√ Verb + preposition 1 to and at.
√ Verb + at.
√ Verb + at
√ Verb + at.
√ Verb + at
Talk / speak TO somebody (with is also possible but less usual)
— Who was that man you were talking to?
Listen TO ...
— We spent the evening listening to music, (not listening music) apologise TO somebody (for...)
— They apologised to me for what happened. (not They apologised me)
Explain something TO somebody.
— Can you explain this word to me? (not explain me this word) explain / describe (to somebody) what/how/why ...
— I explained to them why I was worried. (not I explained them)
— 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
— I called the airline to cancel my flight. (not called to the airline) but write (a letter) to somebody answer somebody/something
— He refused to answer my question. (not answer to my question) but
Reply to an email / a letter etc.
— Can I ask you a question? (not ask to you)
Thank somebody (for something)
— He thanked me for helping him. (not He thanked to me)
Verb + at
Look / stare / glance AT ... , have a look / take a look AT ...
— 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 ...
— Don't point that knife at me. It's dangerous.
— 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)
— Somebody threw an egg at the minister.
Throw something TO somebody (for somebody to catch)
— 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