Prepositions

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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Using for

August 17, 2013

The word for can be used as a preposition and a conjunction. As a preposition, it is followed by a noun. Let’s buy some flowers for mummy. I waited for hours, but she didn’t come. As a conjunction, for is used to connect two clauses. A for-clause usually shows cause/reason. I asked him to turn […]

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Below, under and beneath

July 22, 2013

These words have very similar meanings and are often confused. Both below and under can be used to mean ‘in a lower position than something’. Although they are both possible in some cases, sometimes we use them in different circumstances. To talk about something being covered by something else, we use under. The cat was […]

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Prepositions used to introduce objects

May 1, 2013

Prepositions are sometimes used to introduce objects.  A few English verbs are normally followed by a direct object without a preposition. Common examples are: discuss, enter, reach, marry, resemble etc. However, many English verbs take a preposition before the object. Common verbs that are followed by at + object are: glance, look, laugh, smile, stare, […]

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