The door slammed to.

The door was slapped to.

Suddenly the trapdoor fell to with a boom.

First of all, let me tell you the sentences are from a grammar book. (no context) Might I trouble you to tell me whether adverb 'to' is essential in those ones? They seem to indicate direction. But, actually, I can't fully understand what directions they indicate.

Please let me assume that a door was situated between 'me' and 'a girl'. The door slammed shut in the wind. Subsequently, a third person showed up, saying "the door slammed to".

In this case, would you tell me which direction 'to' indicates? Me or a girl?

2 Answers 2


These can be thought of as phrasal verbs. "Slam to" means "close with a bang, and stay closed"

My dad came in my room and started complaining and nagging about my report card. I got so angry that I walked out of the room, slamming the door to behind me and leaving him there.

While "slammed to" is rare. I've never heard "slapped to", or "fell to" in this context. The trapdoor example is possible by a natural extension of meaning, but "slapped to" looks like something made up.

The most common such expression is "Push the door to" (meaning close or nearly close the door, so it stays shut (or nearly shut), but don't lock it.)

As such, the particle "to" is part of the verb, and doesn't indicate direction.

The door slammed.

is completely grammatical and normal. It means "closed with a bang".

  • Might I enquire of you an additional question? the answer/meaning Michael Harvey presented to me is: you close it or almost close it, But the answer/meaning you presented to me is: close the door, so it stays shut, but don't lock it. Could they be subtle meaning differences between American English and British English?
    – JYJ
    Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 11:55
  • 1
    "Push the door to" means Close (or nearly close) the door so it stays closed (or nearly closed)
    – James K
    Commented Feb 23, 2019 at 13:19

In British English, 'to' can be used after a verb to talk about doors and other things with hinges such as trapdoors, gates, certain kinds of windows etc. When one of these things slams, bangs, swings "to", it becomes closed, or nearly closed. You can sometimes omit 'to' if other words in the statement provide the information that the door, etc, moved to become closed and not open.


17 if you push or pull a door to, you close it or almost close it

The door swung to behind her as she went out.

To (Macmillan Dictionary)

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