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Prepositions – Grammar Lesson


The words atinofon and to are examples of prepositions. A word such as a noun, pronoun or gerund following a preposition is said to be the object of the preposition. As pointed out previously, a personal pronoun following a preposition must be in the objective case.

A phrase beginning with a preposition can be referred to as a prepositional phrase. The prepositional phrases in the following examples are underlined.
e.g. He owns the house on the corner.
We are waiting for her.
She has read many books about flying.

In the first example, the noun corner is the object of the preposition on. In the second example, the personal pronoun her is the object of the preposition for. It can be seen that the personal pronoun her is in the objective case. In the third example, the gerund flying is the object of the preposition about.

A preposition serves to connect its object with the rest of a sentence. In doing so, a preposition indicates the relationship of the idea expressed in the prepositional phrase to the ideas expressed In the rest of the sentence.

For instance in the sentence He owns the house on the corner, the preposition on indicates that the words the corner express the location of the house referred to in the rest of the sentence. Similarly, in the sentence We are waiting for her, the preposition for indicates that the word her expresses the reason for the action of waiting referred to in the rest of the sentence.

Although there are fewer than one hundred English prepositions, although prepositions do not take endings, and although the structure of most prepositional phrases is simple, the use of English prepositions is very complex. The reasons for this are that most prepositions have more than one meaning, many prepositions can also be used as adverbs, prepositions are used in hundreds of idioms, many adjectives, nouns, and verbs must usually be followed by certain prepositions, and there are hundreds of phrasal verbs formed from combinations of verbs with adverbs and prepositions.

It should also be noted that the use of prepositions varies somewhat among the different dialects of English. For instance, as illustrated in the following example, there are some differences between British and North American English in the use of prepositions.
e.g. British Usage: There is a fence about the garden.
American Usage: There is a fence around the garden.

The discussion below emphasizes the North American usage of English prepositions.

1. The meanings of prepositions

The table below gives the most usual meanings of English prepositions. Each meaning is illustrated by an example.


  1. On the subject of:  This is a story about elephants.
  2. Approximately:  He is about ten years old.


  1. Higher than; over:  The plane flew above the clouds.
  2. Earlier on a page:  There is a heading above each diagram.


  1. From one side to the other:  We walked across the field.
  2. On the other side of:  There is a store across the street.


  1. Later in time:  after ten o’clock; after lunch
  2. Later in a series:  Q comes after P in the alphabet.
  3. In pursuit of:  The dog ran after the cat.


  1. In opposition to:  Theft is against the law.
  2. Touching; supported by:  I leaned my bicycle against the wall.


  1. Following the length of:  We walked along the road.


  1. Within a group:  The money was shared among three people.

Note: In formal English, among is usually used only when referring to more than two persons or things. In contrast, between is used when referring to two persons or things.


  1. Circling something:  We walked around the block.
  2. Surrounding:  There is a fence around the garden.
  3. In different parts of:  I looked around the house for the keys.
  4. In the other direction:  We turned around and went back home.
  5. Approximately:  He is around six feet tall.


  1. A specific location:  at 23 Chestnut Street; at the park
  2. A point in time:  at 5 o’clock; at Christmas
  3. A condition:  at peace; at war; at rest
  4. An activity:  at work; at school; at play
  5. Towards:  Look at someone; wave at someone

Note: When referring to a specific location or to a point in time, at is usually used. When referring to a certain street or a certain day, on is usually used. When referring to a location as an area, or when referring to a unit of time longer than a day, in is usually used.
e.g. at Christmas; on Christmas day; in the Christmas holidays


  1. Earlier in time:  before two o’clock; before Christmas
  2. Earlier in a series:  S comes before T in the alphabet.


  1. At the back of:  The little girl hid behind her mother.
  2. Late:  I am behind in my work.
  3. Cause; origin:  Who was behind that idea?


  1. Lower than; under:  below freezing; below sea level
  2. Later on a page:  Footnotes are provided below the text.


  1. Lower than; below:  beneath the earth


  1. Next to; at the side of:  I sit beside her in class.


  1. Also; as well as:  We study other languages besides English.

Note the differing meanings of beside and besidesBeside is usually used with reference to a physical location.


  1. An intermediate location:  Toronto lies between Montreal and Vancouver.
  2. An intermediate time:  between Christmas and New Year’s Day
  3. Intermediate in a series:  B comes between A and C in the alphabet.
  4. An intermediate amount:  between five and ten people
  5. Within a group of two:  The money was shared between two people.


  1. Farther than:  The mountains lie beyond the horizon.
  2. Further than; exceeding:  That was beyond my expectations.


  1. Except:  I have read all but the last chapter.

Note: But is used more often as a conjunction than as a preposition.


  1. Near:  a house by the sea
  2. Past:  He waved as he drove by the house.
  3. Not later than:  Try to finish the work by next week.
  4. In units of:  cheaper by the dozen; sold by weight
  5. Through the means of:  travel by plane; written by him

Note: By is often used in combination with verbs in the Passive Voice.


  1. Connected with; about:  He studies everything concerning trees.


  1. In spite of:  We walked downtown despite the rain.


  1. To a lower position:  The ball rolled down the hill.
  2. Further along:  He lives down the street.


  1. Throughout a period:  She works during the day.
  2. Sometime within a period:  An accident occurred during the night.


  1. Not including:  I have visited everyone except him.


  1. Duration of time:  We walked for two hours.
  2. Distance:  I walked for five kilometers.
  3. Purpose:  I bought this jacket for you.
  4. In the direction of:  She left for New York.
  5. In favor of:  We are for the proposal.
  6. Considering:  The boy is clever for his age.


  1. Place of origin:  We left from Boston; he comes from Mexico
  2. Start of a period of time:  from now on; from yesterday until today
  3. Start of a range:  From 20 to 30 people were present.
  4. Cause:  He suffers from nervousness.
  5. Source:  I first heard the story from you.


  1. Place thought of as an area:  in London; in Europe
  2. Within a location:  in the room; in the building
  3. Large units of time:  That happened in March, in 1992.
  4. Within a certain time:  I will return in an hour.
  5. By means of:  write in pencil; speak in English
  6. Condition:  in doubt; in a hurry; in secret
  7. A member of:  He is in the orchestra; in the navy
  8. Wearing:  the boy in the blue shirt
  9. With reference to:  lacking in ideas; rich in oil


  1. Within:  They are inside the house.


  1. To the inside of:  We stepped into the room.
  2. Change of condition:  The boy changed into a man.


  1. Resembling:  That looks like him.
  2. Appearing possible:  It looks like rain.
  3. Be in a suitable mood for:  I feel like going swimming.


  1. Less:  Three minus two equals one.


  1. Close to:  near the school; near the ocean


  1. Location:  east of here; the middle of the road
  2. Possession:  a friend of mine; the sound of music
  3. Part of a group:  one of us; a member of the team
  4. Measurement:  a cup of milk; two meters of snow


  1. Not on; away from:  Please keep off the grass.
  2. At some distance from:  There are islands off the coast.


  1. Touching the surface of:  on the table; on the wall
  2. A certain day:  That happened on Sunday, on the 6th of June.
  3. A certain street:  on South Street
  4. About:  a book on engineering
  5. A state or condition:  on strike; on fire; on holiday
  6. By means of:  live on a pension; shown on television


  1. To a position on:  The child climbed onto the table.


  1. Facing:  The library is opposite the fire station.

Out of

  1. To the outside of:  She went out of the room.
  2. From among:  We won two games out of three.
  3. Motive:  We spoke to them out of politeness.
  4. Material:  The bridge is made out of steel.
  5. Beyond:  out of control; out of danger


  1. On the outer side of:  outside the house
  2. Beyond the limits of:  outside my experience


  1. Above; higher than:  There are cupboards over the sink.
  2. Covering:  We spread an extra blanket over the bed.
  3. Across:  I jumped over a puddle.
  4. More than:  It cost over ten dollars; it took over an hour
  5. During:  I saw him several times over the past week.
  6. By means of:  We made plans over the telephone.


  1. Up to and beyond:  I walked past the house.
  2. After (in time):  It was past 2 o’clock; half past two
  3. Beyond:  past belief


  1. For each:  60 kilometers per hour; price per liter


  1. With the addition of:  Six plus four equals ten.


  1. From a specific time in the past:  I had been waiting since two o’clock.
  2. From a past time until now:  I have been waiting here since noon.

Note: Because of its meaning, the preposition since is usually used in combination with a perfect tense. It should be noted that the preposition for can also be used with a perfect tense. However, when used with reference to time, for is usually followed by a phrase referring to a period of time; whereas since is usually followed by a phrase referring to a specific time.
e.g. I have known him for six months.
I have known him since January.
In the first example, for is followed by six months, which refers to a period of time. In the second example, since is followed by January, which refers to a specific time.


  1. Across; from end to end of:  the main road through town
  2. For the whole of a period:  I slept through the night.
  3. By means of:  Skill improves through practice.


  1. In every part of:  throughout the world
  2. For the whole of a period:  throughout the winter


Note: Till can be used instead of until. However, at the beginning of a sentence, until is usually used.


  1. In the direction of:  Turn to the right.
  2. Destination:  I am going to Rome.
  3. Until:  from Monday to Friday; five minutes to ten
  4. Compared with:  They prefer hockey to soccer.
  5. With indirect object:  Please give it to me.
  6. As part of infinitive:  I like to ski; he wants to help.
  7. In order to:  We went to the store to buy soap.

Toward (or Towards)

  1. In the direction of:  We walked toward the center of town.
  2. Near; just before (time):  It rained towards evening.


  1. Beneath:  under the desk; under the trees
  2. Less than:  Under 100 people were present.
  3. In circumstances of:  under repair; under way; under discussion


  1. Below, under:  underneath the carpet


  1. Up to a certain time:  She will stay until Friday; until 5 p.m.


Note: On and upon have similar meanings. Upon may be used in certain expressions, as in once upon a time, and following certain verbs, as in to rely upon someone.


  1. To a higher place:  We went up the stairs.
  2. In a higher place:  She lives up the hill.

Up to

  1. As far as:  up to now; I have read up to page 100.
  2. Depending on:  The decision is up to you.
  3. As good as; ready for:  His work is up to standard.


  1. Against (sports, legal):  The next game is England versus Australia.


  1. By way of:  He went to Los Angeles via San Francisco.


  1. Accompanying:  He came with her; I have my keys with me.
  2. Having; containing:  Here is a book with a map of the island.
  3. By means of; using:  I repaired the shoes with glue.
  4. Manner:  with pleasure; with ease; with difficulty
  5. Because of:  We were paralyzed with fear.


  1. Inside of:  within twenty minutes; within one kilometer


  1. Not having:  Do not leave without your coat; without money

See Exercises 1 and 2.

2. Prepositions used in idioms

Below are examples of idioms consisting of prepositional phrases. The following selection of idioms emphasizes those used in North American English. The meaning of each idiom is indicated after the colon.


not at all:  not in any way
at all times:  always
at any rate:  whatever happens
keep someone at arm’s length:  avoid becoming closely involved with someone
at close quarters:  very near
at one’s disposal:  to be used as one wishes
at a distance:  not near
at fault:  causing something wrong
at first:  at the beginning
see at a glance:  see immediately
at hand:  near; readily available
at last:  finally, after some delay
at a loss:  uncertain what to do or say
at the mercy of:  without defense against
at the moment:  now
at once:  immediately
at present:  now
at rest:  not moving
at risk:  threatened by danger or loss
at short notice:  with little warning
at stake:  to be won or lost
at a stretch:  continuously
at that rate:  under those circumstances
at this point:  at this place; at this moment
at the wheel: in control


behind the scenes:  (of persons) influencing events secretly; (in a theater) behind the stage
behind schedule: not on time


be beside oneself:  lose one’s self-control
beside the point: irrelevant


read between the lines: deduce a meaning that is not actually expressed


beyond help:  unable to be helped
beyond a joke:  too annoying to be amusing
beyond reproach: perfect; blameless


by accident:  not deliberately
by all means:  by any possible method
bit by bit:  gradually
by chance:  by accident; without planning
by courtesy of:  with the help or permission of
win by default:  win because of lack of competition
by degrees:  gradually
perform by ear:  perform (music) by listening to the sound, without referring to written music
by hand:  without the use of machinery
by heart:  from memory
little by little:  gradually
by means of:  by using
by mistake:  accidentally
by no means:  not at all
one by one:  one at a time
by oneself:  alone
side by side:  beside one another
by the way:  incidentally (used to introduce an unrelated topic of conversation)
by word of mouth: orally


once and for all:  for the last time (e.g. used when giving someone a final warning)
for certain:  definitely; without doubt
for a change:  for the sake of variety
for example:  as an illustration
for fun:  for the sake of enjoyment
for good:  permanently
for good measure:  in addition to the necessary amount
for instance:  for example; as an illustration
for keeps:  (colloquial) permanently
for a living:  as a profession
for now:  temporarily
run for office:  compete for an elected position
for one thing:  because of one reason (out of several)
for the sake of:  for the benefit of; for the purpose of
for sale:  intended to be sold
for sure:  definitely (more colloquial than for certain)
food for thought:  something which makes one think
play for time:  delay doing something in the hope that the situation will improve
for the time being:  until some other arrangement is made
ask for trouble:  act in a dangerous or foolish way
for a while:  for a period of time
word for word: exactly as said or written


from afar:  from a distance
from all sides:  from all directions
from head to foot:  (of a person) completely; all over
from scratch:  from the beginning
from time to time: occasionally


in addition to:  as well as
in advance:  before
be in agreement with:  have the same opinion as
in any case:  whatever happens
in brief:  in a few words
in bulk:  (of goods) in large amounts; not in packages
be in charge of:  have responsibility for
in common:  shared by all members of a group
in control:  having the power to direct something
in the course of:  during
in danger:  likely to be harmed
in a daze:  unable to think clearly; confused
in debt:  owing money
in demand:  (of goods or persons) desired by many people
in depth:  (investigate something) thoroughly
in detail:  (explain something) thoroughly
in disgrace:  regarded with disapproval because of having done something wrong
in the distance:  far away
in doubt:  uncertain
in duplicate:  so that there are two identical copies (of a document)
in earnest:  seriously; in a determined way
in effect:  (of rules) operating
in the end:  finally
in fact:  in reality; really
in fashion:  fashionable; accepted as being the most desirable and up to date
in favor of:  supporting (an idea)
in flames:  burning, with visible flames
in a flash:  very quickly; suddenly
in full:  without omitting anything
in general:  usually; as a whole
hand in hand:  (of persons) holding hands; (of related situations) occurring together
in a hurry:  trying to accomplish something quickly
in jest:  as a joke
in kind:  (payment) in goods rather than in money
in itself:  without reference to anything else
in league with:  (of persons) joined together with (usually for a dishonest purpose)
be in the limelight:  be the focus of attention; receive great publicity
in the long run:  in the end; eventually
in the long term:  looking ahead to the distant future
leave someone in the lurch:  abandon someone who is in a difficult situation
be in the minority:  be in the smaller of two groups
in mint condition:  (of manufactured goods) perfect; brand-new
in a minute:  soon
in a moment:  soon; quickly
set something in motion:  start something going
nip something in the bud:  put an end to something before it gets properly started
in no time:  very soon; very quickly
in order of:  arranged according to
in order to:  for the purpose of
in part:  to some degree
in particular:  especially
in power:  (of a political party) holding office
in practice:  able to do something well because of recent practice; in reality (opposite of in theory)
in print:  (of a book) printed and available from the publisher
in private:  not in front of other people
in public:  openly; not in private
in reality:  really
in reserve:  saved for later use
in retrospect:  looking back over past events
in return for:  as repayment for
be in the right:  be correct
in season:  (of fruit or vegetables) readily available at that time of year
in a second:  soon; quickly
in short supply:  scarce; not easily obtainable
in sight:  able to be seen
in stock:  (of goods at a store) present and available
in that case:  if that is true
in theory:  ideally; according to theoretical considerations
be in time:  not be late
in touch with in:  communication with; informed about
in triplicate:  so that there are three identical copies (of a document)
be in trouble:  be in a difficult situation; be blamed or punished for doing something wrong
in tune:  at the correct pitch
act in unison:  act together
in vain:  without success
in the vicinity of:  near
once in a while:  occasionally
in words of one syllable:  (explain something) clearly and simply
in working order:  able to function properly
in the wrong: responsible for an error; guilty


inside out: with the inner side out; thoroughly


paint oneself into a corner:  take a course of action which greatly narrows one’s future choices of action
go into hiding:  hide oneself
get into a rut:  get into a fixed and uninteresting way of life
get into trouble: get into a difficult situation; do something deserving blame or punishment


of course:  certainly; as one would expect; as everyone knows
hard of hearing:  somewhat deaf
next of kin:  nearest relative or relatives
of one’s own accord:  voluntarily; on one’s own initiative
of one’s own free will:  voluntarily; by choice
one’s point of view:  one’s opinion about something
right of way:  public right to use a path or road; (of road traffic) right to proceed before others
rule of thumb: a simple way to calculate what procedure to follow, based on extensive experience, rather than on theoretical considerations


go off the air:  (of radio or television) stop broadcasting
off duty:  not engaged in one’s regular work
off one’s hands:  no longer one’s responsibility
off and on:  from time to time
off the record:  say something privately, that is not to be officially recorded
off the track: following a wrong line of thought or action


on account of:  because of
be on the air:  (of radio or television) be in the process of broadcasting
on the alert:  ready to act
be on all fours:  (of a person) be on hands and knees
on the average:  usually; normally
on behalf of:  for; in the interests of
on board:  on a ship or airplane
on business:  as part of one’s work
on condition that:  only if; provided that
on demand:  when asked for
on display:  being exhibited
on duty:  engaged in one’s regular work
on fire:  burning
to go on foot:  to walk
be on one’s guard:  be alert and ready to meet an attack
on hand:  available
on loan:  lent and not yet returned
shoot on location:  (of a movie) film in natural surroundings, not in a studio
on the lookout:  watchful
put something on the map:  cause something to become well-known
get on one’s nerves:  annoy; irritate
on no account:  absolutely not
on the one hand:  (used to introduce one side of an argument)
on one’s own:  alone; without help
act on one’s own initiative:  act independently, without orders from anyone else
on order:  requested but not yet delivered
on the other hand:  (used to introduce a contrasting side of an argument)
act on principle:  do something to support a policy
on purpose:  deliberately
go on record:  say something which is to be officially recorded
on sale:  being sold at a lower price than usual
on schedule:  at the correct time; as planned or predicted
on second thoughts:  after thinking further about something
on a shoestring:  with a very small amount of money
be on the spot:  be where important events are taking place; be placed in an awkward situation
on the spur of the moment:  on a sudden impulse
go off on a tangent:  change suddenly to a new line of thought or action
on time:  at the correct time
walk on tiptoe:  walk on the toes and balls of the feet
accept something on trust:  accept something without proof
on the verge of:  very close to; about to
on the whole: taking everything into consideration

Out of

out of the blue:  unexpectedly
out of breath:  (after running) panting from a shortage of oxygen
out of character:  unlike a person’s known character
out of control:  not able to be regulated or guided
out of danger:  safe
out of date:  no longer used; old-fashioned; (of news) no longer true
out of debt:  having paid one’s debts
be out of one’s depth:  be unable to handle a situation because of lack of experience
out of doors:  in the open air; not in a building
out of fashion:  not fashionable; not presently in common use
out of hand:  not under control
out of harm’s way:  safe
out of line with:  in disagreement with
be out of one’s mind:  be insane
out of order:  not functioning properly; (at a formal meeting) not behaving according to the rules
out of the ordinary:  unusual
out of place:  unsuitable
out of practice:  unable to do something as well as one has in past, because of lack of recent practice
out of print:  (of a book) no longer available from the publisher
out of proportion:  too big or too small; not having the appropriate relationship to something
out of the question:  impossible; not to be considered
out of season:  (of fruit or vegetables) not readily available at that time of year
out of shape:  (of persons) not in top condition because of lack of exercise
out of sight:  hidden, not able to be seen
out of stock:  (of goods at a store) temporarily unavailable
out of style:  not fashionable
out of touch:  with not in communication with; not informed about
out of town:  having temporarily left town
out of trouble:  not in trouble
out of tune:  not at the correct pitch
out of work: no longer having employment


to all intents and purposes:  in all important ways
to a certain extent:  partly
to date:  so far; until now
up to date:  current; modern
see eye to eye with:  agree entirely with
take something to heart:  be much affected by something
made to measure:  exactly suitable; (of clothes) made for a certain person
keep something to oneself:  not tell anyone
to the point: relevant


under age:  below the age of being legally permitted to do something
be under arrest:  be held prisoner and charged with wrongdoing
under the auspices of:  with the patronage of; supported by
under one’s breath:  in a whisper
under the circumstances:  because this is true
under consideration:  being thought about
under control:  able to be regulated or guided
under cover of:  protected by; undetected because of
under fire:  being shot at; being criticized
under the impression that:  having the idea that
be under the influence of:  be affected by
be under oath:  have sworn to tell the truth
under observation:  being watched carefully
under restraint: prevented from doing something


have something up one’s sleeve: have a secret idea or plan in reserve


with impunity:  without risk of injury or punishment
with the naked eye:  without using a magnifying lens
with no strings attached:  (of help given) with no conditions; to be used freely
take with a pinch of salt:  not believe completely
with regard to:  concerning; about
with respect to:  concerning; about
tarred with the same brush:  having the same faults
with a vengeance: very much; more than usual


within limits:  to a certain extent; not too much
within living memory: within the memory of people now alive


go without saying:  be obvious

See Exercises 3 and 4.

3. Nouns followed by prepositions

The following are examples of nouns which are usually followed by certain prepositions. In the case of phrases which are idioms, the meanings of the phrases are indicated in brackets.


  take precautions against


  have affection for   make allowances for
  have compassion for   an excuse for
  a reason for   have a reputation for
  have respect for   have sympathy for
  have a talent for   lie in wait for (ambush)
  pave the way for (prepare for)


  absence from


  have confidence in   have faith in
  have an interest in   take part in
  make progress in


  have insight into


  have an abhorrence of   an acknowledgement of
  take advantage of   take care of
  take command of   evidence of
  an example of   an excess of
  make a fool of   make fun of (ridicule)
  have an impression of   a lack of
  neglect of   a number of
  a pair of   be part of
  a possibility of   make a practice of (do often)
  a proof of   a quantity of
  recognition of   a recollection of
  a result of   run the risk of (risk)
  catch sight of (see suddenly)   a sign of
  a survey of   a symbol of
  a symptom of   a token of
  make use of   a way of
  wash one’s hands of (stop caring
    about and dealing with)


  an attack on   dependence on
  make an impression on   play a joke on
  shed light on (explain)   have pity on


  have access to   pay attention to
  an objection to   a reply to
  a response to   lay siege to (besiege)
  shut one’s eyes to (deliberately
    ignore a problem)

Toward or Towards

  animosity toward(s)   an attitude toward(s)


  have a connection with   find fault with (criticize)
  fall in love with   change places with

See Exercise 5.

4. Adjectives and verbs in the passive voice followed by prepositions

In some cases different prepositions can be used without causing a change in meaning. For instance, the following examples both have the same meaning.
e.g. I was angry at them.
I was angry with them.

However, in many cases, the use of different prepositions causes a change in meaning. For instance, the past participle protected is typically followed by the preposition from. However, like many other past participles, protected may also be followed by the preposition by, where by serves to introduce the performer of the action expressed by the past participle.
e.g. The city is protected from the soldiers.
The city is protected by the soldiers.
The first example indicates that the soldiers are a threat to the city; whereas the second example indicates that the soldiers are protecting the city.

The following are examples of predicate adjectives and past participles of verbs in the Passive Voice which are usually followed by certain prepositions. In addition, it should be kept in mind that most verbs in the Passive Voice can be followed by a phrase beginning with the preposition by.


  anxious about   concerned about
  curious about   depressed about
  doubtful about   enthusiastic about
  excited about   happy about
  pleased about   wrong about
  worried about


  adept at   alarmed at
  amazed at   overjoyed at
  shocked at   surprised at


  torn between


  accompanied by   caused by
  guided by   manufactured by
  obsessed by   written by


  blamed for   eligible for
  famous for   fit for
  known for   late for
  noted for   praised for
  punished for   qualified for
  ready for   responsible for
  ripe for   sorry for
  suitable for


  absent from   apart from
  derived from   descended from
  detached from   different from
  distinct from   exempt from
  far from   isolated from
  omitted from   protected from
  removed from   safe from
  separated from


  absorbed in   disappointed in
  engaged in   immersed in
  interested in   involved in


  accused of   afraid of
  ashamed of   aware of
  capable of   certain of
  composed of   conscious of
  convinced of   deprived of
  devoid of   fond of
  ignorant of   independent of
  jealous of   proud of
  regardless of   reminded of
  sure of   suspicious of
  suspected of   terrified of
  tired of   worthy of


  based on   dependent on
  intent on


  acceptable to   accessible to
  accustomed to   adapted to
  addicted to   adjacent to
  attached to   attributable to
  close to   committed to
  comparable to   dedicated to
  detrimental to   devoted to
  due to   equal to
  equivalent to   essential to
  exposed to   faithful to
  favorable to   foreign to
  impervious to   indifferent to
  indispensable to   inferior to
  kind to   loyal to
  next to   obedient to
  obliged to   oblivious to
  opposed to   parallel to
  partial to   peculiar to
  preferable to   prior to
  proportional to   reconciled to
  reduced to   related to
  relative to   relevant to
  resigned to   resistant to
  restricted to   senior to
  sensitive to   similar to
  subject to   subordinate to
  suited to   superior to
  susceptible to   tied to

Toward or Towards

  protective toward(s)


  acquainted with   affiliated with
  associated with   besieged with
  compared with   compatible with
  confronted with   consistent with
  covered with   cursed with
  exasperated with   familiar with
  finished with   identified with
  infatuated with   patient with
  pleased with   satisfied with
  synonymous with   threatened with

See Exercise 6.

5. Verbs followed by prepositions

The following are examples of verbs which are often followed by certain prepositions.


  care about   complain about
  forget about   lie about (tell a lie)
  reminisce about   talk about
  think about   wonder about
  worry about


  discriminate against   protest against
  react against   rebel against
  turn against


  aim at   bark at
  connive at   frown at
  gaze at   glare at
  growl at   hint at
  look at   point at
  shoot at   smile at
  snap at   sneer at
  stare at   wave at
  wink at


  apply for   apologize for
  beg for   blame for
  budget for   hope for
  long for   look for
  mourn for   pay for
  plead for   pose for
  pray for   prepare for
  press for   register for
  search for   shop for
  substitute for   vouch for
  wait for   wish for


  abstain from   benefit from
  deduct from   derive from
  desist from   deter from
  detract from   deviate from
  differ from   divert from
  escape from   extricate from
  flee from   infer from
  profit from   protect from
  quote from   radiate from
  recoil from   recover from
  refrain from   shrink from
  stem from   suffer from


  believe in   engage in
  indulge in   intervene in
  invest in   participate in
  persist in   succeed in


  change into   convert into
  delve into   dip into
  develop into   divide into
  fall into   merge into
  plunge into   pry into
  sink into   transform into


  approve of   beware of
  conceive of   consist of
  deprive of   die of
  disapprove of   smell of


  blame on   concentrate on
  depend on   impinge on
  impose on   insist on
  intrude on   pounce on
  reflect on   rely on
  report on   spy on
  subsist on   thrive on


  preside over   trip over


  adapt to   adhere to
  adjust to   amount to
  belong to   conform to
  contribute to   correspond to
  listen to   object to
  pertain to   prefer to
  refer to   relate to
  respond to   resort to
  revert to   submit to
  subscribe to   succumb to
  surrender to   yield to


  agree with   associate with
  collaborate with   combine with
  communicate with   comply with
  concur with   consort with
  contend with   cooperate with
  cope with   correspond with
  flirt with   mingle with
  share with   sympathize with

See Exercise 7.

EXERCISES for Chapter 26

  1. Paying attention to the meanings of the prepositions, fill in the blanks with the most appropriate prepositions chosen from those given in brackets. For example:
    She made a speech _____ the future of the school. (about, around)
    She made a speech about the future of the school.

D comes _______ C and E in the alphabet. (between, beyond)
D comes between C and E in the alphabet.

  1. This train travels from London ______ Paris. (at, to)
  2. We stood at the back ______ the theater. (of, on)
  3. She went to Rome __________ France. (versus, via)
  4. The store is open daily ________ Monday to Friday. (for, from)
  5. I took my hat ________ the table. (of, off)
  6. He looks ________ his brother. (despite, like)
  7. The children ran ________ the school. (of, out of)
  8. He opened the box ________ a screwdriver. (at, with)
  9. I will work _________ five o’clock. (until, up)
  10. We walked __________ the restaurant. (despite, past)
  11. At three o’clock we reached the top _______ the hill. (of, off)
  12. You have delivered all of the papers __________ this one. (between, but)
  13. The bank is _________ the school. (opposite, out of)
  14. __________ the danger, he decided to climb the mountain. (despite, except)
  15. The treasure was hidden __________ the earth. (under, up to)
    16. A comes __________ B in the alphabet. (before, behind)
  16. I went to work ____________ my umbrella. (out of, without)
  17. When it is heated, water changes _________ steam. (in, into)
  18. Nocturnal animals usually sleep __________ the day. (during, underneath)
  19. The squirrel ran _________ the wall. (along, among)

  20. Paying attention to the uses of the prepositions amongatbesidebesidesbetweenforinon and since, fill in the blanks with the correct prepositions chosen from those given in brackets. For example:
    They live __ 359 Southdale Avenue. (at, on)
    They live at 359 Southdale Avenue.

The meeting will take place __ Tuesday. (at, on)
The meeting will take place on Tuesday.

We have been traveling ___ several days. (for, since)
We have been traveling for several days.

She has been working _____ six o’clock this morning. (for, since)
She has been working since six o’clock this morning.

  1. He lives ______ 19 Tower Road. (at, on)
  2. We will be gone ________ two days. (for, since)
  3. Tom and his friend will divide the money ___________ themselves. (among, between)
  4. They will be returning ______ November. (in, on)
  5. I have known him ________ three years. (for, since)
  6. Many foods ____________ milk contain calcium. (beside, besides)
  7. I will arrive ______ six o’clock. (at, in)
  8. He has been gone __________ Friday. (for, since)
  9. The store is located ______ North Street. (at, on)
  10. She is leaving ______ five minutes. (at, in)
  11. Bridget, Leslie and Sarah will discuss the matter _________ themselves. (among, between)
  12. I have known her __________ last year. (for, since)
  13. We expect them ______ Wednesday. (in, on)
  14. The cat was sitting ___________ the stove. (beside, besides)
  15. The play begins ______ seven thirty. (at, on)
  16. We waited __________ fifteen minutes. (for, since)
  17. Columbus crossed the Atlantic ______ 1492. (at, in)
  18. There are many possibilities __________ the ones I have mentioned. (beside, besides)
  19. She will call us ______ half an hour. (at, in)
  20. His birthday is ______ the 8th of January. (in, on)
  21. Fill in the blanks with the missing prepositions. For example:
    She wants to leave __ once.
    She wants to leave at once.

I brought the wrong book __ mistake.
I brought the wrong book by mistake.

  1. Since the restaurant is usually crowded, it is advisable to make reservations _________ advance.
  2. Because we have no car, we go everywhere ________ foot.
  3. I was __________ breath after running up the long flight of stairs.
  4. We walked out of the room ________ tiptoe, so as not to disturb the sleeping baby.
  5. Inside your passport, you should write the name of your next ______ kin.
  6. We made out the report ________ triplicate.
  7. Citrus fruits, _________ example oranges and lemons, require a long growing season.
  8. The movie seemed to go on forever, but _______ last it was over.
  9. She is so busy, she always seems to be _______ a hurry.
  10. Many people believe birds are incapable of reasoning, but ______ fact, some birds are quite intelligent.
  11. Since he is not very trustworthy, I advise you to take what he says ________ a pinch of salt.
  12. I went to the library, but the book I wanted was out _______ loan.
  13. To save money, we usually buy flour and rice _______ bulk.
  14. Since he could offer us no proof, we had to take his story ______ trust.
  15. She knows hundreds of poems _______ heart.
  16. Since we cannot find a place to live, ________ the time being, we are staying at a cheap hotel.
  17. Little _______ little, the clouds dispersed and the sun became brighter.
  18. Because of its importance, we studied the report ______ detail.
  19. All of the clothes sold in this store were made _______ hand.
  20. At an intersection, pedestrians usually have the right _______ way.
  21. For each underlined word or phrase, substitute an idiom containing the preposition indicated in brackets. For example:
    She came punctually. (on)
    She came on time.

His remarks were brief and relevant. (to)
His remarks were brief and to the point.

1. Incidentally, I heard that there is a sale at the bookstore. (by)
2. What do you do as a profession? (for)
3. The boy left his books at school deliberately. (on)
4. There is a great deal to be won or lost. (at)
5. Before long, the ship had cast off and was moving. (under)
6. The violin strings are not at the correct pitch. (out of)
7. Her paintings are being exhibited at the library. (on)
8. The university operates with a very small amount of money. (on)
9. Occasionally we have a picnic by the river. (in)
10. There are no job openings in the company now. (at)
11. We have a large variety of produce available. (on)
12. I want to speak to you not in front of other people. (in)
13. Under those circumstances, we should proceed cautiously. (at)
14. Gradually, we began to unravel the mystery. (by)
15. At the beginning, it was not obvious what to do. (at)
16. When looking back over past events, we can see that important changes have taken place. (in)
17. The two friends sat beside one another. (by)
18. I could see immediately that something was wrong. (at)
19. I see her occasionally. (from)
20. Does the store have any paint brushes available? (in)

  1. Paying attention to the nouns which are usually followed by certain prepositions, fill in the blanks with the correct prepositions chosen from the pairs given in brackets. For example:
    Do you have any objection ___ my plan? (on, to)
    Do you have any objection to my plan?

She has a good attitude ______ her job. (of, toward)
She has a good attitude toward her job.

  1. We played a joke ______ him. (of, on)
  2. Who else has access ______ the computer files? (of, to)
  3. I have no recollection ______ the event. (of, on)
  4. Missing the bus is no excuse _______ being late. (for, of)
  5. I have confidence _______ his ability. (for, in)
  6. That is only one example ______ what I mean. (in, of)
  7. Pay close attention _______ the traffic signals. (for, to)
  8. She takes an active interest ______ community events. (in, of)
  9. Do you have any proof ______ that? (of, to)
  10. You should make allowances _______ their lack of experience. (for, on)
  11. There is a lack _______ information on this subject. (for, of)
  12. The report should shed some light _______ the situation. (for, on)
  13. He has a talent _______ putting people at ease. (for, with)
  14. I received no reply _____ my letter. (on, to)
  15. We soon took command _______ the situation. (of, with)
  16. They are constantly finding fault _______ other people. (of, with)
  17. I have faith ______ their good intentions. (in, to)
  18. She has a reputation _______ having the ability to deal with any situation. (for, of)
  19. People often make fun ______ what they do not understand. (of, to)
  20. We will take a survey ______ the participants. (of, on)
  21. Paying attention to the adjectives which are usually followed by certain prepositions, fill in the blanks with the correct prepositions chosen from the pairs given in brackets. For example:
    We were curious _____ what they were doing. (about, for)
    We were curious about what they were doing. (about, for)

The design of most computers is based __ binary arithmetic. (for, on)
The design of most computers is based on binary arithmetic.

  1. We are ready _______ anything. (for, to)
  2. I was anxious ________ her. (about, to)
  3. Photographic film is sensitive ______ light. (of, to)
  4. Seals are adapted ______ life in the water. (at, to)
  5. He is descended ________ Mary, Queen of Scots. (from, of)
  6. Cotton is more resistant _______ fire than nylon is. (for, to)
  7. After the show, the radio station was besieged ________ telephone calls. (from, with)
  8. She was praised _______ her achievements. (for, to)
  9. The public library is accessible ________ everyone. (to, with)
  10. Are you familiar ________ the procedures? (for, with)
  11. They were overjoyed ______ the news. (at, to)
  12. We are proud _______ our accomplishments. (for, of)
  13. I was pleased ________ the results. (of, with)
  14. Are you aware ________ the risks involved? (of, with)
  15. Lack of exercise can be detrimental ______ one’s health. (of, to)
  16. We are satisfied ________ the arrangement. (for, with)
  17. She is interested _______ animals. (for, in)
  18. He is well qualified _______ the job. (for, to)
  19. Young children are often suspicious ______ strangers. (of, to)
  20. A knowledge of mathematics is essential ________ an engineer. (to, with)
  21. Paying attention to the verbs which are usually followed by certain prepositions, fill in the blanks with the correct prepositions chosen from the pairs given in brackets. For example:
    He likes listening __ music. (on, to)
    He likes listening to music.

They cooperated ____ one another. (of, with)
They cooperated with one another.

  1. Heat and light radiate ________ the sun. (from, of)
  2. Where the event will be held depends ______ the weather. (of, on)
  3. She loves to quote ________ Shakespeare’s plays. (from, to)
  4. You need to concentrate ________ what you are doing. (into, on)
  5. The students protested __________ the high student fees. (against, from)
  6. A balanced meal consists _______ vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates. (of, with)
  7. Twenty people applied ________ the job. (for, with)
  8. She likes to participate ________ extracurricular activities. (in, with)
  9. He paid ________ the meal. (for, on)
  10. We do not approve ________ that type of behavior. (of, in)
  11. He subscribes ______ four magazines. (of, to)
  12. The dog barked ______ the mailman. (at, to)
  13. Please refrain ________ smoking. (from, to)
  14. Do you concur ________ my conclusions? (for, with)
  15. The problem stems ________ a lack of proper training. (for, from)
  16. We apologized ________ our absence. (for, to)
  17. He is engaged _______ starting a business. (in, on)
  18. The two children stared ______ each other. (at, to)
  19. They registered _______ the course. (for, of)
  20. We rely ________ the city bus service. (on, with)


Answers to Exercise 1:
1. to 2. of 3. via 4. from 5. off 6. like 7. out of 8. with 9. until 10. past 11. of 12. but 13. opposite 14. Despite 15. under 16. before 17. without 18. into 19. during 20. along

Answers to Exercise 2:
1. at 2. for 3. between 4. in 5. for 6. besides 7. at 8. since 9. on 10. in 11. among 12. since 13. on 14. beside 15. at 16. for 17. in 18. besides 19. in 20. on

Answers to Exercise 3:
1. in 2. on 3. out of 4. on 5. of 6. in 7. for 8. at 9. in 10. in 11. with 12. on 13. in 14. on 15. by 16. for 17. by 18. in 19. by 20. of

Answers to Exercise 4:
1. By the way, 2. for a living. 3. on purpose. 4. at stake. 5. under way. 6. out of tune. 7. on display 8. on a shoestring. 9. Once in a while 10. at the moment. or at present. 11. on hand. 12. in private. 13. At that rate, 14. Bit by bit or By degrees or Little by little, 15. At first 16. In retrospect, 17. side by side. 18. see at a glance. 19. from time to time. 20. in stock?

Answers to Exercise 5:
1. on 2. to 3. of 4. for 5. in 6. of 7. to 8. in 9. of 10. for 11. of 12. on 13. for 14. to 15. of 16. with 17. in 18. for 19. of 20. of

Answers to Exercise 6:
1. for 2. about 3. to 4. to 5. from 6. to 7. with 8. for 9. to 10. with 11. at 12. of 13. with 14. of 15. to 16. with 17. in 18. for 19. of 20. to

Answers to Exercise 7:
1. from 2. on 3. from 4. on 5. against 6. of 7. for 8. in 9. for 10. of 11. to 12. at 13. from 14. with 15. from 16. for 17. in 18. at 19. for 20. on

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