Verbs: Some common mistakes

The verb write can take two objects. Sometimes this causes problems.

  • Incorrect: He wrote me.
  • Correct: He wrote to me.


We write something. (He wrote a letter.)

We write something to someone. (He wrote a letter to his mother.) (NOT He wrote a letter his mother.)

We write someone something. (He wrote his mother a letter.) (NOT He wrote to his mother a letter.)

We write to someone. (He wrote to me.) (NOT He wrote me.)


The verb explain can be followed by two objects – a direct object and an indirect object.

Note that we explain something to someone. (NOT We explain someone something.)

  • Incorrect: I shall explain them this.
  • Correct: I shall explain this to them.

The verb suggest

We suggest something to somebody. We cannot suggest somebody something.

  • Incorrect: He suggested me this.
  • Correct: He suggested this to me.


The verb oblige takes the preposition to. When you are obliged to do something, you are forced to do it because it is a law, a rule or a duty.

  • I felt obliged to help him.
  • I am obliged to you for this good turn. (NOT I am obliged of you for this good turn.)

The verb invite

The verb invite can be followed by to or for.

We invite someone to/for something:

  • I have invited my uncle and aunt to dinner.
  • He invited me for a drink but I politely refused.

The verb tell

The verb tell does not take a preposition.

  • Incorrect: He told to me to go.
  • Correct: He told me to go.

The verb ask

When ask is followed by two objects, the indirect object (the person) normally comes first, without a preposition.

  • Incorrect: She did not ask any question to him.
  • Correct: She did not ask him any question.
  • Incorrect: I will ask the time to that man.
  • Correct: I will ask that man the time.