Let's say someone has got something to say about you to your face. As you know, in many cultures, it is rude to refer to someone with the forefinger (especially when it comes to anger or an argument!) Now, let's imagine you're from such a culture and a person is referring to you with their index fingers in a very angry way! How would you warn them? I have made up some sentences and I wonder which one sounds natural to you to be said to such a situation? If none of them works here, then I would appreciate it if you let me know about the most natural way to say that.

  1. Don't point at me.
  2. Don't point to me.
  3. Don't point at me with your finger.
  4. Don't point to me with your finger.
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    It's not uncommon in North America to hear, "Get your finger out of my face!" However, this is also pretty rude and this is a sentence that escalates tension, rather than diffusing it. Aug 14, 2019 at 14:09
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    Just the first one: "Don't point at me". They will know you mean finger because that is what is being pointed. Aug 14, 2019 at 14:39
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    You've asked a lot of rather intriguing questions. Out of curiosity, are you writing a novel? Have you been involved in all of these situations you ask about? Or do you just think of random scenarios to improve your English? (Please don't take this as criticism! Just curious!)
    – TypeIA
    Aug 14, 2019 at 14:40
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    "Don't wag your finger at me!" would be pretty common in the UK when someone was to move the index finger up and down and up, as to threaten or reprimand someone
    – Gamora
    Aug 14, 2019 at 15:01
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    "Don't point your finger at me" is the common reply. The sensibility to "the finger" is a North American thing. Brits do not have this sensibility to "the finger" as we use two fingers not one. A Hang over from the Archers in the 100 years war.
    – Brad
    Aug 14, 2019 at 15:08

2 Answers 2


Pointing a finger at someone may indeed be rude. Pointing a finger to someone is usually not rude at all.

The reason is that these imply different contexts. Pointing at someone is an aggressive gesture often indicating accusation.

The prosecutor pointed at the defendant as she addressed the jury. "Ladies and gentleman," she exclaimed, "the state will show that this is the man who committed the vile murder on the night of October 7th!"

Pointing to often merely indicates selection.

The two captains had the boys line up along the goal line. Each then took turns pointing to one of the boys to call him over onto his team.

This use can subtly change the nuance of an implied action:

"Mrs. Capshaw, can you show us the man you saw entering your neighbor's house the night of the murder?" the prosecutor asked.

Mrs. Capshaw nodded and pointed to the defendant. (selection)
Mrs. Capshaw nodded and pointed at the defendant. (accusation)

As for the answer to your question, it mostly depends on how aggressive you want to phrase your response. A simple request might be:

(Please) Don't point your finger at me.

or, alternately, you can take Canadian Yankee's suggestion of

Get your finger out of my face!

with a range of possible options in-between.


The original post's suggestions are grammatically correct. Their literal meaning is also semantically correct. The "at me" examples are more consistent with the intended meaning than the "to me" examples, but the "to me" examples are accurate enough.

But none of the original post's examples convey the original poster's intent.

The original poster's intent is to convey, "In my culture, pointing at someone's face is incredibly rude. Let's have a polite conversation without any pointing at faces."

If the original poster is conversing with someone who is not aware of this point of etiquette, the purpose of the original poster's statement will be completely lost. Instead, the other person will hear that someone whom they are already angry with has dared to issue them a command! And is trying to change the subject! And is prohibiting them from expressing their anger! Maybe the other person will obey, and stop pointing their finger at the original poster's face. But even if they do, they will be even angrier, and the overall effect will be counter-productive.

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