If your back faces someone while you are sleeping, are you sleeping with your back "at them" or "to them"? Example: "She slept with her back AT him" OR "She slept with her back TO him"

  • 2
    What do you think the answer is? Have you done any research you can tell us about?
    – mdewey
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 15:16
  • to is a common preposition for your context. But toward/towards, against are also fine (as is facing, but I doubt that counts as a "preposition"). Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 15:22
  • English prepositions are complicated and have lots of overlaps, and checking dictionary meanings is typically unhelpful for the "core" 10 or so most common English prepositions. I don't find this a bad question.
    – LawrenceC
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 21:44

2 Answers 2


TO is correct. You can get a sense of this from Google n-grams.

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    It's just the same whether you are standing, sitting, dancing or whatever with your back to someone. Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 15:07
  • It would be great if you could tell whether the following sentence (from a short story) is correct: "He looked at his sister who slept with her back to him." I wanted to know whether "to" is fine here or whether it should be "at".
    – Madhur
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 19:56

X to Y has a lot of meanings and one of those is a destination or direction identifier - it's used to express the target/direction that X is pointing or facing.

X at Y answers the question where is X? and this typically works in English only if Y is a place or a point on some type of line, sequence, or continuum. This concept is usually invalid for a person's back unless the question where? is involved, implied, or identified as a concern for the speaker - e.g. "My hands are at her back".

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