The exit to or exit from a place?

New York Times article about restuarant employees blocking patrons from leaving the building:

One of the arresting officers, Anthony Sengco, wrote in his criminal
complaint that he observed Dr. Pemberton, Mr. Baptiste and Mr. Debnam
blocking the exit to the restaurant and that the men had stated to him
that they were trying to prevent the women from leaving. The men deny
that they made any such statements to Mr. Sengco or that they were
trying to prevent the women from leaving.

Shouldn’t this be the exit from the restaurant?


For some words, it is valid to phrase “the X’s Y” as “the Y to the X” and that is what is happening here.

“blocking the exit to the restaurant” is intended as a shortened form of “blocking the exit [belonging] to the restaurant” and an alternative way to phrase “blocking the restaurant’s exit”, rather than as a counterpart to “blocking the exit from the restaurant”.

The confusion arises because, in this case, “to” can refer to both movement and posession/ownership.

Consider “Hiding the key [belonging] to the door” as an alternative use with no movement-related interpretation.

Source : Link , Question Author : CocoPop , Answer Author : ssokolow

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