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

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Submitted by Annavictor on Tue, 18/10/2022 - 18:56


Hello! Could you please kindly consult which way is correct and if there is any difference between these two sentences: 1) With whom do you have lunch? 2) Who do you have lunch with?

Hello Annavictor,

Both of these sentences are correct and mean the same thing. People say 2 much more commonly than 1. 1 would normally be used only in quite formal situations.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user dipakrgandhi

Submitted by dipakrgandhi on Mon, 26/09/2022 - 10:38


Sir, can we say 'you was'

Hi dipakrgandhi,

People do say that sometimes! However, it's not considered correct in standard English.


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Bo Bo Kyaw on Sat, 20/08/2022 - 16:22


Hello sir,
In these two sentences, what is the difference between on to and onto?
Can we use both?

1.This window looks out onto the lake.
2.The living room, the biggest room in the house, looks out on to a beautiful garden.

Hello Bo Bo Kyaw,

In these examples both on to and onto are possible.

This is true of most examples. However, when on is part of the verb phrase (i.e. it is part of a multi-word verb), you should always use two words. For example:

1. Here the verb is 'put' and 'on' is not part of it, so both options are correct:

  • I put the bag on to the table.
  • I put the bag onto the table.

2. Here the verb is 'catch on' (meaning realise or begin to understand) and 'on' is part of the multi-word verb, so you cannot use 'onto':

  • She caught on to what he meant after a few moments.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Gopal Debnath on Thu, 21/07/2022 - 07:41


1. Could explain me the difference between (In the backdrop of sth/against the backdrop)
2. Baked bricks with lime plaster were used in the dockyards of London.
Here, (dockyards of London) means the dockyards belong to London (the dockyards built in London).
If I place "In" in the place of "of" ,then above sentence will become (Baked bricks with lime plaster were used in the dockyards in London). And that means (the dockyards which were in London) , not means that (the dockyards which were built in London).
Please let me know whether my 2nd explanation is correct??

Hi Gopal Debnath,

1. They mean the same thing, but "against" is more commonly used than "in" in this phrase. For some examples, see section 1.1 from Lexico dictionary: Almost all the examples there use "against the backdrop".

2. Yes, I think that's right. But perhaps the more important question is whether this is a meaningful difference. A "dockyard in London" is also a "dockyard of London", and vice versa - a dockyard in London was also built in London. The meanings overlap. 

I hope that helps.


The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, Please help me distinguish them. sentences such as--
1. HC asks ED to take arrested Minister to AIIMS in Odisha.
2.HC ASKS ED to take arrested Minister to AIIMS of Odisha.
When to use "In" and when to use" Of" in these kind of situation.