Verbs and prepositions

Do you know how to use the prepositions for, from, in, of, on, to and with after verbs? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how prepositions are used after verbs.

Can you wait for me to finish my lunch?
I'm relying on my co-worker to answer all my emails while I'm on holiday.
Sun cream protects you from getting burnt.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Verbs and prepositions: Grammar test 1

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

When a verb is part of a longer sentence, it is often followed by a specific preposition. 

I agree with Mike.
She listens to the radio a lot.
He thanked me for the flowers.

There are no grammatical rules to help you know which preposition is used with which verb, so it's a good idea to try to learn them together. To help you do this, write new vocabulary in your notebook in a sentence or phrase. Here are some common verbs for each preposition.

Verbs with for

They're waiting for a bus.
He apologised for being late. 
I applied for the job but I didn't get it.
How do you ask for a coffee in Polish?
I can't go out tonight because I have to prepare for my interview tomorrow.

Verbs with from

This spray should protect you from mosquitoes.
Has he recovered from the accident yet?
She won an award because she saved someone from drowning.
I suffer from allergies.

Verbs with in

She doesn't believe in coincidences.
Our company specialises in computer software.
You have to work hard if you want to succeed in life.

Verbs with of

I don't approve of hunting animals for their fur.
Our dog died of old age.
This shampoo smells of bananas.

Verbs with on

Their decision will depend on the test results.
The film is based on the novel by Boris Pasternak.
If you make so much noise, I can't concentrate on my work.
Come on! We're relying on you!
We don't agree on anything but we're still good friends.

Verbs with to

What kind of music do you like listening to?
Can I introduce you to my grandfather?
Please refer to the notes at the end for more information.
Nobody responded to my complaint.
She apologised to me the next day.

Verbs with with

I agree with everything you've said.
My assistant will provide you with more information if you need it.
We're finding it difficult to deal with the stress.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Verbs and prepositions: Grammar test 2

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Hello lima9795,

Some of the phrases you're suggesting are incorrect or represent non-standard use. For example, 'based off' is not normal usage. It is a mistake that some people make, of course. You can read a little about it here:

https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/based-off-versus-based-on

It's a similar story with the other phrases. Although they may crop up from time to time in certain dialects, they are still non-standard in my view.

 

More generally, while there is a semantic basis for some verb-preposition collocation, it is vague and not tremendously useful in terms of guidance. The system is really quite arbitrary and the best approach, in my view, is to treat it as such and memorise the collocations as you would any other aspect of lexis.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by lima9795 on Sun, 27/12/2020 - 16:39

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unable to decide between ''to'' and ''for'' in most of the sentences 1) are you doing this for them too?? OR 2) are you doing this for them too ?? (context is doing fraud) which one is correct or BOTH can be used ?? 3) for me, it tastes really good OR 4) to me, it tastes really good which one is correct or BOTH can be used ?? Could you please explain diff b/w for me and to me if there are any?

Hi lima9795,

OK, let's compare the sentences :)

1 and 2: the meanings of for and to are quite different, and they are connected to the verb (doing).  

  • do something for someone means to do something to benefit, serve or help someone. In your sentence, doing this for them could mean, for example, that someone committed fraud in order to benefit a criminal gang.
  • do something to someone introduces the object of the action. In your sentence, them refers to the victims of the fraud.

3 and 4: Here, for and to are part of prepositional phrases, for me and to me, and they have the same meaning. They both introduce someone's opinion. These examples are different from 1 and 2, because for and to aren't connected to a verb.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by emmanuelniyomugabo12 on Tue, 29/09/2020 - 19:47

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He likely to speak English when He is in class. He moved to Europe to study. She suffered from malaria.
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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Fri, 14/08/2020 - 14:23

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This spray should have protected me from mosquitoes... ;)

Submitted by gopakumarac on Fri, 31/07/2020 - 13:22

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Which of the following is the correct usage? 1. He asked us to closely observe her changes. 2. He asked us to observe closely her changes. Thank you.

Hello gopakumarac,

What you will see or hear in most writing or speaking is 1. Some people, however, avoid what they call 'split infinitives' (such as 'to closely observe') and so would choose 2 and call 1 incorrect.

I am not one such person; in other words, I would recommend 1.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sandeep Gupta on Sat, 18/07/2020 - 20:29

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Hi Sir, I have a doubt in these two sentences and in similar to like these, i.e., “I need to talk to the principal.” “I need to talk with the principal.” Are these two sentences correct?; Is there any difference in these two sentences?; Can I use "talk to" and "talk with" interchangeably in every sentence?; and If Yes, Can you please suggest me from where can I find list of these types of words? Thank You
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Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 19/07/2020 - 09:18

In reply to by Sandeep Gupta

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Hello Sandeep Gupta,

I think these are used interchangeably in modern English. Talk to may have implied a more one-sided conversation in the past, but I think the distinction no longer applies.

I'm not sure what kind of list you mean. If you mean a list of synonyms or alternatives for a given word or phrase then any thesaurus will provide this. Most computers have a thesaurus built in to the system dictionary.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sandeep Gupta on Sat, 18/07/2020 - 01:03

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Can any sentence have more than one preposition after verb as a prepositional verb without any difference in the meaning of the sentence?