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Most Common Prepositions for Tests

Common Prepositions for Examinations A preposition is a word which shows the relationship between a noun or a pronoun and another word in the sentence. Prepositions are usually (but not always) placed before the noun or pronoun which they govern. This chapter deals mainly with common prepositions and contains simple instances of their use. The following is a list of all the common prepositions; explanations (where necessary) and examples follow each preposition. The chief meanings of each preposition are given. Some of the explanations (e.g. under = lower than, vertically below, beneath) may at first appear to be interchangeable in one or more of the examples given. Further examination, however, will reveal that they are not interchangeable in every case.


about (1) concerning, of. He talked about his old friend. Note that concerning, of, and about are not interchangeable after the verb to be and are rarely interchangeable when about governs a noun or a pronoun following another noun: The lecture was about Charles Darwin. That book about Napoleon is very interesting. (2) near(ly), approximately (a place, a time, a quantity, etc.). It was about two o'clock when he left. The bomb fell about here. (3) here and there, in various parts of, all around. The traveller roamed about the town trying to find a suitable hotel. We wandered about the city on our first evening there. above (1) higher than, on top of (without touch­ing), over. See over (1). The big bird flew above the trees. There is a monkey on the branch above you. (2) more than, over. Above two hundred people attended the meeting. (3) superior to. AH these men are honest and above bribery. across (1) from one side to the other of. The little boy ran across the street. (2) on the other side of. He saw a grocer's shop across the street. after (1) later than (a time). / shall be able to see you after six o'clock. Can you come to see us after the holidays? (3) following, behind. Go after him quickly and give him his umbrella. (4) This painting is after Turner. Note the difference between the following two sentences: He painted it after Turner. (= in the same manner as) He painted after Turner. (= at a later time than) (5) as a consequence of. The headmaster would not grant the class a holiday after their bad behaviour. (6) in spite of. After everything I said, you still had to do it! against (1) Stop knocking the stick against the fence. (2) It is difficult to run against a strong wind. (3) The struggle against poverty and hunger is a hard one. (4) contrary to. Smoking is against the school rules. (5) in contrast with. The beautiful villa stood out against the ugly slums surrounding it. (6) in preparation for. She began to save money against the time when she would no longer be able to work. (7) in exchange for. He bet me his gun against my radio. (8) opposed to, not in favour of. He was against the scheme from the very start. along There are many tall trees along the road to the village. amid(st) She stood in tears amid the alien corn. The great man stood amidst the cheering crowd. Note that there is no difference between amid and amidst. Both are found more in litera­ture than in daily speech. among(st) (1) from person to person. The host moved about among his guests. (2) Divide this cake among all the boys here. See between. (3) one of. / am among the great man's followers. Note that there is no difference between among and amongst, and both prepositions must be followed by a plural noun or pronoun. around Many people stood around the injured man. The news soon travelled around the world. See round. Round and around are usually interchangeable in daily speech. However, in formal English around is used chiefly to mean on every side of or about, and round has the meaning of so as to encircle or enclose. at (1) His father appeared at that moment. We arrived at two o'clock. Used to denote a point of time, usually moments and clock times. (2) They will begin their journey at Easter. Used before the names of festivals, etc. but not before days: They will begin their journey on Easter Sunday. See on (4). (3) He lives at the white cottage. Used before the name of a particular place (usually an address, a building, a village, or a small town). See in (4). (4) to, towards. The goat ran at the passer-by. Note that to cannot be substituted for at in contexts like the following : The soldiers aimed at the target. She threw the book at me. (Cf. She threw the book to me.} (5) for. I bought six pencils at fifty cents each. (6) The examiner soon put the candidate at ease. Used before certain nouns to express states, conditions, emotions, etc. (See Chapter 3) before (1) in front of. The accused man was brought before the magistrate. Antonym = behind. (2) My sister arrived home that night before ten o'clock. Antonym = after. (3) rather than. Death before dishonour. behind (1) at the back of. His wife stood behind him, looking over his shoulder at the man he was facing. (2) on the far side of, beyond. The chemist's shop is a few yards behind the church. (3) supporting. / knew that my friends were behind me in the matter. (4) inferior to, lower than. John is behind the rest of the class in mathematics. (5) hidden by, being concealed by. There is something strange behind this apparently simple occurrence. (6) late (with). I am behind with my work. (7) in the past (and finished). Your hard days in prison are behind you now. below (1) lower than. Just below the top of the wall there was a brick missing. Antonym = above. See under (1). (2) Your composition was below average. John is below the rest of the class in mathe­matics. Below and behind are interchangeable in the second sentence above, but not in such phrases as below average. Beneath can be substituted for below in most contexts. See note on beneath (3). beneath (1) below. The road twisted through the valley beneath us. (3) underneath. Beneath his rough exterior was a heart of gold. (4) It was beneath his dignity to plead with her father. Note that beneath and below are interchange­able except in certain established phrases: beneath notice, beneath contempt, beneath one's dignity, below average, below par, below the belt. beside (1) by the side of, near by, close to. Looking up, I saw a man standing beside me. (2) compared with. He isn't very good at arithmetic, but beside Harry he is a genius at it. (3) not concerning, irrelevant to. The point you have just raised is beside the question. (4) except, apart from. He trusted no one beside a very old and faithful servant. besides in addition to. There were three others present at the meeting besides Mr Day. Besides and beside are easily confused by overseas students. Apart from the difference in meaning, beside is used only as a preposition, whereas besides can also be used as an adverb to mean moreover or furthermore. between Many grammar books used to insist on the use of between in relation to two persons or things and among or amongst in relation to more than two. This distinction is no longer observed. There is nothing wrong with writing: We shall share the bill between the three of us. It is often necessary in geographical contexts to use between for more than two objects: Switzerland lies between Italy, Germany, and France. (1) across (a space). His body was firmly wedged between the two rocks. (2) across (a period of time). What did you do between two o'clock and three o'clock? (3) in the middle of. The journey by air to England takes between ten and twelve hours. The girt was torn between her love for her father and her desire to see justice done. (4) separating. There is a wide river between the two villages. (5) connecting, uniting. There is something between the two men: find out what it is. (6) shared by. He divided the money between John and me. When co-operation is expressed, between is more commonly used than among. The members of the class collected fifty dollars between them. betwixt An archaic preposition used sometimes in poetry to mean between and frequently shortened to 'twixt. As ’twixt two equal Armies. Fate Suspends uncertain victory . . . (From Donne's "The Ecstasy") beyond (1) past, at the farther side of. The wood is beyond the stream. (2) past, out of reach of. The apples on the tree hung beyond the outstretched hands of the small boy. The evil man is not beyond salvation. (3) later than. It was beyond midnight when we left the party. but except. See except. No one but Sherlock Holmes can solve this problem. Is there nothing to drink but water? by (1) Jack was punished by his father. Used after verbs in the passive voice to denote the agent of the action. Cf. with — by means of. By is used to signify the agent by whom (or which) the action is done; with is used to signify the instrument with which the action is done. See with (1). He was murdered by the angry mob. (= The angry mob murdered him) He was murdered with this old knife. (= Someone used this old knife to murder him) (2) at the side of, near. The old woman wished to be buried by her husband. There was a large dog lying by the entrance. (3) via. We travelled to India by South Africa. (4) past. A horse ran by the group of be­wildered visitors. (5) by means of. He passed the examination by sheer hard work. This old engine is driven by steam. You can always contact me by telephone. (6) during. The pilgrims travelled by night and rested by day. Note: by night = during the night. (7) at or before (a time). The ship will arrive in Southampton by ten o’clock. I shall have finished by next Friday. Note that the Simple Future or Future Perfect Tense is often used with this construction. Care should be taken not to confuse until ( = up to the time of) with by ( = at). Consider the following sentences: The ship will not arrive in Southamp­ton by ten o’clock. (= The ship will not arrive at ten o'clock) The ship will not arrive in Southamp­ton until ten o’clock. ( = The ship will arrive at ten o'clock) (8) By Jove, Tom won the race. Used in oaths, despite in spite of. They will come with us despite the bad weather. Not much used in conversation. down (1) from the top to the bottom of. We scrambled down the hill. (2) along. / went down the country lane for a few miles. during (1) throughout. Sentries guarded the camp during the night. (3) at some particular time in. Many people were made homeless during the floods. except AH the pupils attended the meeting except Tony. Many students experience difficulty in deciding when to use except, but, save, and when to use except for, but for, save for. Except = not in­cluding: except for = on condition that you ignore the following (fact). Except should be used if exceptions are made from plural nouns or words with a plural mean­ing : I go to school every day except Sunday. However, if the exception is not from the plural noun and the word modifies another word or group of words in the sentence, except for should be used: The roads are deserted except for a few cars. If the exception is made from a singular noun denoting a complete unit in itself, the word to use is except for. This is a good essay except for the first paragraph. for (1) on behalf of. Mr Smith said that he signed the cheque for his wife. (4) in place of, instead of. He used the ash-tray for a paper-weight. The abbreviation M.A. stands for Master of Arts. (5) in exchange for, for the price of. / will give you £100 for your car. (6) in order to obtain. He plays the piano for pleasure. (7) at the cost of. He could not sing for his life. (8) regarding. As for this class, I do not think their chances of passing the test are very good. Note that as generally precedes for when used in contexts similar to the above. (9) in search of, to obtain. Many people went to Alaska for gold. (10) on account of, because of. He hired a guide for fear of getting tost. (11) towards. The ship sails for the Far East. Used after verbs expressing departure or direction towards a place: e.g. leave for, set off for, make for. (12) used for. This wardrobe is for clothes. (13) She baked a cake for her son (i.e. intended for him to eat). What can I do for you? (i.e. to help you). Used to denote a recipient of some­thing. (14) This pen is no good for you. It was fortu­nate for you that he was there. The room is too big for you. Used after certain adjectives and adverbs when they affect a person or a thing. (15) His hopes for success in the election were soon dashed. The neighbouring country showed its desire for peace by reducing its armed forces. Used after certain nouns and verbs ex­pressing a wish, a hope, or an expectation. (16) making an allowance for, considering the circumstances. He is a big boy for his age. (17) in certain expressions such as go for a walk, go for a holiday, etc. (18) Plenty of fresh air will be good for his health. Smoking is bad for the lungs. (19) in support of, in favour of. How many are for the motion? How many are against it? (20) as. The committee chose Mr Ismail for vice-president. This room is used for a spare bedroom. (21) during. / have lived in Ceylon for two years. He hadn't seen John for five years. Note that for is used to denote a period of time: since is used (as a preposition) to signify the beginning of a period of time. / have lived in Ceylon since 1962. Occasionally, for can be omitted (whereas since can never be omitted). / have lived in Ceylon two years. Consider the difference between the following two sentences: Has she been absent for the last year? Has she been absent since last year? See since. from (1) separated from, distant from. Your house is a long way from the beach. The village is ten miles from the highway. (22)have an origin in. He is from China. Wine is made from grapes. (23)The musicians travelled from London to Singapore. It was a good film from beginning to end. Count from 1 to 20. Used to express the point of departure. (24)have as a reason orcause. The boy screamed from fear as the tiger came towards him. (25) Choose a book from this shelf. I cannot distinguish him from his brother. Used to signify comparison or difference. in (1) during (a period of time). Jim answered all the questions in ten minutes. Generally used with the Past Tense to denote a duration of time. (26)after (a period of time). She will meet us in two hours. Generally used with the Future Tense to denote the period of time within which the action will take place. (27) during, at some time during. She teaches in the morning only. The examination will be in June. They will return home for their holidays in summer. We left Nigeria in 1960. Used before parts of the day, weeks, months, seasons, and years. (See Appendix, page 134) (28)She lives in London. Used before the names of (important) towns, cities, countries, etc., or any large area. See at (3). (29)That book is not in the library. He has a sword in his hand. I saw him in the theatre. Used to denote a state or position in contexts like the above. (30) He is going in the front door of the building. Pour some water in the bottle. Note that in and into are usually interchange­able when movement is denoted (except when in has the meaning of through as in the first example above): into, however, is often used after go. (31)Between the trees I caught sight of the man in the brown suit. Who was the girl in the blue dress? Used often to denote the clothes, etc., in which a person is dressed. Note that with is used to denote physical characteristics and any­thing which is carried. Compare the following two sentences: She went to the party in a new dress (i.e. wearing a new dress). She went to the party with a new dress (i.e. carrying a new dress). This distinction is, however, a fine one, and with is often used colloquially in such contexts instead of in. See with (2). (32) You are wasting your efforts in attempting this impossible feat. Used before a gerund ex­pressing some kind of activity. inside He was waiting inside the cinema. Once inside the door, the thief took off his mask. into (1) He went into the house. The elephants wandered back into the jungle. Used to express a movement inwards: into can never be used to express a state. (33) He put all the money into a big pile. He translated the play into French. Used to express a change of condition. (34) divide so as to form several parts. His mother cut the cake into six pieces. like She saw a strange animal like a dragon. Your shoes are just like mine. I want a pen like John's. He raved like a madman. P number of gram­marians would class like as an adverb of degree in the last sentence above. (He raved like a madman = He raved like a madman raves.) near Mrs Jones sat near the fire. There are many trees near the new school. He insisted on stand­ing near me. of (1) belonging to: part of. She was the daughter of my friend. The leaves of this tree are beginning to fall. The wood of this desk is cracked. (2) from. Tibet is north of India. Note that of can be used with certain words to mean from: die of wounds, expect something of a person, etc. (3) have an origin in, come from. He congratu­lated himself on coming of a good family. (4) selected from, belonging to. / gave him a book of mine. (5) showing the identity or quality of. The chair is (made) of wood. A bridge of steel stretched across the river. (6) The teacher took out a piece of chalk. I have bought a new pair of gloves. We travelled over a mile of rough road. The little boy wanted to buy a pound of biscuits. Used in such phrases to show measurement or amount. (7) among. The murder could have been com­mitted by any of those present at the party. (8) about, concerning. He spoke of the great inventor with much respect. Note that of cannot be used to mean about after the verb to be. See also about (1). (9) It is kind of you to present the prizes. It was wicked of him to plot against the king. It was clever of the king to discover the plot. (1 0) having. He was a man of great determina­tion. Used after a noun or pronoun to form an adjectival phrase. Of is frequently used to show qualities of character and also to show ages. She is a girl of much ability. He was a man of thirty. (11) The island of Hong Kong is a great trading centre. The Isle of Capri is near Naples. You are now in the City of Leeds. off (1) away from. He broke a piece off the cake. She cut a slice off the loaf. He jumped off the wall. Keep off the grass (= Don't walk on the grass). (2) less than. They are selling the radios at twenty per cent off the market price. (3) near (of ships). / saw the ship off the jetty. on (1) on the surface of, on top of. There is a cat on the roof! I like that picture on the wall. (2) covering, in contact with a surface. She was wearing a wedding-ring on her third finger. Although the actor was dressed in a suit, he had sandals on his feet. (3) Is Sam Jones on the ship? His friends live on the other side of the town. Used to denote a general position. (4) I m going to a football match on Saturday. We arranged to meet on June 20th. What are you doing on Christmas Day? (Cf. What are you doing at Christmas?} Used to indicate a position in time, usually a day or a date. See at (2). (5) as soon as, immediately after. On reaching home, I had a bath and changed my clothes. (6) as a result of. On further consideration of your plan, I think it advisable to call for more assistance. (7) about, concerning. / was asked to give a talk on my research. We talked on many subjects. Note that on is usually interchangeable with about and concerning. (8) Who is on the jury? Are you on the com­mittee? (but Are you in the club?) Used chiefly to show membership of small or exclusive associations. (9) near to. / saw a shadow on my left. Used chiefly with right and left. (Note: in front of me, at my side, etc.) (10) The house is on fire. I received the book on loan. He acted on impulse. Used before many nouns. (See Chapter 3) onto See on to on page 8. opposite The shop opposite the school sells radios. The cinema is opposite (to) our house. out Out is never a preposition. When followed by of, the phrase means the opposite of into. See out of on page 8. outside (1) He was waiting outside the cinema. She was standing outside the door. (11)apart from, except for. He is the only person who knows about the plan outside the committee. (12)beyond. If you insist on going outside the law, you must expect legal penalties. over (1) above (without touching). A sign hung over the inn door. Over is often interchangeable with above in such contexts, but over has the meaning of verti­cally above, while above implies only higher than. See above (1). (2) above (touching), on the surface of. Grass is growing over the aerodrome. The burglar put a mask over his face. Note that above can never be substituted for over in these contexts. (3) across. He walked over the road to greet me. (4) from one side to the other of. The boys quickly climbed over the wall into the orchard. (5) superior to. A new manager has been appointed over us. (6) more than, above. Over five hundred people were present at the ceremony. See above (2). (7) about, concerning. He went to see Mr Jones over his son's poor examination results. The quarrel was over a small child. past (1) The soldiers marched past the church. (8) The poor woman is past praying for (= we have given up hope). (9) He is past forty ( = over forty years old). It is now ten past two. round (1) rotating, so as to encircle or enclose. The earth goes round the sun. Around is not substituted for round with this meaning in formal English. See around. (2) surrounding, on every side of. The enemy gathered round the village. Around and round are interchangeable in such contexts as above. (3) throughout, to all parts of. He went round the whole town asking for work. save except. See except. The whole class save Peter arrived on time. Used little in conversation. since (1) I have not seen David since 1950. He has been absent since last week. Used before an expression denoting a definite point in past time to show a continuous period of time extending from the point in the past to the present moment. (2) after. / have visited Ann only once since her accident. The trains run less frequently since the introduction of the new timetable. They have seen the thieves several times since the robbery. Used before an expression denoting past time to show an event or events which happened at particular points during the period of time extending from the past to the present. Note: (i) The Simple Present or the Present Perfect Tense is generally used before phrases beginning with since. (ii) Since is used more frequently as an adverb than as a preposition. (iii) See for (19). through (1) between the parts of, from one end to the other of. He peered through his binoculars. We went through a wood to the cottage. (2) all of. He searched through my belongings. (3) because of. by means of, on account of. / met her through John. He passed the examina­tion through hard work. throughout through the whole of. Throughout his life, the'doctor always tried to help others. till See until. to (1) / travelled by boat to Bombay last year. They returned to their village. The acrobat jumped to the ground. Used to denote a point of arrival or completion. Note that it is often used with this meaning after the verb go in such phrases as: go to bed, go to church, go to prison, go to sea, go to town, go to work, (but go to the office, go to the city, go to the shop, etc.: go home) (2) in the direction of. towards. While on his way to the cinema, he met an old friend. The wood Ues to the north of the road. (3) as far as. / went with the guide to the foot of the mountains. (4) until. He said he would be busy from two o'clock to four o'clock. (5) You will be late: it is already five (minutes) to nine. Used in telling the time to mean before. See past (3). (6) This film is nothing to ( = in comparison with) the one I saw yesterday. The chances of success are a hundred to one. The ratio is four to nine. Used often to show a comparison or ratio, (but: The gradient of this hill is mostly one in five.} (7) Stand shoulder to shoulder. There was much hand-to-hand fighting in the streets. I would like to meet that villain face to face and tell him exactly what I think of him. Used in such expressions to express closeness involving a certain opposition or competition. (8) To my utter astonishment, he laughed when he heard the news. The small boy did not appear frightened, much to the dismay of his kidnappers. Used frequently before nouns express­ing emotion to denote the result or effect of an action on another person. (9) Give it to him. Her father brought the basket to her. Add it to the bill. Used to introduce an indirect object. Note that the sentence pattern consists of: Subj. + Verb + Direct Obj. + Prep. + Ind. Obj. e g. Her father brought the basket to her. Many of these patterns can be changed to: Subj. + Verb + Ind. Obj. + Direct Obj. e.g. Give him it. Her father brought her the basket. However, certain verbs will not permit of such a change: Add it to the bill. Join the end to this piece. (10) To is also used as a particle marking the infinitive (i) after certain verbs, (ii) in infinitive phrases, and (iii) to denote purpose. The stranger suddenly began to sing. "To be or not to be, that is the question." / went home to find my book. Note that to in these cases is not a preposition but a particle. toward(s) (1) in the direction of, to. The wounded man crawled towards the door. Towards is preferable to to, if the idea of moving in the direction of is stressed. (11) in relation to, with regard to. / felt a lot of gratitude towards my host. (12) for the purpose of. You should save as much money as possible towards your coming holiday. (13) near, just before. We are now coming towards the end of the cave. They left the party towards midnight. Note: toward is sometimes used in poetry, and even in conversation, instead of towards. under (1) lower than, vertically below, beneath. There was a black spot under his left eye. We sheltered under the big tree. Under and beneath are often interchangeable; below, however, is not always interchangeable, for it means merely lower than, while under sug­gests vertically below. Compare the following two sentences: He hid under the table (= under­neath the table). He hid below the table (= lower than the top of the table.) Antonym = over. See below (1). Note that under and beneath are often used figuratively, while below cannot be used in this way. He became ill under the heavy burden of work. The staves cried out under the oppression. (2) below (the surface of). The stranger had a gun under his cloak. (3) less than. This car cost under £500. Under a quarter of the members attended the meeting. (4) inferior to. At least ten boys were under John in the results of the test. (5) subject to. His father could not agree to Bill working under such conditions. This road is under repair. (6) -sheltered by. / was no longer frightened because I was under the protection of my big brother. We stood under the wall white the stones flew overhead. (7) in the reign of. Sir Francis Drake lived under Queen Elizabeth I. underneath (1) There is a blot underneath the first Une on that page. We were standing underneath an old arch. (8) He was wearing a thick vest underneath his shirt. Underneath is frequently interchangeable with under, beneath, and below. until (till) (1) up to the time of. The children stayed awake till midnight. I shall be absent till January. (9) before. Until his accident, he had always been strong and healthy. Till is generally used before a single word or a phrase; until is more common at the beginning of a sentence. unto Archaic and literary. (No longer used in modern English.) Unto has the same meanings as to except as a particle marking the infinitive. See to. up The brave fireman quickly climbed up the ladder and rescued the old woman. Once up the moun­tain. the climbers found the air cool and fresh. upon Upon/On our arrival, the natives began to sing and dance. The lecture will be upon/on the effects of the radio satellite. But: / hope to see him on (not upon) Saturday. This preposition is a compound of up and on, and may be used instead of on in all cases, ex­cept when on denotes a position in time. How­ever, on is much more commonly used, especially in colloquial English. See on. with (1) by means of. He sharpened his pencil with a small knife. I cannot write with this pen. He was struck with a blunt instrument. With denotes the instrument with which the action is done; by can sometimes be substituted for with in contexts containing the Passive Voice. By, however, cannot be interchanged with with in other contexts (as in the first two examples above). See by (1). (10) having. / bought the chair with the broken leg. He felt unhappy until he met a man with no money at all. I saw the man with the scar on his face. He spoke with a foreign accent. She was talking to the lady with the large basket. With is used to form phrases showing posses­sion or certain characteristics. It is used in rela­tion to people to show physical features and to denote anything which is carried (e.g. a basket). See in (7). (11) in the possession of. You may leave your case with the porter. (12) on the side of. The Americans fought with the English against the Germans. Are you with me or against me? (13) against. Why do you wish to quarrel with me? It's no good trying to compete with those who have so much more experience than you. (14) in the company of, among. / am going to England with my sister. She is playing on the lawn with her friends. (15) regarding, concerning. Some teachers are very good with young children. What does he want with you? (16) because of. She laughed with joy. (17) in spite of. With all your faults, I still like you. (18) With certain people, truth appears to be no longer important. (19) at the same time as. The old man gets up every morning with the sun. (20) in proportion to. The petrol consumption usually increases with the age of a car. (21) The sick man climbed the steps with great difficulty. He witnessed the ceremony with considerable pride. With a grinding of brakes the train came to a halt. Used in many similar adverbial phrases showing manner. (22) Off with his head! ( = Cut off his head) Away with you! (= Go away) Down with all traitors! (=Let all traitors be punished) Used immediately after adverbial particles in impera­tives like the above. See Appendix VIL within (1) inside or in (a place). No sound came from within the big house. Within is not often used now with this mean­ing; in or inside can be substituted for within. (2) inside (a period of time). You must pay me back within one month. (3) not beyond. A man should always try to live within his means. We are now within sight of the airport. without (1) not having, lacking in, free from. The poor man went without food and shelter for several days. I can't pay my bill, as I am without money. He came without delay. The boy climbed the diff without any fear. (2) alone, not in company with. Mr Joyboy is going on holiday without his wife. (3) so as not to. Can you dose the door with­out waking the baby? Used before other gerunds in similar contexts. (4) outside, beyond. There is a green hill far away Without a city wall (C. F. Alexander) Rarely used now, and never in speech.




There are also a number of compound prepositions which are common in English and which have the force of a single preposition.




along with together with, in company with. He went on the dangerous journey along with his two friends. but for But for the doctor's skill, he would have died. To decide when to use but and when to use but for. see except on page 3. down to The water is now down to the level of the bridge. except for The road was deserted except for a few cars. To decide when to use except and when to use except for, see except on page 3. from above, etc. A voice was heard from above the house. A man emerged from beneath the lorry. Most of the children came from near the school. From may precede many other prepositions. into See into on page 4. near by/near to The wood is near by/near to the school. on to The thief climbed on to the roof. The thief climbed onto the roof. Both the above sentences are correct for this compound preposition may be written either as two separate words or as one word in many cases, though onto is becoming rare. However, on to must be written as two words when on is part of a phrasal verb (i.e. an adverbial particle). The travellers agreed to carry on to Australia. opposite to Do you see the man standing opposite to the teacher? (Opposite, however, is more usual.) out of (1) expresses a movement outwards. The man came out of the hotel. (Antonym = into) (2) outside, beyond. London Airport is a few miles out of London. (3) on account of, because of. He fell in love with her out of pity. (4) a part of. The juggler caught the balls nine times out of ten. (5) not in. The car is out of action. My radio set is out of order. over against near by, adjacent to. The cupboard is over against the window. over and above besides. The employer promised his men an increase in wages over and above the granting of shorter hours. round about approximately (reinforcing the idea of about). He earns round about €20 a week. save for It is a good book save for the last chapter. To decide when to use save and when to use save for. see except on page 3. upon See upon on page 7. up to as far as. During the floods the water came up to the bottom of the window.


(2) on the authority of. According to the doctor, Mr Smith has been ill for a long time. apart from besides. What do you study apart from English? as for so far as it concerns, regarding. As for the thief, I am sure that he will soon be caught. See for (6). as from The guarantee will cease to be operative as from 24th April 1962. Used mainly in formal letters. Certain other words combine with a preposition to form a phrase which is equivalent to a single preposition. Here are some common ones according to (1) in a similar manner to, in agreement with. Do this problem according to the way you have been shown. He acted according to my instructions. as to regarding. / have no doubts as to your son's ability. because of owing to, on account of. Because of his poor health, he could not work in a tropical country. due to Due to is not a prepositional phrase because due is an adjective and must be linked to the noun or pronoun it qualifies. Due to should not be used to introduce an adverbial phrase of reason: "Due to the fog, the train was late." (The train was not "due to the fog '.) Use due to: (a) after a noun or pronoun to introduce an adjectival construction: Heavy rain, due to the south-west monsoon, is on the way. (b) as a complement of a verb, usually the verb to be: His absence was due to his illness. Other constructions to express the same mean­ing require owing to: Owing to his illness, he was absent. Owing to the south-west monsoon, it will soon start raining heavily. See owing to. It is often possible to substitute because of or on account of when in doubt about whether to use due to or owing to. The misuse of due to may have serious con­sequences when it causes ambiguity: "I could not attend the meeting, due to preparations to go abroad." (Was the meeting held as a result of my preparations to go abroad or could I not attend on account of my preparations to go abroad?) instead of in place of. He went to the meeting instead of his employer. next to The hotel is next to the church. owing to because of. This is an ordinary pre­positional phrase in its usage. Unlike due to. it requires no noun or pronoun to precede it and it is often used at the beginning of a sentence. See due to. Owing to the floods, several train services have been suspended. previous to before. What was your job previous to your accident? prior to before. Prior to his return, he wrote to everyone about his recent marriage. together with (1) in the company of. I went to Rome together with my students. (2) as well as. He gave me some paints together with an easel.




A small number of present participles can be used also as prepositions, but they are not preceded by a noun, pronoun, or auxiliary verb. They are called participial prepositions.




barring He should return at five o'clock, barring an accident. concerning Concerning the lectures, few students think it is advisable to attend. Not used in speech. considering / think you were treated unfairly, considering everything you did. excepting Everyone, not excepting the pilot, survived the crash. notwithstanding Notwithstanding his unpopu­larity, the brave man faced the violent crowd. More characteristic of written than spoken style, pending The case has been adjourned pending further inquiries. In formal letters and reports. regarding Regarding your application. I am pleased to inform you that you have been successful. Very formal written style. Business jargon. respecting Respecting the accident, the police wish to contact a ten-year-old boy who was passing by on a bicycle. Very formal written style. Business jargon.







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