Basic introduction to Prepositions and its use in English

In English there are many nouns, verbs and adjectives that are followed by one specific preposition. For the case of verbs + preposition, this is different from phrasal verbs where a verb can be followed by a number of different prepositions or adverbs which may change the original meaning of the verb. Phrasal verbs are discussed on another grammar information page.

IELTS Grammar often used questions where you have to choose the correct preposition to go with the noun, verb or adjective. There can also be questions where the preposition is given in the sentence, but instead you have to choose the correct noun, verb or adjective. Another tricky thing to remember is that some nouns and verbs are the same, but may take different prepositions or the verb may take no preposition (ex. a need for, to need)

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Of course, there are more that exist, but if you learn these, that gives you a good start!

Words which refer to increases and decreases can be followed by ‘in’ or ‘of’.  ‘In’ refers to something that has gone up or down; ‘of’ refers to a quantity or amount.

  • There has been a large increase in unemployment since the beginning of the crisis.
  • There has been an increase of about 40%.



Here are some example sentences:

  • The new product  fully complies with European safety standards.
  • We do not rely on rail transport, so our delivery will not be affected by the strike.
  • The goods must be paid for no later than 60 days after receipt.
  • She succeeded in passing her IELTS with flying colors!

Some verbs can be followed by an object and a preposition:

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Example sentences:

  • The couple borrowed money from the bank to buy their new house.
  • Don’t forget to thank him for offering to drive you to the airport.
  • She asked him for a raise.

There are also verbs that don’t take prepositions (whereas in French, they do!):

IELTS Grammar

Example sentences:

  • I’ll phone the company tomorrow morning.
  • They met to discuss the new smoking ban.
  • She entered the room very quietly.
  • He always asks his boss a lot of questions.
  • His boss always patiently answers him.
  • They told the unions that they wouldn’t sign the agreement.



Example sentences:

  • Let me know if you would be interested in meeting with me. (the preposition ‘in’ is followed by a gerund)
  • He is intent on finding the best deal even if he has to shop around.
  • I’m not aware of anyone who knows how to cook as well as I do.

To remember all these different prepositions you need to memorize and read as much as possible in English. When you notice a verb/noun/adjective + preposition combination, take note of it and add it to your own personal lists.

Find all our IELTS grammar sheets online!

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