explain TO me, say TO me, tell me

English grammar and usage issues

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explain TO me, say TO me, tell me

Unread postby Dominique » 12 Jul 2006, 09:51


I've been teaching in Prague for half a year now and notice that even the best of Czech speakers continue to make a common mistake. I always hear

EXPLAIN ME (how this works, etc. etc.)
SAY ME (blah blah blah)

I always correct them and tell them that there is always a TO after Explain and SAY, but I'm not quite sure how to explain it them.

Of course TO is necessary here as a preposition, but why is it that we don't use TO with TELL ME?

All the words that have to do with "TALK" (EXPLAIN, SAY, TALK, TELL) needs the preposition TO, but not TELL. I'm not sure if there are other other similar words like this.

So, my student asks that I bring him a list of these words to explain when to use it with TO and when to use it without TO.

Can someone help me?

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Unread postby schetin » 01 Aug 2006, 23:10

Hi Dominique,

Do you mean the pattern 'give me', 'show me', 'tell me', &c.? The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary gives likewise patterns in the introduction.

If it helps,


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