Talk / speak TO somebody (with is also possible but less usual)
О Who was that man you were talking to?
Listen TO ...
О We spent the evening listening to music, (not listening music) apologise TO somebody (for...)
О They apologised to me for what happened. (not They apologised me)
Explain something TO somebody.
О Can you explain this word to me? (not explain me this word) explain / describe (to somebody) what/how/why ...
О I explained to them why I was worried. (not I explained them)
О Let me describe to you what I saw. (not Let me describe you)
We do not use to with these verbs: phone / call / email / text somebody
О I called the airline to cancel my flight. (not called to the airline) but write (a letter) to somebody answer somebody/something
О He refused to answer my question. (not answer to my question) but
Reply to an email / a letter etc.
О Can I ask you a question? (not ask to you)
Thank somebody (for something)
О He thanked me for helping him. (not He thanked to me)
Verb + at
Look / stare / glance AT ... , have a look / take a look AT ...
О Why are you looking at me like that?
Laugh AT ...
I look stupid with this haircut. Everybody will laugh at me.
Aim / point (something) AT ..., shoot / fire (a gun) AT ...
О Don't point that knife at me. It's dangerous.
О We saw someone with a gun shooting at birds, but he didn't hit any.
Some verbs can be followed by at or to, with a difference in meaning. For example:
Shout AT somebody (when you are angry)
He got very angry and started shouting at me.
Shout TO somebody (so that they can hear you)
He shouted to me from the other side of the street,
Throw something AT somebody/something (in order to hit them)
О Somebody threw an egg at the minister.
Throw something TO somebody (for somebody to catch)
О Lisa shouted ‘Catch!' and threw the keys to me from the window.
Which is correct?
1 a Can you explain this word to me?
b Can you explain me this word?
2 a I got angry with Mark. Afterwards, I apologised to him.
b I got angry with Mark. Afterwards I apologised him.
3 a Amy won't be able to help you. There's no point in asking to her
b Amy won’t be able to help you. There’s no point in asking her
4 a I need somebody to explain me what I have to do.
b I need somebody to explain to me what I have to do.
5 a They didn’t understand the system, so I explained it to them.
b They didn’t understand the system, so I explained it them
6 a I like to sit on the beach and listen to the sound of the sea
b I like to sit on the beach and listen the sound of the sea
7 a I asked them to describe me exactly what happened.
b I asked them to describe to me exactly what happened.
8 a We’d better phone the restaurant to reserve a table.
b We’d better phone to the restaurant to reserve a table.
9 a It was a difficult question. I couldn’t answer to it
b It was a difficult question. I couldn’t answer it.
1O a I explained everybody the reasons for my decision.
b I explained to everybody the reasons for my decision
11 a I thanked everybody for all the help they had given me.
b I thanked to everybody for all the help they had given me.
12 a My friend texted to me to let me know she was going to be late
b My friend texted me to let me know she was going to be late
Complete the sentences. Use these verbs + the correct preposition:
explain laugh listen look point reply speak throw throw
1 I look stupid with this haircut. Everybody will laugh at me.
2 I don't understand this. Can you explain it to me?
3 Sue and Kevin had an argument and now they're refusing to _____each other.
4 Be careful with those scissors! Don't_____ them_____ me!
5 I'm not sure where we are. I'll have to_____ the map.
6 Please _____ me! I’ve got something important to tell you.
7 Don’t_____ stones_____ the birds! It's cruel.
8 If you don't want that sandwich,_____ it _____the birds. They'll eat it.
9 I tried to contact Tina, but she didn't _____ my emails.
Put in to or at.
1 They apologised ____to__me for what happened.
2 I glanced _____ my watch to see what time it was.
3 Please don't shout _____ me! Try to calm down.
4 I saw Sue as I was cycling along the road. I shouted _____ her, but she didn't hear me.
5 Don't listen _____ what he says. He doesn't know what he's talking about.
6 What's so funny? What are you laughing _____ ?
7 Could I have a look _____ your magazine, please?
8 I'm lonely. I need somebody to talk _____
9 She was so angry she threw a book _____ the wall.
10 The woman sitting opposite me on the train kept staring _____ me.
11 Can I speak _____ you a moment? There’s something I want to ask you.
3 speak to
4 point (them) at
5 look at
6 listen to
7 throw (stones) at
8 throw (it) to
9 reply to