In English, some verbs are followed by small linking words called prepositions. Common prepositions are: in, at, with, on etc. Each verb can be associated with one or several prepositions. For example: agree (verb) with (preposition). The following example illustrates some of the errors that can occur when prepositions are not correctly used.
As you learn new verbs, make a note of them with the preposition that follows – or even better, record full example sentences. You may also wish to note when no preposition is needed.
Sometimes, the verb together with words like down, up etc. creates a new word, called a multi-word verb (a verb made up of more than one word), or a phrasal verb. The meaning of a phrasal verb can be very different from that of the verb on its own. Consider the examples below:
In general, phrasal verbs are to be avoided in academic writing as they are less formal than one-word verbs.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
English Page provides a set of practical activities focused on prepositions, verbs+prepositions and multi-word verbs (phrasal verbs).
To download a PDF version of the Preposition checklist, click on the link below: