In the Orient Long Man's dictionary Word Master I have found the different uses of ' to' - as a preposition, to infinitive and an adverb

The example is given for its use as an adverb

He was unconscious for some time, but now he has come to = return to a conscious state.

Native speakers can understand its meaning but non native speakers of English can not understand What "come to" means

What is "come to " here? Is it an idiom or something else?

I would like to know how "to" can be used as an adverb in different contexts?

  • The meaning is exactly as you described it from the dictionary. I don't think you mean to be asking what it means—because you already know what it means—but asking why it means that. Aug 29, 2019 at 0:52

1 Answer 1


"Come to" is a phrasal verb which means "to become conscious again after an injury or medical operation".

come to

phrasal verb with come ​

to become conscious again after an accident or operation:

Has he come to yet?

Come to (Cambridge Dictionary)

In English, a phrasal verb is a phrase such as turn down or ran into which combines two or three words from different grammatical categories: a verb and a particle and/or a preposition together form a single semantic unit. This semantic unit cannot be understood based upon the meanings of the individual parts, but must be taken as a whole.

Phrasal verb (Wikipedia)

  • I know the phrasal verbs such as look after, look into which are followed by an object. it seems quite different. Aug 28, 2019 at 17:56
  • 1
    Not all phrasal verbs are followed by an object, in fact many are not. Come up, go out, fall over, are three I just thought of. Aug 28, 2019 at 17:59
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    @JagathaVLNarasimharao You may find this link that reviews transitive and intransitive phrasal verbs helpful: woodwardenglish.com/lesson/…
    – Katy
    Aug 28, 2019 at 18:04

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