Direct someone's attention 'to' or 'on' something? (American English) I am a bit perplexed... I always think it is right to say 'to direct someone's attention TO something'. But yesterday on VOA news website I found out this phrase with ON preposition: 'It directed many people's attention ON racial inequality in American society'. Which of the prepositions is better to use? thanks!
Feb 7, 2017 8:44 AM
Answers · 8
Here's my personal take. You can put your attention "on" something (or concentrate "on" something). But if your attention is "directed" then it is directed "to", "toward", or "onto" something. "directed ... attention on <something>" is a mistake, in my opinion. :)
February 7, 2017
Hi! I'm also confused by what I see in the article. It appears to be an error. When the verb 'to direct' has a direct object and an indirect object, we use the prepositions 'to' or 'at.' It is more common to use 'to.' We use 'at' with examples of a literal direction, for example 'the shot was directed at the target.' In the phrase 'direct someone's attention to something', attention is a direct object and something is an indirect object. In this and other common expressions with the verb 'direct,' you will normally use the preposition 'to.' Hope this is helpful! Send me a message if you have any questions. Regards, Lee
February 7, 2017
You're right - it's 'directed to'. The problem is that even news corporations, newspapers and magazines (and especially online versions of these) nowadays have terrible spelling and grammar and mistakes are very very frequent. In this context, directed 'on' sounds horrible even though you would be understood, and Steve's answer above is correct. It's unfortunately a symptom of universities admitting any old moron to their arts degrees.
February 7, 2017
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