Prepositions for Direction, Agent, and Instrument

Lesson 2 : Prepositions for Direction, Agent, and Instrument
Expressions with ‘in’:
In the rain / in the sun (=sunshine) / in the shade / in the dark / in the bad weather etc.
We sat in the shade.
It was too hot to sit in the sun.
Don’t go out in the rain. Wait until it stops.
(write) in ink / in biro / in pencil
When you do the exam, you’re not allowed to write in pencil.
Also (write) in words / in figures / in BLOCK CAPITALS etc.
Please write your name in block capitals.
Write the story in your own words. (= Don’t copy somebody else)
(be/fall) in love (with somebody)
Have you ever been in love with anybody?
In (my) opinion
In my opinion, the film wasn’t very good.
At the age of …etc.
We say ‘at the age of 16 / at 120 miles an hour / at 100 degrees etc.
We say ‘at the age of 16.
… at the age of 16.
The train was traveling at 120 miles an hour.
Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.
On Holiday/ on a tour etc.
We say:
(be/go) on holiday/ business / on a trip / on a tour / on a cruise etc.
I’m going on holiday next week.
Emma’s away on business at the moment
One day I’d like to go on a world tour.
You can also say ‘go on a place for a holiday / for my holiday (s)’:
Steve has gone to France for a holiday.
Other expressions with ‘on’
On television / on the radio:
I didn’t watch the news on television, but I heard it on the radio.
On the phone/telephone:
I’ve never met her, but I’ve spoken to her on the phone a few times.
(be/go) on strike:
There are no trains today. The drivers are on strike.
(be/go) on a diet:
I’ve put on a lot of weight. I’ll have to go on a diet.
(be) on fire:
Look! that car is on fire.
On the whole (= in general):
Sometimes I have problems at work, but on the whole I enjoy my job.
On purpose (intentionally):
I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to annoy you. I didn’t do it on purpose.
We use ‘by’ in many excretions to say how we do something. For example, you can:
Send something by post contact somebody by phone / by email / by fax
Do something by hand pay by cheque / by credit card
Can I pay by credit card?
You can contact me by phone, by fax or by email.
But we say
…pay cash or pay in cash (not by cash)
We also say by mistake / by accident / by chance.
We Hadn’t arranged to meet. We met by chance.
But we say
…do something on (= you mean to do it):
I didn’t do it on purpose. It was an accident.
We say by chance, by cheque etc. (not by the chance / by a cheque). In these expressions we use
by + noun without ‘the’ or ‘a’.
In the same way we use by… to say how somebody travels:
By car / by train / by plane / by boat / by ship / by bus / by bike etc.
By road / by rail / by air / by sea / by underground
Joanne usually goes to work by bus.
O you prefer to travel by air or by train?
But we say on foot:
Did you come here by car or on foot?
You cannot use ‘by’ if you say my car / the train / a taxi etc. We use by + noun without a/the/my’
We say:
By car but in my car (not by my car)
By train but on the train (not by the train)
For cars and taxis:
They didn’t come in their car. They came in a taxi.
HSC Programme
Unit 2 Page # 38
We use on for bicycles and public transport (buses, trains etc.):
We travelled on the 6:45 train.
We say the something is done by somebody/something’ (passive):
Have you ever been bitten by a dog?
The programme was watched by millions of people.
• Compare by and with:
The door must have been opened with a key. (not by a key)
(=somebody used a key to open it)
The door must have been opened by somebody with a key.
We say play by Shakespeare / a painting by Zainul / a novel by Tolstoy etc:
Have you read anything by Ernest Hemingway?
By also means ‘beside’:
Come and sit by me. (=beside me)
Where’s the light switch? “By the door.”
Note the following use of by:
Carl and mike had a race over 200 metres. Carl won by about three metres.
Fill the gaps with appropriate prepositions:
1. Imran went ___ the library.
2. Raju jumped ___ the river.
3. He ran away when he felt that someone was coming ___ him.
English Two
Unit 2 Page # 39
4. Macbeth is written ___ Shakespeare.
5. The tub is filled ___ water.
6. Shimu opened the lock ___ key.
7. She comes ___ bus daily.
8. You can’t play football ___ a ball.
9. He walked ___ the town.
10. The child threw his plate ___ the floor.
Answer Key
1. to
2. into
3. toward
4. by
5. with
6. with
7. by
8. without
9. through
10. onto
Lesson 3 : Prepositional Phrase
Noun + for
A cheque for (a sum of money)
They sent me a cheque for 150.
Demand / a need for
The company closed down because there wasn’t enough demand for its product.
There’s no excuse for behavior like that. There’s no need for it.
A reason for
The train was late, but nobody knew the reason for the delay. (not reason of)
Noun + of
An advantage / a disadvantage of
The advantage of living alone is that you can do what you like.
But there is an advantage in (or to) doing something
There are many advantages in living alone. (or… to living alone)
A case of ……
The cause of the explosion in unknown.
A photograph / a picture / a map / a plan / a drawing (etc.) of …
Rachel showed me some photographs of her family.
I had a map of the town, so I was able to find my way around.
Noun + in an increase / a decrease / a rise / a fall in (prices etc.)
There has been an increase in the number of road accidents recently.
Last year was a bad one for the company. There was a big fall in sales.
Noun + to
Damage to:
The accident was my fault, so I had to pay for the damage to the other car.
An invitation to … (a party / a wedding etc.)
A solution to (a problem) / a key to (a door) / an answer to (a question) a reply to a letter) / a
reaction to….
I hope we’ll find a solution to the problem. (not a solution of the problem)
I was surprised at her reaction to my suggestion.
An attitude to (or towards…)
His attitude to his job is very negative. Or His attitude towards his job…
Noun + with …/ between…
A relationship / a connection / contact with….
Do you have a good relationship with your parents?
The police want to question a man in connection with the robbery.
But relationship / a connection / contact / a difference between two things or people
The Police believe that there is no connection between the two crimes.
There are some differences between British and American English.
It was nice of you to
Nice / kind / good / generous / polite / stupid / silly etc. of somebody (to do something)
Thank you. It was very kind of you to help me.
It is stupid of me to go out without a coat in such cold weather.
But (be) nice / kind / good / generous / polite / rude / friendly / cruel etc. to somebody
The have always been very nice to me. (not with me)
Why were you so unfriendly to Ahmad?
Adjective + about / with
Angry / annoyed / furious about something
With somebody for doing something
It’s stupid to get angry about things that don’t matter.
Are you annoyed with me for being late?
Excited / worried / upset / nervous / happy etc. about a situation
Are you excited about going away next week?
Nisa is upset about not being invited to the party.
Delighted / pleased / satisfied / happy / disappointed with something you receive, or the
result of something.
I was delighted with the present you gave me.
Were you happy with your exam results?
Adjective + at / by / with
Surprised / shocked / amazed / astonished at / by something
Everybody was surprised at (or at) the news.
I hope you weren’t shocked by (or by) what I said.
Impressed with/ by somebody / somebody
I’m very impressed with (or by) her English. It’s very good.
Fed up / bored with something
I don’t enjoy my job any more. I’m fed up with it. / I’m bored with it.
Sorry about / for
Sorry about a situation or something that happened
I’m sorry about the mess. I’ll clear it up latter.
We’re all sorry about Julie losing her job.
Sorry for / about something you did
Alex is very sorry for what he said. (or sorry about what he said)
I’m sorry for shouting at you yesterday. (or sorry about shouting)
You can also say I’m sorry I (did something):
I’m sorry I shouted at you yesterday.
Feel / be sorry for somebody who is in a bad situation
I feel sorry for matt. He’s had a lot of bad luck. (not I feel sorry about Maqbul)
Afraid / frightened / terrified / scared of
Are you afraid of spiders? Yes, I’m terrified of them.
Fond / proud / ashamed / tolerate of
Why didn’t trust me. He was suspicious of my intentions.
Adjective + of
Aware / conscious of
Did you know he was married? No I wasn’t aware of that.
Capable / incapable of
I’m sure you are capable of passing the examination.
Full / short of
The letter I wrote was full of mistakes. (not full with)
I’m a bit short of money. Can you lend me some?
Typical of
He’s late again. It’s typical of him to keep everybody waiting.
Tired / sick of
Come on, let’s go! I’m tired of waiting. (=I’ve had enough of waiting.)
Certain / sure of or about….
I think she’s arriving this evening, but I’m not sure of that or … sure about that
Adjective + at / to form / in / on with for
Good / bad / brilliant / better / hopeless etc. at
I’m not very good at repainring things. (not good in repairing things)
Married / engaged to
Linda is married to an American. (not married with)
But Linda is married with three children. (=she is married and has three children)
Similar to
Your writing is similar to mine.
different from or different to
The film was different from what I’d expected. (or different to what I’d expected.)
interested in
Are you interested in art?
keen on
We stayed at home because Chris wasn’t very keen on going out.
dependent on ... (but independent of ...)
I don’t want to be dependent on anybody.
crowded with (people etc.)
The streets were crowded with tourists. (but full of tourists)
famous for....
The Italian city of Florence is famous for its art treasures.
responsible for
Who was responsible for all that noise last night?
verb + to
talk / speak to somebody (with is also possible but less usual)
listen to
We spent the evening listening to music. (not listening music)
write (letter) To
I wrote to the hotel complaining about the poor service we had received.
apologies to somebody (for...)
They apologised to me for what happened. (not They apologised me)
explain something to somebody
Can you explain this word to me? (not explain me this word)
explain / describe (to somebody) what/how/why…
I explained to them why I was worried. (not I explained them)
Let them describe to you what I saw. (not Let me describe you)
We do not use to with these verbs:
phone/ telephone / call somebody
Did you phone your father yesterday? (not phone to your father)
answer somebody/something
He refused to answer my question. (not answer to my question)
ask somebody
Can I ask you a question? (not ask to you)
thank somebody (for something)
He thanked me for helping him. (not he thanked to me)
verb + at
look / stare / glance at have a look / take a look at
Why are you looking at me like that?
laugh at
I look stupid with this haircut. Everybody will laugh at me.
aim / point (something) at ..., at shoot / fire (a gun) at
Don’t point that knife at me. It’s dangerous.
We saw someone with a gun shooting at birds, but he didn’t hit any.
Some verbs can be followed by at or to, with a difference of meaning.
For example:
Shout at somebody (when you are angry)
He got very angry and started shouting at me.
Shout to somebody (so that they can hear you)
He shouted to me from the other side of the street.
Throw something at somebody/something (in order to hit them)
Somebody threw an egg at the singer.
Throw something to somebody (for somebody to catch)
Nisa shouted ‘ Catch!’ and threw the keys to me form the window.
Verb + about
talk / read / know about ..., tell somebody about
We talked about a lot of things at the meeting
have a discussion about something, but discuss something (no preposition)
We had a discussion about what we should do.
We discussed a lot of things at the meeting. (not discussed about)
do something about something = do something to improve a bad situation
If you are worried about the problem, you should do something about it.
Care about, care for and take care of
care about somebody/something = think that somebody / something is important
He’s very selfish. He doesn’t care about other people.
We say---
care what/where/how... etc. (without about)
You can do what you like. I don’t care what you do.
Care for somebody/something
like something (usually in questions and negative sentences)
Would you care for a cup of coffee? (=Would you like...?)
I don’t care for very hot weather. (=I don’t like...)
Fill the gaps with appropriate prepositions:
1. She is listening ___ music.
2. Rina looked ___ the blackboard.
3. We believe ___ God.
4. They were waiting ___ the teacher.
5. Do you agree ___ me?
6. Do you agree ___ my proposal?
7. Someone is knocking ___ the door.
8. You should not rely ___ her.
9. The balloon drifted ___ the stairs.
10. According ___ the weather forecast, it will rain today.
Answer Key
1. to
2. at
3. in
4. for
5. with
6. to
7. at
8. on
9. up
10. to <


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