Learn English – “Point to” and “point at”


I'm having trouble putting the difference in meaning between "point to" and "point at" into words and my Longman dictionary isn't helping, I'm afraid.

I'm not a native speaker, but I feel there is a definite difference; however the only thing I can say is that 'point at' feels more aggressive whereas 'point to' feels more casual. Can anyone help?

Best Answer

I would say point at and point to are often interchangeable in real life.

As an effort to distinguish between them, I do think point at has a more aggressive and accusing feeling while point to merely shows a direction. In other words, when you point at something, you are directly indicating it; when you point to something, you are simply pointing in its direction or showing the way to it.

Last but not least, there's one exception where you point your gun at something but not to something.