Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tips on Using Prepositions in English

English is a wonderful language. It has words that can be used to describe practically any thing or any feeling. If you find that there are no words to describe your joy or sorrow, you can always say My joy at that time was beyond description. or Words failed to describe how sad I was when it happened.

The use of prepositions has always posed a problem to students. In the course of my work as a teacher, I have come across instances of wrong usage of prepositions in the essays submitted for marking. The following are examples related to errors in using prepositions:

1 putting a finite verb after a preposition.

Example 1

He resorted to use force on his victim when she refused to hand him the money.[use should be replaced with using]

Example 2

I look forward to receive your letter soon. [use receiving instead of receive to be correct]

2 using the same preposition with a particular verb

Example 1
We agreed with a date to hold a meeting. [with should be substituted with on]

Example 2

They agree with my suggestion to solve the problem. [on should replace with in this case]

3 Using a preposition after a verb that does not need it.

Example 1:

The team comprises of 14 players.[of is redundant here because comprises means consists of]

4 Using prepositions wrongly:

Example 1

I don't have the key of the room.

[The correct preposition to replace of is to.]

Example 2

These are the answers of the questions in the test. [The sentence is correct if of is replaced with to.]

Here is a good guide for you when using prepositions.

A preposition is used in front of:

a) a noun

e.g. She is fond of ice cream.[ice cream is a noun]

b) a pronoun

e.g. They are staring at him. [him is an personal pronoun]

c) an 'ing' verb

e.g. The firemen succeeded in putting out the fire. [putting is an ‘ing’ verb]

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