To glory!

I've come across the bizarre (is it?) question that's asking me to write the complete form of this exclaiming 'sentence'. I came along the sentence below as the nonellipsed expansion:

[Let's go] to glory!

However, it gets a bit hilarious if you want to apply the same to "to hell with the guns!":

[Let's go] to hell with the guns!

It's rather

[Go] to hell with the guns!

Are these exceptions? Is there a general rule we can apply to the phrases than begin with the structure "to + noun"? Is there ellipsis here, since I don't seem to see it?

I've been taught that to write a complete expansion for the ellipsed form, you should choose what's the nearest and yet the shortest. Is this true?

  • 1
    Exceptions to what? I don't understand the question.. We can say "Let's change our infamy to glory!" or "Drink to glory!". Feb 13, 2015 at 21:03
  • 1
    "To glory" is a title for a song by the group "Two steps from hell" (I'm not advertising :). Could it have meant "drink to glory"?! :)
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 13, 2015 at 21:06
  • 1
    Of course, introducing a comma might decrease the ambiguity: To hell, with the guns!
    – user6951
    Feb 14, 2015 at 2:57
  • 1
    Is there a rule? Are you kidding? This is English. Rules are the exceptions. When you can find one, that's worth writing home about. There is just a lot of previous usage, which you can use as precedent for variations and extensions.
    – Ben Kovitz
    Feb 14, 2015 at 3:12
  • 1
    There's no ellipsis here. These are minor sentences.
    – user230
    Feb 17, 2015 at 15:33

3 Answers 3


"to hell with X" is not truly ellipsis as you understand it; it is a set phrase, meaning, basically, "for all I care, X can go to hell"

Thus "the hell with you"

This is not abstruse; it is similar to other classic constructions

"away with you!" "off with you"

which both mean "Go away".

(I know this doesn't explain why. I'll do more digging and try to improve this answer)


I believe that the sentence can be expanded to "A toast: Here's to glory!" The most likely setting for this would be a gathering of junior military officers. The sentiment is that glory is a great and wonderful thing, and everyone present hopes to find it.

So, no, I don't think you can compare it to the phrase "to Hell". Except, perhaps, at a Satanist convention.

Edited to add: In light of the suggested answer, I'd suggest another scenario. A king is addressing his mounted knights and getting them motivated for battle. He shouts, "Men will remember this day as long as men fight for the right! Follow me, and we ride to glory!". And the enthusiastic crowd responds, "To glory!". It's a bit Hollywood, but that may be what's intended.

Again, I have a bit of trouble coming up with a similar use of "to Hell".


I interpret

To Hell with guns

To mean

Send (all the) guns to Hell

You must log in to answer this question.

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