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to-&-fro

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:07 am
by eberntson
So has anyone heard or seen this phrase? I know I have heard it used, and know what it means, but I am wondering if it is in common usage, and what it's history might be. I use it as "I went for days to-and-fro the beach." But it sounds strange that way so one could use "I went for days to and fro to the beach seems wrong." Let me know.

Eric

P.S. Perhaps, I am thinking of "The trees waived to and fro as the storm winds started to howl."

P.S.S. My spellcheck sa's all is well.

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:49 am
by skinem
Sure, heard and seen.
I've always taken it to mean back and forth or "about" as in "He was tossed to-and--fro."

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:13 am
by bnjtokyo
The Oxford Compact that you reach from the "look up" feature on the top page of this website defines "to and fro" as
"adverb - in a constant movement backwards and forwards or from side to side"

Your example usage "I went for days to-and-fro the beach." sounds odd to me. But I could say "I went for days to-and-fro ON the beach." or "I went for days to-and-fro BETWEEN the beach and MY HOTEL."

I found a usage in Shakespeare:
"Was ever feather so lightly blown to and fro as this multitude?" Henry VI, Part 2, IV ix

I also found quotes from Chaucer and Tennyson, but they were not as self-explanatory as the Shakespeare example.

Cheers,

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:14 am
by Perry
But I could say "I went for days to-and-fro ON the beach." or "I went for days to-and-fro BETWEEN the beach and MY HOTEL."
These two examples get my vote as well.

I also like the allied idiom: hither, thither and yon

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:46 am
by skinem
Perry wrote:
But I could say "I went for days to-and-fro ON the beach." or "I went for days to-and-fro BETWEEN the beach and MY HOTEL."
These two examples get my vote as well.

I also like the allied idiom: hither, thither and yon
ditto

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:59 am
by Bailey
ok
mark rarely-thithers-I-just-hither-and-Yawn Bailey


Do you think my new avatar is affecting my posts?

to and fro and to

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:03 pm
by eberntson
Any reason one couldn't use "fro-and-to?" Sorry it is Friday and I have not reached my quota of stupid questions for the week. :twisted:

~E

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:43 pm
by Bailey
none what so ever, you still have your three stupid questions left and depending on your time zone, tempus fugit....

mark asks-more-than-my-share-of stupid-q's Bailey

Has more than my share of stupid A's too, [before Perry says it].

Re: to and fro and to

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 6:41 pm
by gailr
eberntson wrote:Any reason one couldn't use "fro-and-to?" Sorry it is Friday and I have not reached my quota of stupid questions for the week. :twisted:

~E
Just as acceptable as forth and back, out and in, down and up. Usually, although not always, the usage for going away precedes the usage for returning, just for logic's sake, but that's up to the individual...

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:07 am
by melissa
Hither and thither, here and there if you are not concerned about order. But you can never come thither. I tried that in Hither Hills, and found myself lost. in the rain. alone.

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:50 am
by eberntson
@melissa: That reminds me of a joke...

According to Hemingway, why did the chicken cross the road?


A: To get to the other side, to die alone in the rain.

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:46 pm
by gailr
Ernest Hemingway wrote:"I sat down on the chair in front of a table where there were menus hung on clips at the side and looked out of the window. I could see nothing but the dark and the rain falling across the light from the windows. So that was it. The chicken was dead."

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:10 pm
by eberntson
I need a drink... :(

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:07 pm
by Bailey
Hemmingway missed the awesome power of illustrative alliteration and the contributions onomatopoeia makes towards truly great prose.

mark not-a-hemmingway-fan Bailey
too much testosterone dripping from every pore.

Besides Mel punctuated that incorrectly, it's supposed to read:To get to the other side. To die. Alone. In the rain.

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:21 pm
by gailr
Ernest Hemingway wrote:For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.