English as a Second Language/'with' or 'at' or 'to' etc?



I teach English as a second language to few underprivileged local 16 year old students. I have studied in English up to my Postgraduate level but my field was Information Technology, so I don't have any formal diploma/degree etc in English.

My questions are:

The manager agreed ..... (to/with) what I said

i feel 'to' and 'with' are both correct answers. is there a difference? which is the correct one pls.

My mother is angry ...... (with/at) me for disobeying her.

I feel 'with' is the correct answer here, but 'at' also doesn't sound too bad. which is the correct one pls.

3. is there any specific 'grammar rule' in the English Language that needs to be taught to the students to figure out if it is 'with' or 'at' or 'to'  etc? (i learned it purely by reading English books)

Thanks in advance

Hi Sara,

prepositions such as with, at and to can be quite tricky for English learners.

In the examples you're asking about, both options you have provided can be use interchangeably as they are both correct.
As far as rules for using to or at or with, here are some general guidelines:


*can be used to indicate being together:

I ordered a coffee with cream
I was with my mom when my phone rang.
A representative will be with you shortly.

*can be used to indicate "having":

I have a cat with blue eyes.
His best friend walks with a limp.

*can be used to indicate "using":

I wrote an exam with the pencil you gave me.
This is the meal I made with potatoes.

*can be used to indicate feeling:

I am writing you with my sincere apology.
She went to the interview with confidence.

*can be used to indicate agreement or understanding:

I am 100% with you.
My husband agrees with me.


*can be used to indicate the place, person, or thing that someone or something moves toward something:

I am heading to the airport.
The letter was mailed to the School Board last week.

*can be used to indicate a limit or an ending point:

The clothes were piled up to the ceiling.
The gas prices increased up to 4 dollars a gallon.

*can be used to indicate relationship:

This interview is very important to your future career.
Your answer to my question is ambiguous.

*can be used to indicate a time or a period:

Most people work nine to five, Monday to Friday.
The time is 10 to 9. (or 8:50)


*can be used to point out a specific time:

Classes start at 3:00 PM
The plane will take off at 10:20 AM

*can be used to indicate a place:

There is a wedding ceremony at the church.
We saw a rock concert at the park.

*can be used to indicate an activity:

I am good at singing in the shower.
My friends make fun at my dancing.

I hope you'll find the above rules useful.
Best of luck in your future teaching endeavors and please feel free to contact me for help in the future.

Amy Baker

English as a Second Language

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Amy Baker


I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.


I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.