What are prepositions? What do they look like? • Short words (e.g. at, for, in, to) • Longer words and short phrases (e.g. despite, except, according to, out of, in terms of, in the event of) • Participles (e.g. assuming, concerning, given, granted, regarding) Given your schedule, I think you should book decent hotel rooms. I wrote to you last week concerning your offer… • We can’t recognize prepositions just from the form of the words.
Where do they come in sentences? General Use • Immediately before a noun or –ing form (e.g. to work, of cooking) • At the beginning of a phrase including a noun (e.g. at the cinema). occur in various sentence positions • Immediately after a verb (e.g. arrive at), adjective (e.g. fond of) or noun (e.g. interest in). • Prep+V-ing (e.g. I’m afraid ofcrying).
In Other Positions • At the end of clauses:
Direct questions: prep+a question word. (formal and old-fationed) With whom did she come? At what time did she leave? Who did she come with? • Prep+relative pronoun. (formal context) A company with whom we have successfully been conducting business. The master under whose guidance he had been studying.
What do they do? Place and Time Prepositions which have concrete meanings that we can show or demonstrate. Define place, position or movement, e.g. between the columns, towards the door. • Many of these prepositions can also refer to time. Place: at the bus stop, in the room Time: at 10:00, in March
Prepositions which can refer to both place and time generally have a similar meaning in both cases. • In expressions which refer to the future, in can mean ‘later than now’, e.g. in six months, in a few minutes. • Other prepositions (e.g. after, before, by, during, since, till, until) can refer to time, but not usually place, e.g. after Saturday, during the week.
Logical Relationships • Cause and effect (e.g. because of, due to, owing to, as a result of) I left as a result of his speech. • Contrast (e.g. despite, in spite of) You slept despite the noise. • Exemplification (e.g. like, such as) Go somewhere like Crete or Corfu. • Exception (e.g. apart from, except) Ask anyone apart from me.
Multiple meanings A number of prepositions have several meanings. These are not necessarily closely related. They went for a walk by the canal. (i.e. near/along) It has to be ready by the weekend. (i.e. on or before) She made it with eggs and cheese. (i.e. using) She went there with her mother. (i.e. accompanied by)
Dependent prepositions • Adjectives: afraid of, crazy about • Nouns: process of, difficulty in • Verbs: combine with, listen to, accuse sb of, protect sb from • Follow with to: look forward (be/get) used object (be) committed consent
Idiomatic preposition phrases • Prepositions in fixed, idiomatic expressions containing a noun. • The noun may be sing., pl. or uncountable. • May or may not be separated from the preposition by a/an, the, some or an adjective (often good or bad). at times on good terms Beneath contempt out of use For the time being to some extent In (good) time under offer
Variation Choice • Sometimes choose between two prepositions without making any difference to the meaning. Come and see me in/during the week. I got covered with/in paint. Style • Some prepositions are used primarily in a formal and generally professional or academic context, e.g. notwithstanding. Till: spoken form Until: written form
Geographical, social and individual variation • U.S.A.: through=till/until (through Friday) Than is used after different (different than) No preposition before days of the week (I’ll see you Monday) • Australia: on normal preposition to use before the weekend (Let’s meet on the weekend) Variant Standard Different to different from Speak with speakto Similar with similar to Obvious of obvious to Intimidated with intimidated by
Word Class • Some words can function both as prepositions and as adverbs. A few words can function both as prepositions and as conjunctions. Several prepositions have ‘conjunction equivalents’, e.g. despite/although; because of/because; during/while.
Exercise Class: __________ Name:___________ NO.:____________ 1. He was a horrible man; I couldn’t see any good ____him. □ of □ in □ either could be used here 2. I left it____ the classroom. □ in □ at 3. The children were____ the playground. □ in □ at 4. I saw her ____Christmas. □ in □ on □ at 5. I saw her ____Christmas day. □ in □ on □ at http://www.usingenglish.com/handouts/
6. She’ll be away ____next week. □ since □ at □ until 7. He was tried ____murder and found guilty. □ for □ to 8. He complained ____chest pains and went to hospital. □ about □ of 9. The bridge goes ____the river. □ above □over □Either could be used here. 10. We waited for nearly an hour and ____the end we went without her. □ at □in □on 11. She’ll be here at five, ____ which time I expect you to have finished the work. □ by □until http://www.usingenglish.com/handouts/
12. He’s jealous____ her success. □ with □by □of □for 13. The decrease____ demand has caused a huge drop in their profits. □ on □in □of 14. The storm did a lot of damage ____ the roof. □ at □of □to 15. Green pepper is rich____ vitamin C. □ of □in □from 16. Act □ to □by □on 17. Side □ with □into □onto http://www.usingenglish.com/handouts/