The use of preposition

The use of inappropriate prepositions is a fertile source of errors with students. Learn the use of appropriate prepositions with words.

Indeed, prepositions are the spice of a good writing and it is very difficult to master the art of using them. There are many nouns, adjectives, verbs and participles in English which take particular and appropriate prepositions after them. In a few instances more than one preposition may be admissible. Thus we can speak of a river as abounding in fish or with fish, or a person may be careless of, or careless about the consequences of his actions.

As a general rule, however, only one preposition can follow a particular word used in a particular sense. It is wrong to say, ‘I am ashamed for your conduct’ or ‘in respect of these matters’ instead of ‘in respect of these matters’ though ‘I have a great respect for your opinion’ is quite correct.

The same preposition should not be used with two words unless it is appropriate to each of them. Thus it is wrong to say ‘It is different and inferior to the other’ because different and inferior require different prepositions. We should say: ‘It is different from and inferior to the other’ or better ‘It is different from the other and inferior to it’.

The use of inappropriate prepositions is a fertile source of errors with students. The following list is therefore given to enable them to learn the use of appropriate prepositions with words.

  1.  ACQUAINTED WITH: having knowledge of:
    I am not in a position to give any decision since I am not acquainted with all the facts of the case.

  2. ACQUIESCE IN: to agree silently, passively:
    Do not just acquiesce in any proposal brought forward; accept it only if you find it reasonable.

  3.  APTITUDE FOR: talent for:
    Do not undertake any assignment unless you have aptitude for it.

  4. AVERSE TO: to have a dislike for:
    I am averse to hypocrisy more than anything else.

  5. ATONE FOR: to make amends for:
    He atoned for his neglect of his parents.

  6. BROOD OVER: to think constantly of:
    It is no use brooding over past failures.

  7. BANISH FROM: to expel:
    He was banished from the kingdom for having plotted against the crown prince.

  8. BESTOW ON: to give:
    The Dada Sahib Phalke Award was bestowed on him for his contribution to the development of Hindi cinema.

  9. BENEATH:  in a lower position:
    She married beneath her.

  10. CELEBRATED FOR: famous for:
    Amritsar is celebrated for its Golden Temple.
  11. CLAMOUR FOR: to make a loud demand for:
    The workers are clamouring for higher wages.

  12. CONGENIAL TO: suitable to one’s disposition:
    The atmosphere in this office is not congenial to me.

  13. CONSISTENT WITH: in harmony with, in agreement with:
    Such an action is not consistent with his character.

  14. COMMENCE ON: to begin on:
    Our examination will commence on next Monday.

  15. COMMIT TO: to promise:
    The government is committed to providing safe drinking water in every village.

  16. COMMENSURATE WITH: proportionate to:

  17. COMPATIBLE WITH: consistent with, in agreement with:
    His actions are hardly compatible with the tall moral claims he makes.

  18. CONDUCIVE TO: helpful in the production of:

  19. CONFIDE IN: to share with a person one’s secrets:
    One can confide in only one’s chosen and well-tried friends.

  20. DESTINED TO: preordained for, marked beforehand for:
    He felt that he was destined to lead the nation.

  21. DEDUCE FROM: to draw a conclusion from:
    No definite result can be deduced from these facts.

  22. DISSUADE FROM: to advise to refrain from:
    I dissuaded him from taking up the job of a clerk in a government office.

  23. GRAPPLE WITH: to contend with; to fight with:
    We should courageously grapple with the difficulties of life.

  24. INDISPENSABLE TO: necessary for:
    You might be a very suitable candidate for the job, but do not think that you are indispensable to me.

  25. INDIGNANT WITH: angry with, at (something):
    I was indignant with my friend at his refusal to lend me his books.

  26. INFER FROM: deduce from:
    Nothing definite can be inferred from the statements made by the witness.

  27. IMMATERIAL TO: unimportant:
    It is immaterial to me whether my work earns applause or censure.

  28. INHERENT IN: abiding in:
    Selfishness is inherent in man.

  29. JEER AT: to laugh at:
    The agitating workers jeered at the managing director when he came to talk to them.

  30. OBLIVIOUS OF: without knowing about:
    He went on driving the car oblivious of the danger that awaited him.

  31. OVERWHELMED WITH: overpowered with:
    He was overwhelmed with sorrow at his failure.

  32. PREJUDICE AGAINST: some person or something:
    A judge should not be prejudiced against the culprit from the beginning.

  33. MARVEL AT: to wonder at:
    I marvelled at the harmony of colours in his painting.

  34. LAMENT FOR: expression of grief for:
    The poem appears to be a lament for lost opportunities.

  35. MENACE TO: threat to, danger to:
    The smoke emitted by old vehicles is a great menace to public health.

  36. SCOFF AT: to make fun of:
    It is undesirable to scoff at other religions.

  37. SUCCUMB TO: to give way to, to die:
    The soldier succumbed to his injuries before he could be taken to the hospital.

  38. STOOP TO: to bend to:
    I never thought he would stoop to such meanness.

  39. SURRENDER TO: to yield to:
    A man of courage never surrenders to external pressures.

  40. TRIFLE WITH: to be frivolous with, to make light of:
    We should never trifle with the sentiments of others.

  41. VERSED IN: experienced in, good at:
    His wife is accomplished and well-versed in household affairs.

  42. WANTING IN: deficient in:
    You are wanting in firmness; that is why you are so often exploited.

  43. VIE WITH: to compete with:
    The hawkers vied with one another in making a loud noise.

  44. YEARN FOR: to long for:
    Man has always yearned for eternal happiness.

  45. YIELD TO: to surrender to:
    A man of spiritual strength will never yield to hardships.

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