Prepositions: to vs at (comms)

Talk/ speak + to

I want to talk to you

I was talking to a fan yesterday

“Talk to” implies a more one-way communication. “Speak to” is even more so. The boss often says “I want to speak to you, come to my office” and this usually is not a fun situation.

“I would like to talk with you” expresses togetherness, a two-way conversation, a much kinder expression

Say + to

I want to say something to you

Say that again to my friend and you’ll regret it

Note: Say me is not usual.  Use Tell me.

Note II: You can order people to speak by using quoted (reported) speech

Say “you love me”

x: Say me you love me

x: Say to me you love me

x: Say to me that you love me (correct grammar but not usual)

o: Say “Yes, Sir!”

Tell – to

Tell me you love me

Don’t tell him!

Leona told me about the situation

Apologise + to

Apologise to the boss, now!

Shingo would like to apologise to you, for his mistake

British Trains would like to apologise to our customers for the delay

talk / Shout + at

This implied the force of communication is not precise, it’s blasting an area, it’s a one way communication.

Please don’t shout at me!

Why are you shouting at me for?

This guy was talking at me all day, what an ass.

Shout + to

This is precising, normally because there is a need to, because of a noisy location etc.

He shouted the names to me

He shouted to them from the rooftop

Call / cry / Shout + out

This shows that it was loud enough that other people could hear it. It’s possible to add + to + subject.

He shouted out the names of the participants

He called out the names of the top 8

He shouted out in pain

They cried out in pain

Explain + to

Could you please explain this to me

x: Please explain me

o: Please explain to me how this is possible / how this works

o: Please explain this to me

Don't talk _____ me, I hate you!

Correct! Wrong!

"At" is possible, but not for this confrontation

I don't understand, could you explain that _____ me again

Correct! Wrong!

explain + to

Can I talk _____ you for a minute? I would like to discuss the schedule for this weekend

Correct! Wrong!

"to" is possible but to express a two way communication, we use "with"

I need to talk ____ you, that stream was a catastrophe.

Correct! Wrong!

The speaker wants to complain, not discuss, so it's a one-way communication

I was talking _____ Xiaohai yesterday, he's cool

Please select 2 correct answers

Correct! Wrong!

"With" or "to" are fine

What happened? Tell _____ me!

Correct! Wrong!

Tell - to

Say what? You said what ____ my mother?

Correct! Wrong!

say + to

She said something awful ___ me

Correct! Wrong!

say + to + subject

Tell ___ him to bring a hdmi cable please

Correct! Wrong!

Tell - to

Takuma shouted ____ me for an hour

Correct! Wrong!

shout + at = angry situation

I'm so sorry please let me apologise ____ your partner

Correct! Wrong!

apologise + to + subject

To vs At (comms)
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