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

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

Submitted by howtosay_ on Sun, 01/01/2023 - 13:06

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Hello! Happy New Year!

Could you please answer the following:

Do you say "Many people go to work only TO communicate" or "Many people go to work FOR communication"?

Could I say "I use these trainers TO run" instead of "I use these trainers FOR running"?

Thank you very much for your work and thank you for the answer to this post beforehand!!!

Hi howtosay_,

Happy New Year too!

According to the Cambridge Dictionary (see the linked page for more explanation and examples), "for" is used for functions or reasons. In the second example, running is the function of the trainers (i.e. the way that they are used), and the trainers are a functional tool that the person uses. So it should be "I use these trainers for running" (not "to run", which is a purpose rather than a function).

"to" + infinitive is used for purposes and intentions. In the first I example, I understand communication as the purpose of the person going to work (i.e., it is the ultimate goal or target of going to work), so I would say "Many people go to work only to communicate". However, some people might consider communication to be a reason for going to work, or perhaps even a function of it, so they might say "... for communication" instead. Different people might say different things, depending on whether they consider something to be a function, reason, purpose or intention.

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by pgm on Tue, 27/12/2022 - 16:22

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Which of the following is correct?
The dog is frightened of diwali.
The dog is frightened on diwali.

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Submitted by dipakrgandhi on Thu, 22/12/2022 - 12:28

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Sir can I say 'Unlike of' - like in the following sentence :

You are very quiet today - that is very unlike of you!

Regards
Dipak R Gandhi

Hello dipakrgandhi,

In this context 'unlike' is a preposition and is followed by a direct object, so 'of' is not needed.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by disconzi on Mon, 07/11/2022 - 12:51

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Hello Team,

Which of the sentences below is correct:
"To me it´s a matter of understanding."
"For me it´s a matter of understanding."

Thank you in advance,

Mara

Hi Mara,

Both of them are correct. I think there is little or no difference in their meaning.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Naafiya. AMS on Mon, 31/10/2022 - 02:38

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Sir,different between over and above?