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I crossed over to the other side of the road.

Why not just 'crossed to'?

Jane drove up to the driveway and honked to indicate her arrival.

So? Why not just 'drove to'?

Other than what are those for, I'm curious whether you can abstain from using them at all in such cases — from the standpoint of grammar, I mean. I guess, putting them ahead of 'to' like that would sound more natural and native-like, but let's talk grammar.

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  • Your first example seems unnatural. What is it intended to mean- crossing from one sidewalk/pavement to the other on foot, or driving from the correct side of the road to the incorrect side of the road?
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 6:41
  • @JavaLatte No - Sergey's right. And it can be either on foot or driving. I'm trying to think WHY we say it! Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 7:01
  • @JavaLatte Say, on foot. But I don't think it matters Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 8:22
  • Yes, you could say either "crossed over the road" or "crossed to the other side". "Crossed over to the other side" is perhaps a bit redundant, but all are grammatically correct/idiomatic. Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 8:44
  • @SergeyZolotarev on foot, I would use 'over' if I used some sort of footbridge. I would not use 'over' if I simply walked on the road surface itself to the other side.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 9:30

1 Answer 1

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drive to means to proceed my car to a specified place / destination, but does not specify what happened when you got there.

I drove to Berlin yesterday
I usually drive to the supermarket

drive up to means to move the car close to a specified object, but stops short of it- for example, approaching the service counter of a drive-thru McDonalds.

I drove up to the counter

It can also mean driving to a place that is considered higher. This can be actually higher, for example mountains, or conceptually higher, for example northward or more important.

I drive up to Chamonix (high up in the Alps)
I drove up to Scotland (north from England)
I drove up to London (more important)

Compare that with drive onto, which means moving a car so that it passes over or remains on top of the specified object.

My neighbour drove onto my lawn whilst parking his car (passes over)
I drove the car onto the driveway. (remains on)

looking at your example sentence:

Jane drove up to the driveway and honked to indicate her arrival.

This would mean that Jane moved the car so that it was close to the driveway- for example parked across the entrance to the driveway.

Jane drove to the driveway and honked to indicate her arrival.

This would mean that Jane used a car to travel to the driveway, but does not indicate where exactly the car was located after she arrived.

Note that this is sentence is not idiomatic because, as I mentioned earlier, you drive to a place/destination, for example a city, country, street, somebody's house, tourist destination, supermarket, cinema, etc. A driveway is not perceived as a place/destination, but as an object- a part of your house. It would be better to say

Jane drove to my house and honked to indicate her arrival

This also indicates that Jane travelled by car to my house but does not indicated where exactly the car was located after she arrived. She could have pulled onto the driveway, stopped next to the driveway or parked half way down the street.

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  • What do you mean by 'does not specify what she did'? She honked Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 7:35
  • @SergeyZolotarev I said "does not specify what she did with the car". Honking does not indicate where exactly she positioned the car.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 9:27
  • You mean that 'to' can mean both that she was "on the driveway" or "close to the driveway", whereas 'up to' only means the latter, do I understand correctly? Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 9:44
  • @SergeyZolotarev I have updated my answer.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 8:42

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