Prepositions

Before, across and in front of

February 24, 2014

We do not normally use before to talk about position/place. Instead, we use in front of. A tall guy was standing in front of me. There were hundreds of people in front of me in the queue. The professor stood in front of the desk. The opposite of in front of is behind. When the […]

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Unnecessary prepositions

February 18, 2014

Sometimes we use prepositions where they are not necessary. While expressions like ‘check up on’ and ‘as from’ are not exactly considered incorrect, they should be avoided in academic and formal writing. Study the examples given below. Incorrect: If we don’t hurry, we will miss out on the show. Correct: If we don’t hurry, we […]

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Despite and in spite of

February 6, 2014

Despite and in spite of mean exactly the same, but despite is more common than in spite of. Despite and in spite of are prepositions. Both expressions can be followed by a noun or noun-equivalent. I enjoyed the movie despite having a headache. OR I enjoyed the movie in spite of having a headache. Both […]

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Idiomatic expressions with prepositions

February 1, 2014

Verbs often combine with prepositions. These combinations are called phrasal verbs. There are numerous phrasal verbs in English and they cause a great deal of difficulty for ESL students. It is nearly impossible for a non-native speaker to learn all of these idiomatic expressions. Still, you must be familiar with the most important ones. Interestingly, […]

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Compare to and compare with

February 1, 2014

To show likeness, compare is usually used with to. Life is often compared to a dream. She likes to compare herself to her mother. My mother always compared me to my brother. To show differences, compare is usually used with ‘with’. We can’t compare dogs with cats. (There are far more differences between them than […]

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Prepositions: some problems areas

January 29, 2014

A preposition is word used to describe the relationship between other words in a sentence. Prepositions are almost always combined with other words. In grammars, these structures are called prepositional phrases. A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition followed by an article or another determiner and an adjective or two, followed by a pronoun or […]

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Difference between as and like

December 9, 2013

These two words are often confused. Use ‘like’ to state that someone is very similar to another. Like is a preposition and should be followed by a noun or pronoun. She is like her mother. (= They are very similar.) She plays the piano like her sister. As is used to describe the function of […]

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Prepositions before that-clauses

August 22, 2013

Prepositions cannot normally be followed by conjunctions. Of course, this is possible in a few cases, but prepositions are normally dropped before that-clauses. This usually happens after words referring to saying, writing, thinking etc. Compare: I knew about his illness. (Here the preposition about is followed by a noun.) I knew that he was ill. […]

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Prepositions before question words

August 22, 2013

Prepositions are dropped before common question words. This usually happens after common verbs like tell, ask, depend, sure, idea and look. This is especially common in indirect questions. Tell me about your plans. (Here we use the preposition about before the noun ‘your plans’.) Tell me what you intend to do. (More natural than ‘Tell […]

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Prepositions: some common mistakes

August 18, 2013

Prepositions are words used to describe a relationship between other words in a sentence. They are small words; still, they cause a great deal of confusion. In this lesson we will take a look at some of the most common mistakes in the use of prepositions. Since and for These prepositions are often confused. Since […]

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