Consult with/to/on/about? What is the correct preposition with the verb consult?

“To consult” can use no preposition or the preposition “with”. The prepositions on and about are also common in spoken English. 

Consult + no preposition

We don’t need a preposition when the meaning of “consult” is similar to “check” or “refer”.

We are looking for information from a book or store of information like a database.

You need to consult your dictionary. 

Can you consult your records to see if we have any information about him?

Consult + with

“Consult with” can be used in the above situations but it can also be used with people. 

“Consult with” often implies that there is more of an exchange of information similar to “confer”.

“To confer” means to discuss with your team and find an answer between you whereas “to consult with” often means that your teammates have more knowledge than you.

For that reason, we use “consult with” often with experts in certain fields such as doctors, lawyers, and financial advisors.  

You need to consult with your financial advisor before buying cryptocurrency.

You should consult with your doctor before trying any new supplements. 

Consult or consult with difference

In my experience, most people use both “consult” and “consult with” interchangeably.

Sometimes I notice people are more likely to say “consult a doctor” when the problem is more serious and we more or less know what the problem is. 

I hear “consult with a doctor” when people are at the beginning of the information-finding journey and the problem can be a little bit more difficult to define. There is often less certainty about the problem.

You should consult a doctor right away.

Maybe you should consult with a doctor….

In the first example, the symptoms could include pain in your right side or feeling faint.

In the second example, maybe the symptoms could include a stomach ache or a headache. 

Consult + to(doctor)

“Consult to” is not common in English. If you are talking about consulting with a doctor, it is better to use the preposition “with” or no preposition.

You need to consult a doctor

You should consult with your doctor. 

Consult on or about 

“On” and “about” do not work as dependent prepositions(they are not bound to “consult”).

On and about are often common in sentences but function as a regular preposition(connect one part of the sentence to the other).

In this case “on” and “about” connect the verb “consult” to the topic of knowledge that we wish to obtain.

You need to consult somebody about that mole.

I was never consulted on your decision to leave the firm.

Consult as a noun  

There is also a noun “consult”. The pronunciation is different for the noun with the stress coming at the beginning of the word.  This noun is more common in English from the U.S.A. In the U.K and other parts of the English-speaking world, the noun “consultation” is more common.