Adjectives and prepositions

Adjectives and prepositions

Do you know how to use adjectives with prepositions like interested in or similar to? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how adjectives are used with prepositions.

I'm interested in the idea.
My jacket is similar to yours.
She's brilliant at maths.
My neighbour is angry about the party.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Grammar test 1: Adjectives and prepositions

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

Some adjectives go with certain prepositions. There are no grammatical rules for which preposition is used with which adjective, 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.

However, there are some patterns that can help you. Let's look at them first. Remember that a preposition is followed by a noun or a gerund (-ing form).

With at

We use at with adjectives like good/bad/amazing/brilliant/terrible, etc. to talk about skills and abilities.

He's really good at English.
She's amazing at the piano.
They're terrible at organising anything.
I'm not very good at drawing.

With about

We often use about with adjectives of feelings like angry/excited/happy/nervous/sad/stressed/worried, etc. to explain what is causing that feeling.

I'm angry about the decision.
He's nervous about the presentation.
She's excited about the new job.
They were worried about the exam.

With of

However, sometimes we use of with feelings.

She was afraid of telling her mum.
I'm frightened of having an accident.
He's scared of flying.
You should be proud of your progress.

With to

We can use to to show the connection between people or things.

He's married to the director.
I'm addicted to my phone.
I'm allergic to nuts.
It's similar to the old one.

We can also use to to talk about someone's behaviour towards someone else.

They were really friendly to me.
Was he nice to you?
He is always polite to everyone.
She was very rude to the waitress.

Here are some other useful adjectives with prepositions.

With for

Exercise is good for you.
Stress is bad for you.
The town is famous for its cheese.
I'm responsible for the financial side of the business.

With in

She's interested in the project.
They want someone who's experienced in design.
I didn't want to get involved in the argument.

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Grammar test 2: Adjectives and prepositions

Average: 4.5 (384 votes)
Profile picture for user dipakrgandhi

Submitted by dipakrgandhi on Wed, 12/06/2024 - 13:51



My apology if my qquestion is not asked in correct section.

My question is:

Can 'external affairs' also mean 'extra maritital'?

I have searched dictionaries but I have not come across this meaning.

This question has arisen ad there is a joke going on on social media: 

The wife of a certain External Affairs Minister says 'I am happy that my  husband will have external affairs for 5 more years.'  The joke concludes with 'She must be only wife in the world who is happy that her husband will have external affairs.'

But does the joke make any sense if it  doesn't  have that meaning?

Hello Dipak,

Jokes often engage in this kind of word play in which expressions are understood to have a meaning that is different than normal.

You are right: 'external affairs' doesn't refer to extramarital affairs. In this case, however, it's clear that that is what is meant.

Best wishes,
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by jitu_jaga on Sat, 16/03/2024 - 05:17


Hello TheLearnEnglish team,

Some people are bitter off dead.

I don't understand the use of off in the above sentence.

Does it mean some people are bitter than dead? Please make me understand..



Hello jitu_jaga,

The phrase is actually 'would be better off dead' and it means that a person's situation is so terrible that not living would be preferable.

You can use the phrase with other adjectives or with an -ing phrase:

This pay in this job is awful. I'd be better off unemployed!

She keeps thinking about her driving test tomorrow and it's making her very nervous. She'd be better off going for a walk or something.

Looking up things on the internet won't help. You'd be better off seeing a real doctor.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jitu_jaga on Tue, 12/03/2024 - 06:44


Hello TheLearnersTeam,

  The vehicle moved to the side of the road.

The vehicle mover to the side off the road.

Could you please explain what does it mean?

 Thanks in adance.. 

Hi jitu_jaga,

Sentence 1 means that the vehicle was still on the road, but on the side part of it. Here, "of" is a preposition and part of the phrase "to the side of (the road)", which means the road's side part.

Sentence 2 means that the vehicle left the road and it was no longer on the road. Sentence 2 should have a comma, to show this more clearly: The vehicle moved to the side, off the road. "To the side" makes a unit of meaning by itself. "Off" is part of the phrase "off the road", meaning leaving the road.

I hope that helps.


LearnEnglish team

Profile picture for user dipakrgandhi

Submitted by dipakrgandhi on Sat, 24/02/2024 - 08:37


My apologies ifor I am posting in a wrong section.

This is the WhatsApp post I received in text -followed by a comment on it:

 'People who enjoy life rarely have a flat stomach.'

The above message is followed by this comment:

'Put comma(,) before or after 'rarely' and see what you fit.'

I understand that breaking the sentence before or after 'rarely' changes the meaning of the sentence - though in either case the meaning rendered should besenseles.

 Moreover, we can break the sentence before or after 'rarely' only with a hyphen or a dash - and not with a comma. Am I right?

If at all we want to break the sentence with comma, it would be with two commas: First comma placed after 'People', and the second one after 'life', or after 'rarely'. Again the meaning in either cases should be senseless - though placement of commas would be grammatical one - unlike in the case suggested in the WhatsApp post.

I have told my friends that I would be back to them with a clarification.

Can you help me with this grammar puzzle!