Prepositions are troublesome for a lot of English language students. While there are many uses of prepositions in English, this lesson focuses on verb and preposition combinations. Unlike phrasal verbs, which have an idiomatic usage, the verb and preposition combinations presented here are just collocations. This means that they are, as I like to call them, just “set phrases.” For example, the verb listen generally takes the preposition to, as in “I like to listen to jazz.” I hope you find this lesson helpful for studying them!
Grammar Pattern: account for [something]
Preposition Focus: We use for to indicate the purpose of accounting.
Usage: A person can account for money, or other valuable items such as the inventory of a store or warehouse.
- We need to account for all of the money.
- The boss said that after the trade show, we were unable to account for all of the laptops.
Grammar Pattern: accuse [someone] of
Preposition Focus: We use of to show the reason of accusing.
Usage: A person can accuse another person of doing something wrong.
- The boss accused Bob of missing the deadline
- I can’t believe that Danny accused me of being rude in the meeting. I was just trying to answer his question.
Grammar Pattern: adapt to [something]
Preposition Focus: We use to when we show the object of adapting.
Usage: A person can adapt to a new job, a new home, or a new living place.
- We can adapt this software to any environment.
- I’m looking forward to my new assignment in New York. I think I can easily adapt to living there.
Grammar Pattern: add [something] to [something]
Preposition Focus: We use to when we show the object of adding.
Usage: A person can add something to another thing.
- The chef added chili to the curry.
- Adding this modification to the software will add two weeks to the project.
Grammar Pattern: adjust to [something]
Preposition Focus: We use to when we show the object of adjusting.
Usage: A person can adjust to a new job, a new home, or a new living place.
- Chris finally adjusted to life in New York.
- I think it is not going to be easy for everyone to adjust to this new work schedule.
Grammar Pattern: admire [someone] for
Preposition Focus: We use for to indicate the purpose of admiring.
Usage: A person can admire another person for their achievement, or their special ability. Children often admire their parents and/or heroes.
- I admire my grandfather for his hard work.
- Everyone admires David for his talent.
Grammar Pattern: admit [something] to [something]
Preposition Focus: We use to when we show the object of admitting.
Usage: A person can admit to making a mistake, or failing to do something.
- Doug admitted his mistake to the boss.
- I admitted that I was wrong to Jane. I think she can forgive me.
Grammar Pattern: agree on [something]
Preposition Focus: We use on to show the target of agreeing.
Usage: A person can agree on an idea, a proposal a time schedule, etc.
- We can not agree on this contract unless you change the terms.
- I agreed on some of the proposed changes in the plan, but not all of them.
If you would like to learn over 200 more verb and preposition combinations, check out my book, now available in paperback and eBook: