Mistakes in the use of prepositions

In this lesson we will take a look at some of the most common mistakes in the use of prepositions.

  • Incorrect: The ball rolled slowly in the goal.
  • Correct: The ball rolled slowly into the goal.
  • Incorrect: She ran in the room crying.
  • Correct: She ran into the room crying.

The prepositions in and on are used to show position. To say where things are going, we use into and onto.

  • Incorrect: The train will arrive within five minutes.
  • Correct: The train will arrive in five minutes.

We use in to say how soon something will happen. Within means ‘inside’ or ‘not beyond’.

  • Incorrect: If you don’t live by your income, you will incur huge debts.
  • Correct: If you don’t live within your income, you will incur huge debts.
  • Incorrect: The ball went to the window ad fell on the ground.
  • Correct: The ball went through the window and fell on the ground.

Through is used for movement in a three dimensional space.

  • Incorrect: He wrote the book in a month’s time.
  • Correct: He wrote the book in a month.

The expressions in a week’s / month’s time is used to say how something will happen. It is not used to say how long something takes.

  • Incorrect: We usually go and see Granny on Sunday.
  • Correct: We usually go and see Granny on Sundays.
  • Incorrect: I don’t care for your opinion.
  • Correct: I don’t care about your opinion.

Care for means ‘like’ or ‘be fond of’. If you care about something, you feel that it is important or interesting.