Memphis Meats, which grows meat from animal cells, just got a huge endorsement from some big-named backers. That will take it one step closer to selling its product, but it's still a long way off from hitting store shelves. (CNN)

If you were to omit "one step closer" from the second sentence, would you still have a grammatical sentence?

a. That will take it one step closer to selling its product. (original)

b. That will take it to selling its product. (the sentence I'm asking about)

I'm not asking if it fits in with context. Of course it doesn't. All I'm asking is if sentence b. is grammatical. If it is, what can it mean?

  • 1
    You could omit (or change) one step, but not closer. Apr 5, 2022 at 10:38
  • @KateBunting Do you mean b. is ungrammatical?
    – listeneva
    Apr 5, 2022 at 15:21
  • It's completely unidiomatic. You could say take it to the point where it can sell its product, except that that doesn't go with the second half of the sentence. Apr 5, 2022 at 16:12

1 Answer 1


As well as not being idiomatic, your suggestions would change the perceived meaning completely.

If you take something to something, it means you took it all the way.

"One step close to" is a common idiom to mean that something has moved a small way in the direction of the object or situation, but they are still not all the way there. The context can put a positive or a negative spin on the statement. For example, one step closer could be regarded as a positive move in the right direction in one context; in another context it could suggest that the progress is minimal, or unremarkable.

  • Do you mean that b. is not ungrammatical, albeit unidiomatic?
    – listeneva
    Apr 5, 2022 at 15:21
  • @listeneva I don't feel it is ungrammatical. As 'selling the product' is a stage (possibly the final stage) of a process, it is okay to say you are "at" that stage, or being "taken to" it. But it feels wrong for the context. A native speaker may not instantly comprehend, and if they thought about it, they'd reach the wrong conclusion.
    – Astralbee
    Apr 5, 2022 at 16:09

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