '17 at 6:21
  • @user178049 "to" may not refer to future time because this country is executing Death penalty. – Ting Choe Mar 6 '17 at 16:10
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    @TINGCHOE yes, it's standard imperative form. – Andrew Mar 6 '17 at 21:53

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, one of the possible usages of to is as a preposition meaning in connection with. The intended meaning is therefore

Say no [in connection with] the death penalty

Is it grammatical? Well, it's missing say and the, but I don't think that the usage of to in this context is ungrammatical.

  • 2
    And to go one step farther, "Say no in connection with" means "oppose", so "Oppose the death penalty". Or in the original wording, replace "[say] no" with "be opposed", so it's equivalent to "Be opposed to the death penalty". – fixer1234 Mar 6 '17 at 5:26
  • @fixer1234 Your comment is the easiest to understand. So "No to ~ " means "Oppose" in this sign. – Ting Choe Mar 6 '17 at 16:14

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