Problem areas: Prepositions


This page aims to help you to use prepositions correctly.


Although the number of prepositions in English is fixed, you have probably found that it is not an easy task to use them correctly. Precisely because there are only a few of them, they are used extremely frequently and in various combinations (e.g. verb + preposition, adjective + preposition, noun + preposition, and preposition + noun). Note that the use of prepositions is wrong in these two examples:

  • The researchers have found a number of solutions of the problem.  [solutions to]

  • All staff and students have great respect to Professor Greenberg.  [respect for]


1. Prepositional combinations

You can use a preposition with a noun, a verb, and/or an adjective.

  • In Li’s view, some students are incapable of learning effectively in the absence of any form of assessment.

  • Due to the budget cut, the new committee consists of only ten members, six of whom will be engaged in this investigation.

Some commonly used combinations in academic communication are given below:

With nouns: at a glance in due course solution to on average on the whole
With verbs: comment on account for convince of stem from distinguish from
With adjectives:   confused by related to devoted to aware of satisfied with

2. No prepositions

Some verbs take a direct object and you should not use a preposition after them.

  • In the seminar, we discussed various issues related to the future development of robots.

  • Our department emphasises the excellence and applicability of industry-oriented research.



Fill in all the gaps with prepositions, then press "Check" to check your answers. Use the "Hint" button to get a free letter if an answer is giving you trouble. Note that you will lose points if you ask for hints or clues!


1. The students are given a week to prepare the test.

2. The researchers have found a number of solutions the problem

3. Hard work is the key success.

4. Jim apologised the lecturer missing the assessment.

5. No one can account the disappearance of the money.

6. The alleged murderer mentioned his financial difficulties the police investigation.

7. Students are encouraged to participate more activities during their university life.

8. You can distinguish sample A sample B by the size of the cells.

9. It is vital that you insure your house fire and other accidents.

10. The new virus presents a threat all PC users.


Last updated on: Monday, March 26, 2012