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10 Most Confusing Prepositions

Published on Saturday, June 09, 2018
Correct Use of 10 Most Confusing Prepositions

1. Make of/ Made from

Both refers material used.
Made of is used when the shape of material is not changed. 
  • A notebook is made of papers. 
  • A house is made of bricks. 
Make from is used when shape of the material has undergone a total change. 

  • Butter is made from milk. 
  • Sugar is made from sugarcane. 

2. In/With

In is used in the following situations:
  • Place thought of as an area: in London, in Europe. 
  • Within a location: in the room, in the building. 
  • Large units of time: That happened in March, in 1992. 
  • Within a certain time: I will return in an hour. 
  • By means of: write in pencil; speak in English. 
  • Condition: in doubt, in a hurry, in secret. 
  • A member of: He is in the orchestra, in the navy. 
  • Wearing: The boy in the blue shirt. 
  • With reference to: lacking in ideas, rich in oil. 
With is used in following situations:
  • Accompanying: He came with her; I have my keys with me. 
  • Containing: Here is a book with a map of the island. 
  • By means of, using: I repaired the shoes with glue. 
  • Manner: with pleasure, with ease, with difficulty. 
  • Because of: We are paralyzed with fear. 
  • Agreement: I agree with you. 

3. Opposite/In front of

Opposite is used meaning antonym and position in front. In front of always means front position. 
  • Ram is sitting opposite to Shyam. (Ram is facing Shyam) 
  • People living on one side of a street will talk of the houses on the other side as the houses opposite rather than the houses in front of us. 
  • His house is opposite to ours. 
In front of is used in the following ways:
  • He parked the car in front of the hotel. 
  • He put the plate on the table in front of us. 

4. By/Before

By a time/by a date usually implies before that time or date. 
  • The train starts at 7.15 so you had better be at the station by 7.00. 
By +a time expression structure is often used with future perfect Tense. 
  • By the end of July I’ll have read all those books. 
Before can be used as a preposition or as a conjunction or as an adverb. 
  • Before signing this agreement let us discuss each and every point. 
  • Before you sign this you can discuss it with your father. 
  • I have seen her somewhere before. 

5. After/Afterwards

After must be followed by a noun, pronoun or gerund. 
  • After breakfast, he booked a taxi. 
  • After attending the class, I went to meet Rahul. 
If we do not like to use a noun/Pronoun or gerund, we cannot use After but we can use Afterwards. 
  • Don’t have a meal and run immediately afterwards. 
  • I felt very light on my feet afterwards. 

6. But/Except

Both have the same meaning and are usually interchangeable.
After nobody/none/nothing/nowhere etc. usually but is used.
  • Nobody but Shyam knew the way. 
  • Nothing but the best is sold in our shop. 
Except is used when prepositional phrase comes later in a sentence. 
  • Nobody knew the way except Shyam. 
  • He works every day except Sunday. 
Note: After but and except bare infinitive (infinitive without to) is used. 

10 Common Mistakes in the Use of Prepositions

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