Grammar Patterns

V to n

II.1 The 'talk' group

These verbs are concerned with speaking or writing. The prepositional phrase indicates who someone speaks or writes to. We include here propose, which indicates that someone asks someone else to marry them, read, which indicates that someone reads something aloud to someone, and whistle, which indicates that someone calls an animal by whistling.
The verbs chat, speak, and talk are often reciprocal verbs (see Chapter 6).
'Don't lie to me,' she shouted.
She was certain that in the next few months he would propose to her.
You had better attend to the issue of the unauthorized cleaning and report back to me in writing.
Hello. Can I speak to the doctor on call, please.
He needed to talk to someone.
In the case of mumble and mutter, the noun group following the preposition to is usually a reflexive pronoun. This pattern is V to pron-refl.
Finally the woman closed her eyes and began to mumble to herself.
  • apologize
  • blab
  • boast
  • brag
  • chat
  • complain
  • confess
  • lie
  • mumble
  • mutter
  • natter
  • pray
  • preach
  • propose
  • read
  • reply
  • report
  • sing
  • speak
  • talk
  • telegraph
  • transmit
  • whisper
  • whistle
  • write
  • open up
  • report back
  • write back
  • write in
  • write off
  • Most of these verbs also have the patterns V to n about n and V about n to n. A prepositional phrase beginning with about is used after or, less frequently, before the prepositional phrase beginning with to. It indicates the topic of the speech or writing.
    She says when she complained to her supervisor about the behaviour, no action was taken.
    He was forced to change his plea after he bragged about the killing to a pal in jail.
    A few of these verbs also have the pattern V to n for n, which is explained at the end of this section.

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