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Why study verbs + prepositions?


Prepositions are one of the most difficult things to master in the English language. They provide the links between the main words (nouns, verbs, and adjectives), but many English students have a hard time knowing which preposition to use in each situation. This uncertainty can lead to lack of confidence and being afraid to speak or speaking with lots of pauses as you try to think of the correct preposition. Unfortunately, its not easy to give specific rules for when to use each preposition but most verbs have a preposition that usually goes together. Some verbs can go with multiple prepositions, and sometimes the preposition makes a difference in the meaning of the phrase. You can use this dictionary for learning typical verb-preposition combinations, as well as for reference. Each entry has an example sentence and any notes or explanations that could help you understand better. The best way to remember these combinations of verbs and prepositions is not only to study the list but also to create your own example sentences! Putting the verb + preposition combination into practice immediately helps you memorize it more easily. If you have questions, please send me an e-mail at help@espressoenglish.net Good luck with your English studies!

English Teacher www.EspressoEnglish.net

www.espressoenglish.net Shayna Oliveira, 2012

Verb + Preposition account for

Example Sentence Notes How do you account for To "account for" is to explain or the differences between provide a reason the two financial reports? accuse (someone) of Dan accused Henry of To accuse is to say that someone (something) stealing money from the did something bad company. adapt to When I moved to a different country, it was hard for me to adapt to the new culture. add (something) to I added some salt to the (something) soup to give it more flavor. adjust to After I got divorced, I had to adjust to life as a single man. admire (someone) I admire Joanne for her for (something) dedication. agree on (topic) My teacher and I agree You agree ON a noun: We agree on on the importance of politics. We don't agree on religion. listening practice. agree to (do She agreed to make You agree TO a verb something) cookies for the party. agree with (someone) I agree with you. You agree WITH a person apologize to Barbara apologized to (someone) for (doing her boss for being late to something) the meeting. apply to (a university I applied to the top / program) university in the country - but I didn't get in. apply for (a job / Sandra applied for a scholarship) marketing job at a multinational company. approve of My parents don't approve of my new boyfriend. argue with I argued with my To argue is to have a verbal conflict. (someone) about business partner about The noun form is "argument" and we (something) how much to invest in also say "have an argument with advertising. (someone)" arrange for We'll arrange for a (someone) (to do babysitter to take care of something) the kids. arrest (someone) for Pat was arrested for To "arrest" is when the police take a (something) driving without a license. person into the police station because they are suspected of some crime.
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arrive at (a place) arrive in (a city, country) ask (someone) about (someone/topic) ask (someone) for (something) ask (someone) to (do something) base on be accustomed to be/get acquainted with be addicted to (something) be afraid of be angry at/with (someone) for (something) be annoyed at/with (someone) for (something) be anxious about (something) be associated with be aware of be blessed with be bored with

This is often in the passive voice: "(Someone) was arrested for" By the time we arrived at the train station, our train had already left. I'll be arriving in Berlin on Thursday. She asked them about You ask someone ABOUT (a topic) their plans for the holiday. I asked my classmate for You ask someone FOR (a noun) a pencil. The teacher asked me to You ask someone TO (a verb). make copies of the Never say "I asked to him" worksheet. Our conclusions are based on scientific research. I'm from Ecuador, so I'm "I'm accustomed to" is the same as not accustomed to the "I'm used to" cold weather! At the conference, I got acquainted with various leaders in the industry. The rock star was You can also say you're "addicted to" addicted to heroin. interests (like music or sports) - it's not only for drugs and alcohol! My 5-year-old daughter "Afraid of" is the same as "scared of" is afraid of the dark. Bob is angry at his son for driving his car without permission and crashing it. I'm annoyed at my husband for forgetting to wash the dishes. Everyone in the class is anxious about the final exam. There are a number of risks associated with the surgery. I'm not aware of any problems. We've been blessed with good health and stable jobs. I'm bored with the Notice that after annoyed/angry at someone for the verb is in the ING form.

To be blessed with something is to have received something good / positive, which youre thankful for.

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be capable of (something) be cluttered with (something) be committed to be composed of be concerned about be connected to/with be content with be dedicated to be devoted to be disappointed in/with (someone/ something) be discouraged by be done with (something) be dressed in be engaged in (something) be engaged to (someone) be envious of

classes I'm currently taking. This technology is capable of changing the world. The spare room is "Cluttered" means there are too many cluttered with my objects in the space, and it's sister's half-finished art disorganized. projects. Our organization is committed to improving education in the community. The group is composed of doctors and lawyers. I'm concerned about the increasing violence in this neighborhood. Less education is connected with higher unemployment. The employees weren't content with the salary adjustments they wanted a bigger raise. Veronica is very dedicated to her job. She always does her best work. Frank is a great father; he's so devoted to his family. We were disappointed in our son when he failed three classes. I'm discouraged by the poor results of the marketing campaign. I'm done with my work time to go home. The robbers were dressed in black. The company is engaged "Engaged in" is like "involved in" in a legal battle with one of their competitors. My brother is engaged If you are "engaged to" someone, it to a woman he met while means you are going to get married traveling. They're getting to that person married next month. I'm envious of my sister's success.
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be equipped with (something) be excited about be exposed to be faced with (problem / dilemma / decision) be faithful to be familiar with be famous for be filled with be finished with be fond of be frightened by be frightened of be grateful to (someone) for (something) be guilty of (a crime) be happy about (something) be innocent of (something) be interested in (something) be interested in

This building is equipped with a solar power system. We're excited about our upcoming trip around the world. The children of smokers are exposed to secondhand smoke. My family didn't have health insurance, and we were faced with enormous medical bills after my father got sick. He's faithful to his wife - he wouldn't get involved with another woman. Sorry, I'm not familiar with that computer program. I've only used it once. That musician is famous for her poetic song lyrics. The stores were filled with shoppers during the week before Christmas. Don't throw away the newspaper - I'm not finished with it yet. I'm quite fond of To be fond of something means you peppermint tea. I drink it especially like it, you have an almost every day. emotional connection to it. My dog was frightened by the fireworks, and hid under the bed. Alex never talks to women because hes too frightened of rejection. I'm grateful to Sally for helping me find a new apartment. The director was found "Guilty" is the opposite of "innocent" guilty of sexual harassment. My family wasn't happy about my decision to drop out of college. I believe she's innocent of the charges - she doesn't seem like a criminal. I'm interested in photography. Kevin keeps asking me If you are "interested in" someone, it
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(someone)

out to lunch, but I'm not usually means you have romantic really interested in him. interest in that person be involved in Ten politicians were (something) involved in the scandal. be involved with Sorry, I don't have any information - I'm not involved with that project. be jealous of All my colleagues are jealous of me because I have the biggest office. be known for Thailand is known for its (something) beautiful beaches. be limited to This scholarship is limited to applicants from low-income families. be made from Wine is made from We use "made from" when there is a (something) grapes. transformation in the process of making the final product be made of (material) This table is made of We use "made of" when talking about wood. the material (wood, metal, plastic, etc.) be married to My cousin is married to (someone) a dancer. be opposed to Many of the students are opposed to the new school policy. be patient with The teacher was very patient with me when I couldn't (someone) understand the exercise. be pleased with Are you pleased with the results of the project? be polite to The woman wasn't very polite to me when I asked her for (someone) directions. be prepared for I didn't study, so I wasn't prepared for the test. be proud of I'm proud of my daughter - she graduated with the highest grades in her class. be relevant to Why are you talking about that? It's not relevant to this discussion. be responsible for I'm responsible for training new employees. be satisfied with I wasn't satisfied with the quality of that product. be scared of My wife is scared of
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be terrified of be thankful for be tired of (doing something) beg for

believe in belong to benefit from blame (someone) for (something) blame (something) on (someone) boast about

borrow (something) from (someone) care about (someone / something) care for (someone) don't care for (something) cater to (group of people) charge (someone) for (something)

spiders. I'm terrified of enclosed "Terrified" means EXTREMELY spaces - I can get panic scared or afraid attacks in an elevator. We're thankful for everyone who volunteered to help with the program. I want to buy a car. I'm tired of taking the bus. My ex-boyfriend begged To "beg" is to ask repeatedly with a me for another chance, lot of emotion but I said the relationship was over. Do you believe in magic? No, that motorcycle's not mine. It belongs to my brother. The local population will benefit from the new hospital. He blamed the other driver for the car accident. She blamed the mistakes in the article on the editors. I hate talking to Ronald "Boasting" means to talk about because he's always something arrogantly boasting about how much money he makes. I borrowed a dress from "Borrow" is the opposite of "lend" my sister. (when you borrow, you receive the object temporarily) Our company cares about the environment. Rachel is caring for her It's also common to say "taking care 95-year-old of" a person grandmother. I don't care for Mexican "I don't care for it" means "I don't like food. It's too spicy for me. it very much." Most of the restaurants "Cater to" means to be specialized in this area cater to towards that group of people tourists. The restaurant charged In this case, "charge" means to us for the water - I require money for a product or thought it was service
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charge (someone) with (something) choose between (someone/ something) and (someone/ something) collide with come from comment on communicate with (someone) compare (someone /something) to/with (someone/ something) compete with complain about complain to (someone) about (something) compliment (someone) on (something) concentrate on confess to confuse (someone/ something) with (someone/

complimentary! He was charged with In this case, "charge" means when assault with a deadly someone is formally accused of a weapon. crime I'm trying to choose between Australia and New Zealand for my next vacation.

Eight people were injured when a bus collided with a car. The world's best chocolate comes from Belgium. A number of people commented on my new haircut. The company needs to communicate with customers. Organic food is expensive compared to nonorganic food. Pepsi launched a new type of soda to compete with Coca-Cola. We complained about the slow service in the restaurant. We complained to the manager about the slow service in the restaurant. George complimented Erica on her ability to speak French. We're trying to do too many things; we need to concentrate on one project at a time. The scientist confessed To "confess" is to admit that you did to lying about the results something wrong, or reveal a secret of his research. You're confusing a laptop with a netbook - they're two different types of computers.

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something) congratulate (someone) for/on ([doing] something) consent to (something) consist of contribute to (something) convict (someone) of (something) convince (someone) to cope with count on cover in/with crash into cure (someone) of (something) deal with decide against

We congratulated Vanessa on her promotion. The director consented to the employees' proposal. My CD collection consists of jazz and classic rock music. Stress can contribute to various health problems. He was convicted of child abuse. My wife convinced me to take dance lessons. Psychologists can help people cope with tragedies. I'm counting on you to finish the work by tomorrow. The mountains are covered with snow. A drunk driver crashed into a tree near my house. The antibiotics cured her of the infection.

When someone is "convicted," it means they are found guilty of a crime "Cope with" means to deal with something and emotionally process it - usually a negative thing "Count on" is like "depend on"

"Cure of" is used with diseases, but can also be used with bad habits "Working as a journalist cured me of my tendency to procrastinate."

decide between (someone/ something) and (someone/ something) decide on

How do you deal with an annoying co-worker? When I needed money, I If you "decide against" something, considered selling my you decide NOT to do it car, but in the end I decided against it. I'm trying to decide between buying a motorcycle and saving up the money for a car.

The government is going to decide on the proposed new law next week.
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dedicate (something) to (someone) depend on derive (something) from (something) deter (someone) from (something) differ from disagree with (someone / something) disapprove of discourage (someone) from (something) discriminate against

I'd like to dedicate this performance to my mother, who has always helped and inspired me. I'll be there in 20-30 Avoid the common error of saying minutes, depending on "depend in" or "depend of" - it's the traffic. always "depend on"! Many medicines are derived from natural products like plants. Difficulties with organic chemistry class deterred me from becoming a doctor. New Year's traditions differ from country to country. I disagree with the decision to close down the program. Religious groups disapprove of that TV show; they say it's offensive. They discouraged us from visiting Paris, saying it was extremely expensive. He's racist - he discriminates against black and Hispanic people. We need to discuss these problems with the boss. Cashiers need to know how to distinguish between real and counterfeit bills.

discuss (something) with (someone) distinguish between (someone/ something) and (someone/ something) distract (someone) from (something) dream about/of

The loud music distracted me from my work. I dream about becoming a famous singer someday. Could you elaborate on that last point? I'd like to know more. Three prisoners escaped from the jail last night.

If talking about dreams (hopes) for the future, you can say "dream about" or "dream of." If talking about a dream you had when you were sleeping, use only "dream about"

elaborate on (something) escape from (a place)

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exchange (something) for (something) exclude (someone) from (something) excuse (someone) for (something) expel (someone) from (a place)

I exchanged the small shirt for a medium. He excluded them from the meeting. Please excuse me for interrupting. He was expelled from university for using drugs.

"Expel" means someone was forced to leave a group, school, or company usually because they did something bad experiment on Scientists are experimenting on monkeys to develop new medicines. explain (something) The doctor explained Never say He explained me the to (someone) the procedure to me in procedure. detail. feel about How do you feel about the new company policy? feel like I don't feel like going out "I don't feel like doing it" means "I to a nightclub. I'd rather don't want to do it; I'm not in the relax at home tonight. mood for doing it" fight about My kids are fighting You "fight about" the topic of the about whose turn it is to conflict use the computer. fight against This organization is You "fight against" your opponent fighting against (when it's a person or an discrimination and idea/thing/etc.) injustice. fight for After the accident, he You "fight for" something you was fighting for his life. approve of, or you want to have fight with The protestors are You "fight with" your opponent (only fighting with the police. when it's a person) forget about Oh no! I forgot about the You "forget about" a noun (something) meeting - now I'm going to be late. forget to (do I'm cold - I forgot to You "forget to" a verb something) bring my jacket. forgive (someone) for I forgave him for taking (something) my camera without asking permission. gaze at She sat on the beach, "Gaze" means to look at something gazing at the ocean. for a long time and in a contemplative way get back from (a I just got back from the "Get back from" is the same as place) gym - I need to take a "return from"
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get rid of get used to give (something) to (someone) glare at

graduate from (a place) grieve for grumble about (something) happen to harp on

hear about hear from (someone) hear of help (someone) with (something) hide (something) from (someone) hinge on

hope for (noun)

shower I got rid of some old "Get rid of" means to throw away or clothes that I don't wear give away anymore. I'm a relaxed person, so it was hard for me to get used to the fast pace of New York City. I gave the keys to You can also say "I gave Pamela the Pamela. keys." Rita glared at her "Glare" means to look at husband when he started someone/something angrily chatting with a beautiful woman at the club. He graduated from Harvard University in 1986. He's grieving for his "Grieve" means to be sad about a loss mother, who died just a - usually a death few days ago. My husband is "Grumble" is like "complain" grumbling about how early we need to get up to catch our 6 AM flight. What happened to your car? Did you get in an accident? The salesman was "Harp on" means to emphasize harping on all the something strongly (and rather wonderful benefits of the annoyingly) product. Did you hear about the "Hear about" is used for knowing bank robbery that about the details of a situation happened last night? My cousin is traveling and doesn't have much internet access, so I haven't heard from her lately. I've never heard of that "Hear of" is used for hearing just a movie. mention of something (no details) She really helped me with the problem. I hid the cookies from my kids so they wouldn't eat them before dinner. The success of this "Hinge on" is like "depend on" - it project hinges on means teamwork and collaboration teamwork and are ESSENTIAL to the success collaboration. I'm hoping for good
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hope to (verb) insist on insure against interfere in (something) interfere with (something) introduce (someone/ something) to (someone/ something) invest in invite (someone) to joke about jot down (something) keep (someone/ something) from (doing something) know about laugh about

weather this weekend. My husband and I are hoping to go camping. I thought the company website was great, but my boss insisted on redesigning it. My car is insured against theft. Don't interfere in the "Interfere in" means to get involved situation if you don't in something that you shouldn't know all the facts. The flight delay "Interfere with" means to add an interfered with our obstacle that delays or prevents travel plans. something from happening I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine from college. The city is investing thousands of dollars in improving public transportation. She invited me to her birthday party. Chris is always joking "Joke about" is to talk about it with about how bad he is at humor, in a funny/comedic way sports. I jotted down a few "Jot down" is the same as "write notes during the down" - jot means "to write quickly" presentation A password keeps "Keep someone from doing people from accessing something" is the same as "prevent your account. someone from doing something" He knows a lot about computers. Our travel disaster was You "laugh about" a situation annoying at the time, but we laughed about it later. When I said something You typically "laugh at" a person stupid, everyone (although sometimes "laugh at" is laughed at me. used for a situation - "I laughed at her reaction to the news." I like learning about other cultures. I lent a book to my friend "Lend" is the opposite of "borrow." six months ago, and he When you lend something, you give it hasn't given it back yet. to someone else temporarily
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laugh at

learn about lend (something) to (someone)

listen to long for look at look forward to matter to (someone) meet with (someone) mistake (someone/ something) for (someone/ something) object to

I usually listen to music on my mp3 player while I exercise. I long for a job in which I To "long for" something means you have more flexible hours! REALLY want something I looked at the pictures from Jason's vacation. I'm looking forward to "Look forward to" means you are having lunch with you happy or excited for something in the next week. future. We can take the 8 AM or the 11 AM train - it doesn't matter to me. I met with the department manager to discuss the project. My sister looks like a famous actress, so people always mistake her for a celebrity. I object to the idea that If you "object to" something, it means stay-at-home moms are you oppose it or strongly disagree lazy. They work really with it hard! Representatives from 15 countries will participate in the conference. I paid $100 for this perfume. We plan on attending "Plan on" is followed by the -ING form the party. of the verb He praised me for my creative solution to the problem. I'm praying for you to feel better soon. I prefer swimming to biking. The sports team is preparing for the tournament next month. The company presented Randy with an award for excellent service. Computer problems prevented me from finishing my work yesterday.
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participate in (something) pay for plan on praise (someone) for (something) pray for prefer (something) to (something) prepare for present (someone) with (something) prevent (someone/ something) from

(doing something) prohibit (someone) from (doing something) protect (someone) from (something) provide (someone) with (something) punish (someone) for (something) quarrel with (someone) about/over (something) react to recover from (something) refer to (something) related to

rely on remind (someone) of (something) remind (someone) to (do something) reply to rescue (someone) from (something) respond to result in (something) save (someone) from (something) scold (someone) for

Employees are prohibited from smoking inside the office. Wearing a bicycle helmet can protect you from serious head injuries. We provided all the children with computers. I punished my teenage daughter for going to a party without my permission. We quarreled with the "Quarrel" is the same as "argue" hotel receptionist about (have a verbal conflict) the extra charges on our bill. Environmental groups are reacting to the city's plans to build a new shopping center in the middle of the park. She stayed home from work because she's still recovering from pneumonia. Please refer to the diagram on page 15. The website has "Related to" is also used for family information on various members - "I'm related to a famous topics related to actor. He's my cousin." pregnancy. You can't rely on other "Rely on" is like "depend on" people to make you happy. You remind me of my sister - you have a similar personality. I reminded my husband to buy some milk at the store on the way home from work. I'll reply to your e-mail later today. The coast guard rescued the fisherman from the sinking boat. The film director responded to the criticisms about his latest movie. The advertising campaign resulted in hundreds of new customers for the company. The fireman saved the child from the burning building. The teacher scolded the To "scold" is to reprimand or criticize
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([doing] something) search for separate (something) from (something) share (something) with (someone) shout at show (something) to (someone) smile at (someone) speak to/with (someone) about (someone / something) specialize in (something) spend (money/time) on stand for stare at stem from stop (someone) from (doing something) subject (someone) to (something) subscribe to substitute (something) for

student for coming to class late. I'm searching for a twobedroom apartment in the city center. I separated last year's documents from this year's documents. I shared the food with my brother. My mother shouted at me when I left a big mess in the kitchen. I showed my new cell phone to all my friends. She smiled at me. I spoke with my son's teacher about his behavior in school.

someone for doing something wrong You can use "searching for" or "looking for"

To "shout" is to yell, to speak very loudly. You can also say "yell at"

Both "to" and "with" can be used after "speak," but "with" implies more of a two-way conversation. If the conversation is only one way, use "to" - "The president spoke to an audience of 5,000."

I'm a biologist. I specialize in the study of tropical plants. I spent $300 on this backpack because I wanted one that was really high-quality. NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. When I dyed my hair "Stare" means to look at something bright green, a lot of intensely for a long time children stared at me. The current health crisis "Stem from" is like "originate in" stems from lack of nutritional education. I stopped the child from playing with the scissors. I was subjected to verbal abuse from my boss in my previous job - that's why I quit. I don't subscribe to any magazines - I just read them online. You can substitute chicken for beef in this
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(something) succeed in (doing something) suffer from suspect (someone) of (something) take advantage of (someone/ something/ situation)

recipe. She succeeded in running a marathon in under 4 hours. My aunt suffers from arthritis. He is suspected of planning a terrorist attack. With low interest rates, many people took advantage of the opportunity to buy a house.

take care of talk to/with (someone) about (topic) tell (someone) about (something) thank (someone) for (something) think about

If you "take advantage of" someone, it has a negative connotation - you are using that person for your own benefit. If you "take advantage of" a situation, it can be negative, but it can also be neutral - as in the example sentence. I'm taking care of my neighbors' dog while they're traveling this weekend. I need to talk with you Similar to "speak to/with" about plans for next year.

Caroline told us about her trip to South Africa. Thank you for helping me with my homework. I'm thinking about taking piano lessons. think of He thought of a great way to increase sales. translate (something) We need to translate into (a language) this document into Italian. travel to We're traveling to (somewhere) Moscow by train. trust (someone) with I trust her with my car (something) she's a careful driver. turn into The city is going to turn this old church into a museum. use (something) for (- I use vitamins to give me ING) / to (infinitive) more energy. vote against That senator voted against a law proposing stricter measures for gun control.

"Turn into" means to transform

"Vote against" means you oppose it, you vote NO

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vote for vouch for (someone / something) wait for (someone/something ) warn about waste (money/time) on work for (a company / person) work on (a project / task) worry about write about write to (someone) yap about

I'm going to vote for Janet for president. I can vouch for him he's an honest and dependable guy.

"Vote for" means you support it, you vote YES If you "vouch for" someone/something, it means you recommend it because you have experience with it I can't leave yet because I'm waiting for my wife to finish putting on her makeup. They warned us about the poisonous snakes in the forest. I wasted $10 on a flashlight that didn't even work. I work for a car dealership. We're working on a new project. My grandmother always worries about my safety. The journalist wrote about the election. Make sure to write to your grandparents and thank them for the gift. The secretaries were To "yap" is to talk or chat in an yapping about the annoying way newest episode of the TV show. The poor children are "Yearn for" is like "long for" - it yearning for a better means you really want something, life. with a lot of emotion

yearn for

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