PREPOSITIONS and ADVERBIAL PHRASES
Prepositions commonly come before the (pro) noun of :
1.1. time and date :
1.1.1. at + time ( at dawn, at six, at midnight, at 7.30, etc.)
e.g. – He used to get up at midnight for studying but he can’t do it in this dormitory.
– Remember that the ceremony will begin at 8.00 a.m.!
1.1.2. at + age ( at sixteen / at the age of sixteen )
e.g. – Though she got married at eighteen, she is mature enough to bring her children up.
– Children should be taken to school at the age of seven.
1.1.3 on + a day / date ( on Monday, on Christmas day, on May 31st, etc.)
e.g. – Christians always have happy time with their family on Christmas day.
– The one I love celebrates his birthday on December 10 th.
if the time refers to the name of the period of time, we use “ at “
e.g. – Christians have the holiest time for three days at Easter.
1.1.4 on + the morning / the afternoon / the evening / the night of a certain date :
e.g. – We will have arrived on the morning of the last day of December.
– They are going to have a meeting with the press on the evening of June the first.
1.1.5 by + time / date / period = at the time defined / before it , not later than it
e.g. – The show begins at 7.00 p.m., so you should arrive by 6. 30 at the latest to get the front seat.
– I will have got the result by the end of this month and I hope it can be broadcasted the day after.
1.1.6 on time = punctual, at the time arranged, not before and not after.
e.g. – The television news is always broadcasted on time.
– Starting everything some time later than the arranged one is our culture. It’s different to the Western people who consider “time” as money. They are always on time.
1.1.7 in time / in time for + noun = not late
e.g. – Passengers of a plane ( or train) should be in time.
– Though the opening ceremony begins at 7.00, come in time to check whether everything is ready.
1.1.8. at the beginning (of), at the end (of) = literally at the beginning / end :
e.g. – There is generally a table of content at the beginning of a book and at the end there may be an index.
– Computer was invented at the beginning of 19 th century. It has been improved so fast that at the end of this century people no longer use the typewriter to file data.
in the beginning / at first = in the early stages. It implies that, later on, there was a change.
e.g. – In the beginning / at first we used hand tools. Later we had machine.
in the end / at last = eventually after some time.
e.g. – At first he refused our proposal, but in the end / at last he accepted it.
1.1.9 from is normally used with to or till / until
e.g. – Most people work from 8.00 a.m. to / till 4.00 p.m.
1.1.10. since is used for time only. It means from time in the past to the time of speaking. It is always used in Perfect tenses.
e.g. – He has been here since Monday.
– I have not seen them since their quarrel last year.
1.1.11 for is used of a period of time.
e.g. – Bake it for 45 minutes.
– He traveled in the dessert for six months.
1.1.12 during is used with known periods of time.
e.g. – Motorcyclists must be careful in driving their vehicles during the rainy season.
– He was ill for a week and ate nothing during that time.
1.1.13 from …. to…. can be used for time and place ( see no. 1.2.1)
e.g. – They were discussing the matter from 9.00 to 12.00.
1.1.14 from ….. till/until …. is for time only.
e.g. – They didn’t talk to each other from 1990 till / until 1994.
if we have no “from”, we don’t use “to” but “till / until”
e.g. – Let’s start now and work till / until dark.
1.1.15 after and before as prepositions must be followed by pro (noun) or gerund.
e.g. – It is unwise to bathe immediately after a meal / eating.
– The officers had left the room before the gun shot.
1.2. preposition of travel and movement :
1.2.1. from ….. to … / to … = traveling from the starting place to the destination.
e.g. – He drove from Jember to Surabaya without stopping.
– When will you come back to England ?
1.2.2. arrive in a town or country, at or in a village , at any other destination.
e.g. – They arrived in Rome an hour ago.
– I arrived at the airport in time.
1.2.3. get to (= reach) can be used with any destination.
e.g. – I want to get to Madiun before 9.00 p.m.
We can use go / come / return / arrive / get + home without a preposition :
e.g. – It takes twenty minutes to get home.
– They went home by taxi.
but if home is preceded or followed by a descriptive word or phrase, a preposition is necessary :
e.g. – She has returned to her parent’s home.
1.3. method of transport
1.3.1. traveling by car / bus / train / plane / hovercraft / sea / air
e.g. – Going by train ,nowadays, is one of the alternatives for businessmen because of the good facility.
1.3.2. on foot / bicycle / horseback
e.g. – After arriving at the gate of park, we should go around on foot.
– It will be enjoyable for us to go to the beach on bicycle because not only the scenery around it is so beautiful but also the air is still fresh.
1.4. preposition of place or position
1.4.1. at home, the office, a certain point / a position at a point, etc.
e.g. – She lives at 39 street avenue.
– I will wait for you at the office.
1.4.2. in a country, a town, a village, a square, a street, a room, a forest, a wood, a field, a desert, or any place which has boundaries / three dimensions ( length, breadth and depth).
e.g. – There was a terrible accident in Trunojoyo street.
– People can enjoy beautiful dancing fountain in the fantastic park near the shop centre.
1.4.3. in for the parts of the body is used with softer and more hollow parts of the body surface and can be used in talking about wounds and position inside the body.
e.g. – He hit those boys in their stomach and face.
– He was wounded in his shoulder. ( * see this sentence for comparison : He is carrying the basket on his shoulder)
We can be “at” or “in” a building. in means inside only and at could mean inside ( in the building or the grounds) or outside.
e.g. – You should ask the representatives of the demonstrators to come in for compromising. They have been at the building for almost two hours.
We can be “in” or “at” the sea, a river, lake, swimming pool, etc. “in” actually means in the water and “at the” means near / beside. But at sea means “ on ship”.
1.4.4. into indicates movement, entrance.
e.g. – I poured the liquid into the tube.
– A thief broke into my house last night but he didn’t take anything.
1.4.5. put in / into
e.g. – He always puts his hands in / into the pocket of his pants whenever he talks to someone.
1.4.6. on can be used for both position ( on a line or on a surface) and movement.
e.g. – He was sitting on his case while waiting for the his train.
– He went on board ship to kill his boredom.
– She kissed her son on both cheeks.
1.4.7. onto can be used when there is movement involving a change of level.
e.g. – He lifted his child onto his table.
– He climbed onto the roof to see the leaks.
1.4.8. above and over can both mean “ higher than”
e.g. – Listen ! A helicopter is hovering above / over us!
but over can mean” touching” or “ covering”, “across from one side to the other”, “ more than”.
e.g. – You should put a plastic over the table.
– The bridge will be built over the wide river.
– I paid him over one hundred million but the result is not satisfying.
1.4.9. below and under. Both mean “ lower than”, but under can indicate “ contact” and below has space between the two surfaces.
e.g. – They stayed below us when we lived in apartment.
– She put her letter from her boyfriend under the pillow.
“below” and “under” can also mean “ junior in rank “
e.g. – It seems that we won’t be able to compete because we are much under the other competitors.
1.4.10 beside = at the side of
e.g. – Tom’s chair number is 11 and it is 12, so she will sit beside him.
besides ( as preposition) is different. It means “ in addition to “
e.g. – Besides working in this company, I write some books.
1.4.11 between normally relates a person / thing to two other persons / things.
e.g. – Her right side is Tom while Rony is on her left, so she is between the two boys.
1.4.12 among relates a person / thing to more than two others
e.g. – There is a small village among the hills and we can reach it before the dark if we hurry up.
– It is happy to be among our good friends again after a long holiday.
e.g. – She is in the second row and Tony in the first, so she is behind him.
1.4.14 in front of
e.g. – He stood in front of her
( = He stood with his back to her or he faced her but if they are having meal, he is sitting at one side of the table and she is at the other, the sentence becomes “ he is sitting opposite her. opposite means “ facing front to front or back to back”).
1.5. preposition + noun
1.5.1. (to do something) by accident, by chance, by mistake
e.g. – In the beginning we met by chance at the party and two years after we got married.
1.5.2. ( art work ) by + name
e.g. – I have a collection of novels by John Grisham because I like to study law.
– Our family bought a painting by Basuki Abdullah last year but it was stolen.
1.5.3. in love with
e.g. – The girl standing near the cafe is in love with you. She always asks about you whenever she meets me.
1.5.4. in (my) opinion
e.g. – In my opinion the performance is not bad. It’s good enough for the beginner.
1.5.5. ( to be ) on fire, on the telephone / phone, (to be / to go ) on a diet, on strike, on vacation / business / a trip / a tour .
e.g. – The house was on fire when we arrived.
– Those students were going on trip when the accident happened.
1.6. preposition used with certain adjectives and participles
1.6.1. of is used after afraid, ashamed, aware, capable, composed, fond, frightened, nervous, scared, suspicious, terrified, tired.
e.g. – I was afraid of making her disappointed.
– Are you aware of the risk ?
– They were tired of waiting.
1.6.2. to is used after according, accustomed, due, exposed, liable, owing, used.
e.g. – According to his information, there is a vacancy in this company.
– Don’t worry, she will be accustomed to the hard work.
1.6.3. in is used after absorbed, interested, involved, successful.
e.g. – I am interested in your ideas.
– He is absorbed in his book
( = his book takes much of his attention /interest/ time)
1.6.4. for is used after anxious, fit, inclined, ready, sorry (about)..
e.g. – She is always anxious for her promotion.
– Are you ready for the next interview ?
1.6.5. at is used after astonished, bad, clever, good, shocked, skillful, startled, surprised.
e.g. – He is good at Mathematics but bad at languages.
– We are all astonished at your failure in exam.
1.6.6. on is used after keen
e.g. – Most teenagers are keen on this music.
1.6.7. with (+ a person for doing something ) used after angry, cross, furious, upset, annoyed, disappointed, impressed, pleased.
e.g. – I was pretty angry with him for not calling me up.
– Why are you so upset with them ?
1.7. prepositions follow the verbs.
1.7.1. of used after consist, die, dream (of being… = imagine), take care, think, remind, accuse / suspect someone :
e.g. – We always dream of having our own swimming pool in our garden.
– This book consists of twenty chapter.
1.7.2. to used after agree (to a thing), attend, belong, happen, listen, object, refer, speak, talk. write.
e.g. – Why don’t you attend to that meeting ?
– This sentence refers to the previous one.
1.7.3. in used after believe, persist, succeed.
e.g. – You should believe in your own capability.
– She persisted in working with him.
1.7.4. for is used after apologize (to someone), apply, ask, beg, blame, care(= like something, look after), hope, long, look, prepare, punish, wait, wish.
e.g. – I will apologize to her for troubling her sister yesterday.
– We have longed for the true justice since he governed our country.
1.7.5. on is used after concentrate, depend, insist, live, rely.
e.g. – We all depend on your decision.
– Some villagers still live on planting the rice though many others have moved to town.
1.7.6. at is used after arrive, laugh, look, shoot, shout (when someone is angry), smile, throw.
e.g. – Why are they laughing at me?
– Don’t shout at me! I am not deaf.
1.7.7. with is used after agree ( with a person), argue, compare, meet ( = have a meeting).
e.g. – Why does she always agree with him though he often makes a wrong decision?
– We are going to meet with the manager to talk about our salary.
1.7.8. about is used after care, complain ( to someone), dream, think.
e.g. – The people complain to the local government about the badly polluted air in their region.
– She always cares about her children’s health.
If we use adverb particles such as, up, down, back, over, out, off, forward, along, away, etc. after verbs, we call this combination a phrasal verb and mostly changes the meaning of the verb. The noun after it is the object of the whole phrase and sometimes is directly the object of the verb. Here are some examples of this group
2.1. inseparable two-word verbs
2.1.1. bear upon / on : have a relation, have influence, be relevant to.
e.g. – There are matters which bear upon / on the welfare of the community.
2.1.2. call for : demand, require
e.g. – The problem calls for immediate action.
2.1.3. carry on with : continue doing something.
e.g. – They decided to carry on with their expedition in spite of the bad weather.
2.1.4. come across : find or meet by chance.
e.g. – I came across the missing data when I opened these documents.
2.1.5. come by (something): receive by accident or chance.
e.g. – How did they come by the ancient thing ?
2.1.6. count on / upon: expect with confidence.
e.g. – The people count on / upon the change of the political and economical atmosphere.
2.1.7. drop out : cease to compete (in taking part in a contest), not take part, give up the idea ( of engaged thing)
e.g. – One of the contestants dropped out because of the injured leg.
– You had better dropped out of that silly club. It’s really useless.
2.1.8. fall behind ( with something) : fail to keep level with, go too slow, not keep up with.
e.g. – Our country’s ability in technology still falls behind with the other developing ones.
2.1.9. catch up with: come up to ( = reach) somebody who is going in the same direction, do all the work that hasn’t been done yet
e.g. – You go first and I will catch up with you.
– We must catch up with the increasing of science.
2.1.10. reckon on / upon : depend on, base one’s hope on.
e.g. – Human life reckons on the clean environment.
2.1.11. get down to something : deal seriously with, have relation with.
e.g. – You will get down to the unsolved problem if you don’t change your mind.
2.1.12. get over something: recover from (illness, surprise, lost)
e.g. – He never gets over the shock of being tortured.
get over somebody : forget.
e.g. – You should get over him if you want to live better.
2.1.13. go over something : examine the details of, study or repeat carefully, review, look at, inspect.
e.g. – They will have gone over our proposal by next month.
– They are going to go over this factory if they are interested in buying this product.
2.1.14. look into something: investigate, examine, look at the inside of the depth.
e.g. – Would you look into the report they sent to us yesterday?
– He is looking into the pool with a strange tool.
2.1.15. run into somebody : meet unexpectedly / accidentally.
e.g. – He told me that he had run into his ex-wife a week before.
2.1.16. see to something : make arrangement, put right , repair.
e.g. – We are sure that he will be able to see to this machine because he is the best here.
2.1.17. touch on : treat a subject briefly.
e.g. – Don’t only touch on this case. You must go over it !
2.2. separable two-word verbs ( means that the object usually in pronoun can be put between them)
2.2.1. add up : find the sum
e.g. – We should add up all the purchase soon OR we should add them up.
2.2.2. bring up(somebody): educate for the moral and the social training.
e.g. – Those children must be brought up tenderly.
bring up something : mention.
e.g. – At the last meeting, he brought up the problem of continuing the project.
2.2.3. call in : ask someone for certain purpose / to come to the house to perform some service.
e.g. – The police have been called in to search for the evidence and they are inside now.
2.2.4. call off : cancel (= say that something which is already arranged or decided won’t be done or something which is not started yet or abandon), give up something already in progress.
e.g. – The director called off the opening ceremony for his new operation.
2.2.5. carry on : continue ( doing usually work or duty)
e.g.- They shouldn’t carry on this experiment though it’s been for a year because it’s useless.
2.2.6. clean up ( a mess): make tidy and clean, put in order.
e.g. – Clean up this room before they reach this place!
2.2.7. close down : shut permanently ( of a shop or business)
e.g. – The government will close down the shop which is found selling illegal drugs.
2.2.8. cross out : remove by drawing a line through.
e.g. – The first company has been crossed out in this project because of their incompetence.
2.2.9. cut down (something) : cause to fall by cutting.
e.g. – Irresponsible men cut down so many trees that there is always a big flood in the villages near the hill.
cut down somebody : kill or injure by striking with a sword or other edged weapon.
e.g. – The swordsman had cut down his enemies in cool blood.
2.2.10. eat up: finish eating.
e.g.- The quests ate up all the dishes the host served because of their delicious taste.
2.2.11. figure out : calculate, solve a problem.
e.g. – He is really a professional. We figure him out.
– It is difficult to figure out this matter . Let them do it.
2.2.12. hand out : distribute.
e.g. – Though he has handed out the copies of evidence, no one believes them.
2.2.13. fill in : add what is necessary to make complete.
e.g. – After filling in this table, we should check the others.
2.2.14. look up something : search for ( word in dictionary or facts in a reference book)
e.g. – This is very absurd explanation, so I promise to look it up in reference book)
look up somebody : visit
e.g. – He never looked up his sick mother till she was died.
2.2.15. put off ( an action) : postpone, put an arrangement to a later date.
e.g. – Why should we put off the meeting ? It’s ridiculous.
2.2.16. see off somebody : accompany a traveler to his boat, plane, train, etc.
e.g. – Look at the people seeing off their relatives or family! They are kissing, waving their hands or crying.
2.2.17. try on : put on ( an article of clothing) to see if it fits.
e.g. – The designer is trying on his new design to a doll.
2.2.18. write out : write the whole off
e.g. – The punished student must write out the homework himself.
Compare the following sentences :
- When did you begin to interest in social work ?
He insisted on doing this disgusting job
- It is late to call in the doctor. He is dead !
The headmaster wants us to carry on with our activity
- We will examine certain plants in this area.
The girl with blue eyes comes from Finland.
* In the first two sentences (no.1), the noun after preposition is the object of the preposition. This combination , verb + preposition + noun (phrase) , is called prepositional verb. Particular verbs which are followed by certain preposition can be seen in no. 1.6 and 1.7.
* Number two is the examples of phrasal verbs.
* We call a prepositional phrase for the structure of preposition + pro (noun) in the last two sentences. (no.3) It is not necessary to use a particular verb with certain preposition.
The important thing to pay attention to is if there is an adjective clause in the sentence, it has to be placed after the prepositional phrase :
e.g. The men in blue whom the trainer will train fit to their uniform (NOT The men whom the trainer will train in blue fit to their uniform)