Proper Preposition Usage


Proper Use of Prepositions
Improper use of prepositions is one of the most common errors I notice people making on a daily basis, both in writing and when speaking. Prepositions are those little connector words that join words and/or phrases to other words and/or phrases.

I read these errors in preposition usage every single day in the local newspaper and I hear them made constantly on the radio as I work. As for television, you would think that many of those writers never took a course in basic English usage. When it comes to TV I'm talking about both scripts for shows, and newscasts as well. So, here's a word of warning - if you are trying to improve your English by watching television or listening to the radio, don't assume that everything you hear is correct. Really.

There are many, many examples of incorrect/correct preposition usage involving nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that I could give. So, for the purpose of keeping this list manageable, I have listed below about one hundred of what I consider to be the most important to be aware of for daily usage in writing and speaking.

abide by (a decision)
abstain from
accordance with (in)
accountable for (something)
accountable to (someone)
agree on (terms)
agree to (a proposal)
allow for (something to take into consideration)
answer for (some act or behavior to take responsibility for)
answer to (someone)
aspire to (a position, fame)
associate with (someone, something; NOT associate to)
aware of
begin by (doing something)
begin from (a specific point)
begin with (an initial step or action)
capable of (NOT capable to)
centre on (NOT centre around)
commensurate with (in accordance with)
compare with (to note similarities and differences)
concur in (an opinion)
concur with (a person)
conform to
conformity with (in)
consistent with (NOT consistent of or to)
contrast (show differences of one thing from another)
contrast to or with (in)
correspond to (similar to)
correspond with (communicate with)
culmintate in (NOT with)
defend against (direct attack)
defend from (protect, keep safe)
depart from (place or practice/procedure)
different from (NOT to or than)
discourage from
dispense with
disassociate (onesself) from
divest onesself of
elaborate on (NOT about)
embark on (a ship, a career)
enamoured of (NOT with)
endowed with
focus on (NOT around)
free from (or free of)
immune from (an obligation)
immune to (a disease)
impressed with or by (NOT of)
indifferent to (NOT from)
indispensable to (someone)
indespensable for (a purpose, a condition)
infested with (insects, vermin)
infringe the rules (NO preposition)
integrate into (incorporate into)
integrate with (mix with)
invest in (stocks, business)
invest with (a bank)
keep abreast of (NOT with)
labor at (work at a task)
labor for (work for someone)
labor under (a burden, disadvantage)
liable to (dismissal, a fine; NOT for)
live off (the land)
live on (a pension)
look after (a business, a child, a pet)
look into (a matter of interest )
look over (a bank statement, a report)
made of (ingredients, materials)
made with (name of specific material(s))
moment's notice (at a)
oblivious of or to
opposite of (the)
opposition to (in)
order of (in the, of the)
originate in or with (NOT from)
parallel with or to
perpendicular to (NOT with or from)
persist in
perspective of (from the)
point at (something)
point to (a fact)
prefer one to the other
preference for (to have a ...)
preoccupied with (NOT of)
present to (something to someone)
present someone with (something)
preside over or at
prevent from (doing something)
proceed against (a person)
proceed to (the next step or phase)
proceed with (what has already started)
prohibit from (an act)
provide for (an emergency)
provide something (for someone)
pursuant to (i.e. after)
put in/into place
reconcile to (a thing, a condition)
reconcile with (a person)
reduction in pay (NOT to)
reference to (with reference to; NOT in)
regard for (a person)
regardless of (what happens)
register in (a course)
register with (a college)
report for (work)
report on (a situation)
report to (the police)
research in (a field of specialty)
research into (a specific subject)
responsibility of (had the responsibility of deciding)
responsibility for (an action)
result from (an event)
result in (a consequence, an outcome)
result (the answer)
revolve around
satisfaction in (to find/take…)
satisfaction of (to have the…)
satisfied (to be…)
secure (to be secure against attack)
secure from (to be secure from harm)
secure in (to be secure in his job/position)
substitute for
suggest (that he do something: NOT suggest him to do)
suited to (a purpose, each other)
suited for (a job)
sympathize with
sympathy for (to have)
sympathetic to/toward
take account of
take into account
take exception to
tend toward (tendency to do something)
tend to do (something)
virtue of (by; or by means of)
view of (in view of the circumstances)
view to (with a view to do something)
wary of (a danger)
withhold (information or something) from


As I mentioned, the above list is not exhaustive. These are the best examples I could come up with when I researched the information for this page. You may know of other common examples of improper/proper use of prepositions. So, by all means, add your own examples if they are missing from the list. If you come up with a good one that I missed please e-mail me with it from the "Contact" link at the bottom of this page.


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