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Are you a confident preposition user?

By 25 April 2018Language Tips

Use prepositions correctly

Problem prepositions

Using the correct preposition can make the difference between the meaning you intended and a meaning which is quite different, and possibly inappropriate.

Problem 1

The same preposition can have a very different meaning when attached to a different word e.g.

Please come in [here ‘in’ means movement from outside the room into the room]

Come back in 2 weeks (here ‘in’ means time. Return after two weeks have past]

Problem 2

Combining a different preposition with the same verb or noun can also create a very different meaning e.g.

You should take up an exercise class [here the combination of ‘take up’ means start]

I realise this is a lot of information to take in [here the combination of ‘take in’ means process or understand].

Problem 3

Sometimes, as in the image example, the preposition is incorrect with the noun, verb or adjective it’s combined with.

Miles was admitted to hospital 3 days ago. 

There are some rules to learn about use of prepositions especially for time and place but many other combinations need to be learnt, remembered and then used.