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25 Most Common Prepositional Errors

Published on Friday, June 23, 2017

A preposition is a word or a group of words that is placed before a noun or pronoun to indicate direction, method, place, source etc. 

Rules of preposition:

A preposition is usually placed before its object but sometimes it is placed after it in the following cases: 

A. When the object in the interrogative pronoun is understood.
Example: Whom are you talking to? 

B. When the object of the preposition is a relative pronoun ‘that’. 
Example: This is the book that she always talks of. 

C. When an infinitive qualifies a noun, the pronoun should be placed after the infinitive, if required. 
Example: He gave me a pen to write with.


As per the rule after some following verb, no preposition is placed, when these verbs are used in active voice.
Stress, Emphasise, discuss (matter), investigate, accompany, comprise, demand, consider, violate, resemble, pervade, precede, succeed, reach (at), resign (post), attack, invade, resist, enter (come into), eschew, befall, order, direct, join, sign, affect, ensure, board, describe, await, lack, regret, concern etc.
Example: India has never attacked any country.


Omission of ‘to’ with verbs of communication before the object, ‘ advise, tell, ask, beg, command, encourage, request, inform, order, urge etc. 
Example: I advised him to go. 


Omission of preposition before Indirect object,
The following verbs are ‘bring, give, lend, promise, leave, sell, buy, show, take, fetch, tell, hand, send, sing, read, cost, play (an instrument), find, get, ask, offer etc.
Example: I shall buy you this necklace.


Note the placement of proper object (direct/indirect) with the use of the following verb with special reference to the preposition.
Example: I provided money to him.


The correct use of ‘inform, explain, rob, fine, recommend, suggest, compensate, purpose’ in relation to the object.
Example: explain something to a person.
Another example: Inform someone of the matter.


‘Between’ is used while referring to two persons/things.
Example: Share these sweets between him and me.


‘Among’ is used while referring to more than two persons /thing before the word, which start with a consonant letter.
Example: Divide the sweets among the three boys. 


‘Amongst’ is also used with more than two persons or things but before the word which starts with a vowel letter.
Example: Divide the sweets amongst us.


‘Above’ is used for ‘higher than’.
Example: The sun rose above the horizon.


‘Under’ is used for ‘vertically below’.
Example: It is shady under the tree.


‘Below’ is used for ‘lower than’.
Example: Your work is below average.


‘Over’ is used for ‘vertically above’.
Example: There is an aircraft coming over. 


‘Beneath’ means a lower position.
Example: the ground was slippery beneath her.


‘To’ is used to express motion from one place to another, whereas ‘into’ denotes motion towards the inside of something.
Example: We walked to the river and back.
Another example: the students came into the classroom.


'Toward’ refers to direction and ‘at’ refers to aim.
Example: He saw me running towards him.
Another example: He aimed at the bird.


‘Against’ show pressure.
Example: He leaned against a tree.


'Off’ refers to separation.
'From’ refers to the points of departure.
Example: the man parted from his friends.


‘About’ shows nearness.
Example: I was about to go to bed when there was a knock at the door.


‘Along’ stands for in the same line.
Example: She led them along the corridor.


‘After’ refers sequence.
Example: She came after me.


‘Across’ means from one side.
Example: He ran across the field.


'Beside’ means by the side of.
Example: He sat down beside his wife.


‘Besides’ means in addition to.
Example: Besides being a teacher, he is a skilled craftsman.


‘Since ‘is used with the point of time, when action begins and continues.
Example: He has been ill since last Monday.


'For’ is used for perfect continuous tense showing the duration of action.
Example: I have been here for three years.
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