Verbs and prepositions

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

Language level

Average: 4 (60 votes)

Hello Gopal Debnath,

Since Odisha is a province or a state I think the correct preposition here would be 'in'.

We use 'in' for these kinds of locations (states, countries, cities etc). We might use 'of' to show ownership or belonging of some kind: the capital of India, the state building of Odisha etc.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Mayura on Tue, 12/07/2022 - 16:22


Hello, Sir!
I wanted to know if the preposition "at" after the adjectives is correct.
1. She is intelligent at maths.
2. She is smart at maths.
3. She is clever at maths.
4. She is good at maths. (This is what I usually see.)
Best Wishes!

Hello Mayura,

Sentence 4 is correct and natural; as you say, it's very common to say that someone is 'good at' something like a skill or subject. It's also possible to say 'clever at' with a skill or subject. Both 'good at' and 'clever at' are used in this way to talk about a person's ability to perform a specific skill.

It sounds a little odd to me to try to do the same thing with the words 'intelligent' or 'smart'. Anyone would understand 1 and 2, but I don't think you'd hear them or see them in writing very often, and I couldn't find examples of them in the dictionary (if you follow the links and study the example sentences, you'll see what I mean). I suppose because we generally think of intelligence (which is what an intelligent or smart person has) as a general feature of a person. Even if we talk about, for example, 'emotional intelligence', it refers more to a person's understanding than their skills.

As you can see if you follow the links, this dictionary is especially useful for finding what prepositions are used after different adjectives.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Avianna on Thu, 10/02/2022 - 18:20


Hello. Could you, please, clarify which option is correct "fill in the gaps" or "fill the gaps"?

Hello Avianna,

It depends on what you mean. If you're writing instructions for a gap-fill exercise, that is, one that asks people to complete a sentence with a word or words, then 'fill in the gaps' is the form to use. Some of the tasks on our website, for example, are exercises where you have to fill in the gaps.

In other contexts where you're talking about trying to make something complete, 'fill the gap' is probably the form you need to use. 

Hope this helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Ahmed Imam

Submitted by Ahmed Imam on Sat, 15/01/2022 - 20:34


Hello. Could you please help me? Which one is correct or both are?
- The internet has stopped young people (talking - from talking) to each other.
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

They're both correct, but there can be a subtle difference in meaning:

'to stop doing something' means 'to finish' or 'to not continue', and 'to stop someone (from) doing something' ('from' is sometimes omitted) means 'to prevent'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Swan Htet Myint on Sat, 30/10/2021 - 12:04


I have learnt that prepositional phrase can be adjective,for example,The girl in the room and adverbial phrase.I would like to know
the difference between preposition after verbs and adverbial prepositional phrase.

Hello Swan Htet Myint,

The explanation on this page is about verbs that require a preposition before their object. In a sense, the preposition doesn't change the meaning of the verb; it's just that we use the preposition with that verb when it has that meaning. It's not very logical, but it's the way people speak!

A prepositional phrase isn't directly related to a verb. It begins with a preposition (which is a single word) and it includes the object of the preposition as well as any words that go with the object (for example, articles or adjectives). For example, consider 'I live in the red house'. 'I' is the subject, 'live' is the verb, and 'in the red house' is a prepositional phrase -- 'in' is the preposition, 'the red house' is the object of the preposition ('the' is an article and 'red' is an adjective.

We could also say that this prepositional phrase is an adverbial because it has an adverbial function in this sentence -- it tells the listener *where* I live (describing location is one of use of adverbials). So it's an adverbial prepositional phrase.

You can see more examples of this on our Adverbials of location page:…

I hope that helps you make more sense of this.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team