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  • Our house is opposite the supermarket.
  • Our house is opposite to the supermarket.

Which one is correct? Can you please explain the reason?

2 Answers 2

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Our house is opposite the supermarket

This is correct because the definition of “opposite” as an adjective not employing a preposition is:

having a position on the other or further side of something; facing something, esp. something of the same type.
"a crowd gathered on the opposite side of the street"
synonyms: facing, opposing, reverse
Source: Google result for “define opposite”

Longman's Dictionary provides some useful notes on this topic:

Do not say that one thing is opposite to or opposite of another.
Say that one thing is opposite another: There's a car park opposite the hotel.
Source: Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, definition of “opposite” (emphasis mine)


Further notes:

I think most people would interpret your statement as saying “our house is across the street from the supermarket”, but technically this word should be reserved for objects that are facing one another. In the case of the supermarket and your house, this would require the main entrance of each structure to face that of the other. Your exact meaning could be made more clear by mentioning the sides of whatever runs between your house and the supermarket, as sides of a straight path are always opposite one another. Assuming, again, that it's a street that lies between your house and this supermarket, you could write:

Our house is on the opposite side of the street from the supermarket.

Or avoid the term altogether and write it as I did above:

Our house is across the street from the supermarket.

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  • Your answer (source: Longman's Dictionary) disagrees with the other answer (source: Longman's Grammar). I would have guessed this is British/American difference, but mustn't Longman be one or the other? Jan 24, 2014 at 21:53
  • @Peter Writing that “to” is “often unnecessary” and recommending that you “do not say” it doesn’t strike me as a disagreement. Jan 24, 2014 at 22:02
  • And what is going on is that in 1800, most people included the "to", while today nearly everybody drops it. No BrE/AmE difference; See Google Ngram. Jan 24, 2014 at 22:04
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Both are correct. However, to is often omitted.

According to Longman English Grammar, Appendix 25.30,

25.30 'opposite (to)'
Opposite can be used as an adverb;
  Where's the bank? - It's opposite.
Or it can be used as a preposition, with or without to (though to is often unnecessary):
  There's a bank opposite (to) my office.
[...]

This is also in agreement with Quirk's grammar. According to A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Quirk et al. 1985), p.680,

Opposite means 'facing' and has optional to:
Her house is opposite (to) mine.

So both of your sentences "Our house is opposite the supermarket," and "Our house is opposite to the supermarket," are correct. Also note the meaning of opposite in the sense of "facing each other",

preposition: opposite
  in a position on the other side of a specific area from; facing.

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  • 1
    Barrie England answered a similar question and mentioned the use of opposite to on ELL once too. See ell.stackexchange.com/a/10188/3281. Jan 23, 2014 at 17:56
  • Wow. What a cool explanation! Hey Damkerng, Can you please tell me some sources where I can brush up my English grammar skills? I am not naive for English, but still I want to brush up my knowledge. Any e-book or blog or something else?
    – hellodear
    Jan 23, 2014 at 17:56
  • @hellodear2 I decided to buy PEU (Practical English Usage) to improve my grammar skill and I found it really useful. (Questions on ELL can be good motivation to pick up grammar books, which I already have a few, but never used it much.) As for web resources, there are too many. I usually started by searching Google, and usually ended up reading Grammar Girl's posts. :-) Beyond that, I usually read and listen to NPR news. Jan 23, 2014 at 18:09
  • In two months how can you earn so much reputation points? So, how should I improve my grammar skills? please tell some ways to me.
    – hellodear
    Jan 23, 2014 at 18:12
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    Actually, it's not a BrE/AmE difference, but a time difference ... people are dropping the to more and more frequently. See Google Ngrams Jan 24, 2014 at 22:02

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