1

I feel that normally one would say "start of the week" in a sentence, but I noticed that sometimes "start to the week" is used, most notably in "Have a great start to the week!".

Is this an outlier or are there more examples with "to" instead of "of"?

0

1 Answer 1

2

It's the same with, for example, the start of the day, which normally refers to the early hours of the day. Whereas eating a hearty breakfast gives you a good start to the day.

The of versions are for referring to a particular (static) time (day or hour). The to versions are for referring to a (dynamic) process.

The same distinction arises with references the start of / to the month / year / decade / ... Or indeed a perfect end to a perfect day, which you might say at the end of the day.

5
  • Could you give examples to illustrate the static/dynamic distinction? I don't quite follow.
    – nschneid
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 3:13
  • When we refer to the start / middle / end of the day / week / month / year, we're primarily talking about a specific time / date (the "day / week / month" is only mentioned because it narrows down the specific time we want to reference. But in the to versions we're primarily talking about the "day / week / month" itself - with its good or bad start or end. It might help if you note that you'll never encounter a reference to a good / bad middle to the day, but I have a nap in the middle of the day is perfectly natural. Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 12:37
  • Ah, I think you're saying that to refer to a moment in time, rather than a period of time, it has to be with "of": e.g. "the start to the meeting went well" sounds better than "the start to the meeting was delayed". But "the start of the meeting went well" also sounds OK to my ears.
    – nschneid
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 20:44
  • In The start to/of the week went well I'd say either preposition works (but the phrasing is a bit klunky anyway - we'd say The week started well). And although I prefer of in The start to/of his presentation was delayed, I wouldn't like to argue against to (except when arguing against both, in favour of removing The start of/to completely). I think maybe if "the start/end of/to [something with duration]" is the syntactic subject (often, "awkward phrasing") there's more flexibility than when it's the object. Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 12:19
  • There's also an issue regarding start / middle / end being used as nouns (to reference some "subsection" of the day / week / meeting), where I've pointed out that it's often more natural to convert them to verbs (The day started well, The meeting ended badly). Bear in mind that we're getting a long way from "fixed grammatical rules" here. Also, I doubt I've ever heard anyone say anything like Have a good start to the week (Why just the start? Why not Have a good week?). But it's almost always It's a sad end to the week / We met at the start of the month. Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 12:31

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .