+0
Could anyone help me with the following questions about "POINT AT & POINT TO?
1. The teacher often points to the student and says, "David, would you read the next sentence, please?"
My question is "Can I say "The teacher often points at the students..."?
He pointed ________ the dog when it ran toward them.
A. To B. at C. in D. on
The key is "A. to". However, I think both A & B are correct because we can say "point at/to sth./sb.
Is there any difference between "point at" and "point to" here when we denote both "man" & "animal". Thanks in advance.
+0
He pointed to/at the dog when it ran toward them.

The physical action is the same. It's the intent that's different. You'd need context to determine that.

If you assume the context may be adjusted to support either choice, then, of course, both are correct.

It's not a grammatical question. Both are grammatical. It's a semantic question. How much information do we wish to convey?

The compass is pointing to/at the "N." The compass doesn't have any intention. Both work.

The compass is pointing to the North. (Don't ask me about the capital.)
This is a bit of personification. We attribute human qualities to the compass. It understands about directions and is making a judgement - a selection.

"The teacher points to David, and says" - The teacher is making a selection.

Pointing at someone is fraught with implication. It's considered very rude. It's a threatening act.
This has nothing to do with grammar. It's just the way people understand the expression and the action.

I pointed my gun to the gentleman on the left. (Oh, really?)
Maybe: I tipped my hat to the lady on the right. I thumbed my nose at the officer.

If I thought I could frighten the dog away by pointing my finger at him, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I believe the intent here is to indicate to my fellow humans the source of a potential threat.
I pointed to the dog, and yelled, "Watch out!" (I'm not even talking to the dog.)

Of course sometimes finger-pointing can be both selective and threatening: J'accuse!
Comments  
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Hi, Avangi!
Thank you for spending time explaining to me. I really appreciate it. I want to make it clear here. The question "He pointed ___ the dog when it ran toward them" is from the exam paper. And I must choose either "to" or "at". What I understand here is that "which one is more correct?or which one is the better and safer choice? Thank you for listening to me.
It's almost impossible to judge, without more context.
If the writer of the question disagreed with your answer, he could give you any number of reasons why his choice is better. What he would really be doing is describing the context he had in mind when he wrote the question.
I think I've already said why I prefer "to." That also seems to have been the writer's choice.
I could give you contextual scenarios which would push me to choose "at."

The word "them" plays a role in my choice. He's not alone.
Also, the fact that his reaction is to point suggests to me that he may be a child.
It's a guessing game.

- A.
I would like to thank you again, Avangi. Thank you for your clear explanation and patience to me.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.

Sorry, but this is clear as mud.

anonymous

Sorry, but this is clear as mud.

Most explanations are unclear if they are about an extremely subtle point of language that takes a lifetime of experience to understand.

It's like trying to write instructions for riding a bike when the reader barely even knows what a bike is.

Emotion: smile
CJ