Which is correct "Look at what I found." or "Look what I found." The former has always bothered me, but I'm not sure what the grammar rules would say.

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    Grammaticality is determined by usage. To that end, you might be interested in this ngram, which shows that the version without at is more frequent. One can't call it the "correct" version, however: books.google.com/ngrams/… – Alan Carmack Dec 12 '16 at 20:53
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    An even more compelling n-gram, if you change the predicate to "what you've done" the version with at does not occur at all: books.google.com/ngrams/… – cobaltduck Dec 12 '16 at 20:58
  • Wow! I love ngrams. Thanks for turning me on to it! – Margot Dec 13 '16 at 21:07

It is an idiomatic usage of "look" which is generally used without the preposition "at" when you are telling someone to be careful and it is followed by "when, where, what and who:"

Look :

  • [ I ] used when you are telling someone to be careful or to pay attention:
    • [ + question word ] Look where you're going!
    • Look at the time - we're late!

Cambridge Dictionary

Look what you have done:

  • used when you are annoyed with someone and want them to look at the result of their action
    • Look what you’ve done! The chair’s ruined now.

MacMillan Dictionary

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    But Look (at) what I found is rarely used by native speakers "when [we] are telling someone to be careful" or "when [we] are annoyed with someone," which are what the sources you have copy and pasted here refer to. – Alan Carmack Dec 12 '16 at 22:10
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    @AlanCarmack - I suggest you read my answer again, and you should support what you say with reliable references. – user66974 Dec 12 '16 at 22:15
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    @JOSH if you're going to pick nits, you should properly spell and capitalize Cambridge. – hawkeyegold Dec 13 '16 at 17:26

Simply, "look at what I found" is asking to look "at" something the first person has found. "look what I found" is asking just to have attention.

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