Three Common Errors When Using Prepositions
Using the wrong preposition
Omitting the preposition
Using an extra preposition
Four more things to remember about prepositions
The verb 'to' + preposition + adjective
This is a common construction in English.
Nouns that follow common prepositions
Common prepositions (at, in, on, out of, under, for, of) are often used in combination with nouns.
Verbs that have a predetermined preposition (or two)
Many of our approximately 4000 regular verbs and 200 irregular verbs can be used in combination with prepositions.
Other verbs are linked more closely to one or possibly two prepositions. Below is a short list of 10 verbs that have one (or 2) predetermined prepositions.
Do you know any more verbs like this?
Idiomatic verb forms - best to avoid in academic and formal writing
We do not always link verbs to just one specific preposition. In fact, some verbs, when used idiomatically, are linked to many different prepositions to give that verb a specific meaning.
The example below is the verb to get, which means to obtain or receive. Idiomatically, the verb takes on a great many meanings.
The exercise on this page gives you a chance to apply your knowledge of prepositions to various examples.
- It is very difficult to memorise where and when to use individual prepositions. A better strategy is to try to learn which prepositions are used with certain combinations of verbs, nouns and adjectives.
- In your academic writing, you have an opportunity to focus on the verbs and prepositions that your discipline uses and to become proficient in their use. These patterns will be consistent throughout the specialised literature of your discipline and so, it is best to learn these patterns.
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