Verb + to
talk / speak TO somebody (with is also possible but less common)
– Who was that man you were talking to?
listen TO …
– We spent the evening listening to music. (not listening music)
apologize TO somebody (for …)
– They apologized to me for what happened. (not They apologized 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 wat I saw. (not Let me describe you)
We do not use to with these verbs:
call / phone / telephone somebody
– Did you call your father yesterday? (not call to your father)
answer somebody / something
– He refused to answer my question. (not answer to my question)
– Can I ask you a question? (not ask to you)
thank somebody (for something)
– He thanked me for helping him. (not He tanked 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 politician.
throw something TO somebody (for somebody to cath)
– Lisa shouted “Catch!” and threw the keys to me from the window.