Hello, Fellow Midwesterners. May we talk about the construct–“over to” for a few minutes? I use this all the time. “He works over to the Hall of Fame.” “She’s running over to the store.” “I was over to his house and he took off all his clothes.” And I learned it in the Midwest. We would go over to the bar in Keithsburg after work sometimes. Or over to the truckstop for dinner.
And, to me, it means something very distinct.
Let’s take the “I was over to his house last night and he took off all his clothes.” This is much different than “I was at his house last night and he took off all his clothes.” “I was at his house” implies that I was there in a somewhat formal manner and it is quite likely I was happy to see him taking off his clothing. “I was over to his house” implies that I was there in an informal manner and that, as such, I was likely surprised to discover he would take off his clothes in those circumstances.
But I think it means a little more than just a sense of informality. It also means, you might join the subject.
If you say, “I could use a six-pack,” and I say, “Well, the Butcher is at the store right now.” that means “tough shit. You missed your chance to get beer.” But if I say, “Well, the Butcher is over to the store right now,” I mean, “You could run over there or call him and catch him.” There’s a possibility of interaction.
Which is again why “I was over to his house” implies that his behavior is inappropriate. Anyone might show up.
And I have always assumed that this was widely understood, but now I’m wondering. Is this not a Midwestern thing? Is this just a quirk of rural Western Illinois?
Am I saying “over to” assuming everyone perfectly well understands the nuance but in reality, I just sound like I’m using two words when one would do?