Grammatical pattern: VERB + to somebody/something + OBJECT

example: HeINTRODUCEDto the classthe medieval notion of chivalry.
HeDESCRIBEDto usthe whole, awful scene.
SheEXPLAINEDto themthat the museum was closing.
    VERB to smby/smth OBJECT

This pattern is similar to the basic pattern [VERB + OBJECT + OBJECT] (“She gave me a present,” “I lent him some money”) and to subtypes of that pattern that use noun clauses as their objects (as, for example, in the sentences “I asked him why he was leaving,” “He told them where he lived,” and “They informed us that the meeting had been canceled.”)  The important difference is that verbs that follow this pattern require the use of the preposition “to” before the indirect object, the “somebody.” (Only the verb “show” is an exception. It can follow the pattern here with “to” or the simpler pattern without “to.” Use of the simpler pattern is more common for “show.”)

The phrase with “to” in these types of sentences can also potentially occur in a position following the direct object.  Therefore, instead of saying “She explained to them that the museum was closing,” it is possible to say “She explained that the museum was closing to them.”  When the direct object is slightly long, as in the examples above, English speakers tend to prefer to place the “to” phrase between the subject and the direct object, along the lines of the pattern being discussed here.  (However, if the indirect object information is itself quite long and/or is completely new information to the listener, then it might be put after the direct object even if the direct object is long as well, as in “She explained that the museum was closing to the very angry tourists who made a special trip to get there.”)


Verbs that follow the pattern [VERB + to somebody/something + OBJECT]

describe, explain, indicate, introduce, matter, prove, recommend, show, suggest


Additional examples of the pattern [VERB + to somebody/something + OBJECT]

The results of the study indicated to the researchers that their assumptions had been wrong.

It doesn’t matter to me whether we finish this now or later.

Can you prove to us that you’re right about that?

Has the doctor suggested to you anything that can be done to improve your condition?

Please explain to us what happened.




All grammatical patterns