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Unit 132. Verb + preposition 1. To and at

Unit 132; Part A

galka.jpgVerb + to
talk / speak TO
  (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)

(a letter) TO ...
      I wrote to the hotel complaining about the poor service we had received.

apologise TO
somebody (for ...)
      They apologised to me for what happened. 
(not They apologised me)

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)

Unit 132; Part B

galka.jpgWe do not use to with these verbs:
phone / telephone / call somebody
      Did you phone your father yesterday?
  (not phone to your father)

      He refused to answer my question.
  (not answer to my question)

      Can I ask you a question?
  (not ask to you)

(for something)
      He thanked me for helping him.
  (not He thanked to me)

Unit 132; Part C

galka.jpgVerb + 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.

Unit 132; Part D

galka.jpgSome verbs can be followed by at or to, with a difference of meaning. For example:
shout AT somebody  (when you are angry)
      He got very angry and started shouting at me.

shout TO
  (so that they can hear you)
      He shouted to me from the other side of the street.

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.


flag.jpgYou ask somebody to explain things that you don't understand. Write questions beginning Can you explain ... ?
Key.3   Can you explain this question to me? / Can you explain it to me?
4   Can you explain the problem tome? / Can you explain it to me?
5   Can you explain to me how this machine works?
6   Can you explain to me what I have to do?

1    (I don't understand this word.)
     Can you explain this word to me?                        
2    (I don't understand what you mean.)
      Can explain to me what you mean?                     
3    (I don't understand this question.)
     Can you explain ___________________________
4    (I don't understand the problem.)
     Can _______________________________________
5    (I don't understand how this machine works.)
6    (I don't understand what I have to do.)

flag.jpgPut in to where necessary. If the sentence is already complete, leave the space empty.
Key.3    to
4    -
5    to
6    to
7    -
8    -
9    to
10  -

1    I know who she is, but I've never spoken     to     her.
2    Why didn't you answer      -      my letter?
3    I like to listen _______ the radio while I'm having breakfast.
4    We'd better phone _______ the restaurant to reserve a table.
5    'Did Mike apologise _______ you?'   'Yes, he said he was very sorry.'
6    I explained _______ everybody the reasons for my decision.
7    I thanked _______ everybody for all the help they had given me.
8    Ask me what you like, and I'll try and answer _______ your questions.
9    Mike described _______ me exactly what happened.
10  Karen won't be able to help you, so there's no point in asking _______ her.

flag.jpgComplete the sentences. Use the following verbs (in the correct form) + the correct preposition:
Key.3   speaking to
4   point them at
5   glanced at
6   listen to
7   throw stones at
8   throw it to

explain       glance       laugh        listen       point       speak        throw       throw
1    I look stupid with this haircut. Everybody will     laught 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 not __________________ one another.
4    Be careful with those scissors! Don't __________________ them __________________ me!
5    I __________________ my watch to see what the time was.
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.

flag.jpgPut in to or at.
Key.2   at
3   at
4   to
5   to
6   at
7   at
8   to
9   at
10 at
11 to

1    I wrote    to    the hotel complaining about the poor service we had received.
2    Look _____ these flowers. Aren't they pretty?
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    Do you think I could have a look _____ your magazine, please?
8    I'm a bit 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.

Unit 131      Unit 132     Unit 133 forward.jpg