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Welcome to your Verb + “To” / “At” lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• Verb + “to”
Verbs that do not use “to”
• Verb + “At”
Verbs that use multiple prepositions
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

Verb + “to”

Here are a few expressions that follow this structure:

  • Explain / describe “to” somebody why/what/how:

“I explained to them how to use the app.”

“I’m going to describe what I saw…”

  • Explain something “to” somebody:

“Can you explain this lesson to me?”

  • Apologise “to” somebody (“for” something):

“I should apologise to her for forgetting her birthday.”

  • Write (an email) “to”:

“I wrote an email to my boss about the issue.”

  • Listen “to”:

“I listened to a lot of rock as a child.”

  • Talk / speak “to” somebody (you can also use “with” but it is rare):

“Did you speak to your parents last week?”

Verbs that do not use “to”

Here are some verbs that we do not use with “to”:

  • Phone / mail / text / skype / facetime somebody:

“Can I facetime you later?”

  • Answer somebody / something:

“He didn’t answer my question.”

  • Ask somebody:

“Can I ask you a question?”

  • Thank somebody:

“I want to thank you for helping me.”

Verb + “At”

Here are a few expressions that follow this structure:

  • Aim / point “at”:

“Don’t point that gun at me! It’s dangerous!”

  • Laugh “at”:

“I don’t like this hat. I don’t want to be laughed at.”

  • Look / glance / stare “at”:

“I saw you looking at me.”

Verbs that use multiple prepositions

Some verbs have a difference in meaning when you use different prepositions:

  • Throw “at”:

“Somebody threw a tomato at me!”
(the thrower means to hurt the other person)

  • Throw “to”:

“I need to go, throw those keys to me, please.”
(throw meaning give by throwing)

  • Shout “at”:

“She was very angry with her daughter and shouted at her.”

  • Shout “to”:

“I saw him on the other side of the street, and shouted to him.”
(shout to get someone’s attention)

Useful Links

Verb + “About / For / Of / After”
Verb + “Of / For / From / On”
Verb + “In / Into / With / To / On”