We usually say

Cook it for 10 to 12 minutes

But is the following correct?

Cook it for 10 minutes to 12

  • 1
    It's correct but it has a different meaning. "10 minutes to 12" means "11:50". It's clock time. – Andrew Jun 23 '19 at 16:52
  • 1
    It's not very idiomatic to interrupt the "range" element like that in your specific context. So the best "rule of thumb" is probably to avoid it, but note that there are exceptions. For example, It might cost anything from 5 dollars to 50 is just as natural as ...anything from 5 to 50 dollars. – FumbleFingers Jun 23 '19 at 16:58

When you say "10 minutes to twelve" you are saying 10 minutes before twelve.

When you say "10 to 12 minutes" you are using the word to as a range. Many words in the English language have several different meanings, which are dependant on context.

  • 1
    To go one step further, "Cook it for 10 minutes to 12" makes no sense, but "Cook it at 10 minutes to 12" would mean start cooking at 11:50. – J.R. Jun 23 '19 at 19:36

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