A prepositional phrase is made up of a preposition and a noun phrase. We use prepositional phrases for many purposes, for example:

- as adverbials of time and place:

We will be back in a few days.
They drove to Glasgow

.- as a postmodifier in a noun phrase:

Helen is the girl in the red dress
We’ve got a new television with a thirty one inch screen.

- to show who did something:

The lion was killed by the hunter
I saw a wonderful painting by Van Gogh

- with double object verbs like give and get:

We gave five pounds to the woman on the corner.
They got a drink for me.

- after certain verbs, nouns and adjectives:

The book belongs to me.
I had an argument with my brother.
I feel sorry for you.

Exercise

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Comments

Hi Leaning English team,
I think that prepositions are used randomly in English, so the usage of them just have to be learned by knowing the meaning of each collocation. Correct me if I'm wrong.
In 1955, Billy procures a job as a teacher for Y, employed under Mark, who quickly entices him with the culture.
What is the meaning of 'employed under?'
Billy opens a Swiss bank account in the name of Emma.
Is the meaning 'Billy opens... a bank account having Emma's name?'
'Billy makes $1 million in three months upon securing something'
What would be the difference if I wrote the sentence like this: 'Billy makes $1 million in three months, securiting something'?
Thanks.

Hi JakiGeh,

'Employed under Mark' means that Mark is his boss.

You are correct about 'in the name of'.

We use the phrase 'upon doing' to show a sequence and it means something like 'following...' or 'after doing...'.

 

You can find explanations and examples of phrases like these in any online dictionary - I would say that that is the best place to check them.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
What is difference between the following sentences?
Take help of the clues.
Take help from the clues.
Thanks

Hello naghmairam

The difference is in their correctness!

The first phrase is not correct; the second phrase is correct. However, we would be more likely to say 'Use the clues to help you' or 'Use the clues for help'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello English Learning team,

Every verb has some kind of preposition going immediately after a verb or object(that depends on whether it is transitive or intransitive). I know that prepositions are fixed in those places and group of those words are called an idiom.

I concealed the reason for going to Miami.
'Conceal sb or sth from sb or sth'
It is too big for you.
'To be too adjective for sb'

Is the meaning of both sentences the difference? Why a dictionary doesn't show first and fourth sentences are idioms? So we could actually change preposition if we want to have a different idiom? For example, good at/in/on...(I know some of them don't make sense, but I'm asking in general)

I am from Italia/on train...

Are those kind of sentences idioms or simply preposition uses?

Thanks

Hello JakiGeh,

The combinations of verbs (or adjectives) and prepositions that you ask about are not idioms. An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood only from the meanings of the words in it; it has a meaning of its own. A few examples of idioms are:

to 'pull someone's leg' (to tell sb sth that is not true as a way of joking with them)
'a can of worms' (a situation that causes lots of problems)
to 'rub someone the wrong way' (to annoy sb without intending to)

The idiom is in inverted commas and the meaning in brackets. You can't really understand the meaning just from the idiom. A good resource for finding the meanings of idioms is the Cambridge Dictionary.

The examples in your comment are verb + preposition or adjective + preposition combinations. Although, like idioms, they are standard combinations of words, these are not idioms because the meaning can be inferred by looking at the meaning of the parts.

You should still definitely learn these – I'd recommend you keep a notebook with a list of them, with example sentences. There are a lot of them in English, and the more you read and listen to it, the more you will see and learn.

I hope that clarifies it for you. If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

''I have difficulty in/with''

What is the difference between difficulty in and with?

I could say I have difficulty in sth as well as I have difficulty with, and it seems they both have the same meaning.

''She claimed responsibility for taking the thing for which he was convicted.''

If a subordinate clause is short, could I place preposition at the end and should't the preposition be ''of'' instead?

Thank you.

Hello JamlMakav,

The meaning is very close and I can't think of any cases where only one of 'with' or 'in' would be possible. 'With' seems to me to suggest that the speaker is trying to do it and is finding it difficult, while 'in' might have a more general meaning. However, I am not sure this is a true distinction and the two may be interchangeable.

Your second example is problematic and I would agree that 'of' is better. However, the sentence has other problems. A person is convicted to a crime, not of an act. Your sentence suggests the person was convicted of taking something, which is not the way we use the word. They may be convicted of theft because that is the crime, not of taking something.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,

I have some queries on dependent prepositions that are followed by particular verbs, nouns, or adjectives.

I just want to know if there is a way that gives information on how to search sufficiently for particular preposition? Should I search by a verb or preposition?

Is the best way to learn those prepositions reading?

I want to say that something adds emphasis '' '' something. I found I should use ''to,'' expressing this meaning. I've checked the preposition could be ''in'' or ''to.''

Is it true that a meaning determines what preposition it takes and a preposition doesn't have any influence. In other words, a dictionary would say general use of a preposition but not working as a dependent one.

Thank you much.

Helli JamiMakav,

I think there is a little confusion in your comment. Prepositions are not followed by those words, but rather those words can be followed by prepositions.

Prepositions are followed by objects, which are usually nouns but can be other forms too (clauses and infinitives, for example).

When there is a preposition it contributes to the meaning of the phrase and there may be multiple prepositions possible after a given item. For example, you can say

give emphasis to

put emphasis on

show emphasis by

I don't think it's useful to try to separate which parts are responsible for meaning changes here. While there are core concepts behind prepositions (movemement, location, cause etc) I don't think these are useful in terms of constructing these phrases. You simply need to learn them.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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