English Grammar: How to use TO with transitive verbs

Categories English By JadePosted on Format Film
English Grammar: How to use TO with transitive verbs

In this grammar lesson, you will learn more about transitive verbs related to communication. Transitive verbs are verbs that use the preposition „to” after the verb. For example, „talk to”, „speak to”, and „reply to” are all frequently-used transitive verbs. But how do you know when to use „to” and when not to use it? Why is it that you can say „I talked to you”, but you can’t say, „I phoned to you”? Watch this video to find out, and stop making this very common mistake. Then take the quiz! http://www.engvid.com/grammar-to-transitive-verbs/


Hello, everyone. I’m Jade. What we’re looking at today is „verb” + „to”. These are… You could call them a group of verbs, and they always need to have „to” after them, plus they always need to have an object. And the reason they need to have an object is because they’re transitive verbs. And that’s a grammar word that means: this verb needs to have an object, otherwise it’s incorrect and it’s not good English.

So we’re looking at some of the verbs that I come across a lot that people get wrong. So they’re using… They’re not using a „to” when they use that verb, and we’re looking at that. So, let’s start and check how much you actually know with a couple of sentences.

So, our first sentence: „He phoned to me.” What do you think about that one? Is that right? Is that one wrong? Well, „phone” is not in this group of verbs. It’s not a transitive verb. We don’t need „to” with that one. Now it’s correct. „He phoned me.”

What about this one? „I need to speak to him.” How is that one? Is that one good English? „I need to speak…” This one… This bit’s okay. This is not „verb” + „to” here. This is just the infinitive. When we have one verb, and then we’re following it with another verb in the present simple, that’s why that „to” is there. That’s not what we’re talking about. But after „speak”, is it right here? Yes. In this example it’s right. But I’m a very naughty person, because I didn’t put a full stop there. There should be a full stop there.

And let’s look at this example: „Who am I speaking to?” Or sometimes: „Whom am I speaking to?” What about this one? Is this one correct? Yeah, they’re both correct. In speech, you’ll probably hear: „Who am I speaking to?” But formally, it would be: „Whom” with an „m” written out, or sometimes said in speech that way.

So now, let’s look at examples of „verb” + „to”. These are all verbs that you should be using with „to” after them. And what I usually observe is people using these verbs, but without the „to”, and it doesn’t sound right then. So let’s look at some example sentences.

„Speak to”: „I don’t speak to Sarah.” And notice how the „to” doesn’t sound like „to” anymore. „I don’t speak to Sarah.” It just becomes a schwa. We don’t… We don’t say it like the individual word itself.

Next example. „Talk to”: „Talk to them for me.” Don’t know what accent that was; it just kind of came out. Yeah, we talk to someone, we need an object.

„Listen to”, this is very good advice for all people: „You should listen to me.” It’d be worth it. Trust me. Here’s a gap. Nothing to learn here.

But now we’ve got „reply to”: „I’m sure he’ll reply to us.” I almost put: „I’m sure he’ll reply to me”, and then it felt a bit personal, so I put „us” there.

Next example, „write to”, you always write to someone, but what I commonly hear people not using „to” with this one. „I’ll write to them a.s.a.p.” Clever points for you if you know what that means. That means „as soon as possible”.

And „belong to”: „Excuse me, does this belong to you?” You don’t want to have someone come up to you and ask you that at the train station. You get in trouble in England for that.

When we come back, we’re going to look at some more examples of „verb” + „to”.

Let’s take a look at common errors with „verb” + „to”. So with these… These verbs here, even though they feel like or seem like they’re similar to the verbs that we looked at before because they’re to do with communication, these ones don’t take „to”. So sometimes I’m observing mistakes with these verbs, and that’s what I want you to know.

So in our example sentences, these are all wrong. We need to make changes.

„I phone to him.” No „to”. We don’t need „to”.

„She called to me.” No „to”. You’re starting to get it now – no „to”.

„We emailed to them.” No „to”.

„They won’t answer to us.” Again, no „to”.

„Will you ask to Sarah?” Again, no „to”. We don’t need „to” with these verbs.