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So far, all of the prepositions we’ve looked at have been one word (and most of them have been one syllable). The most common prepositionsare one-syllable words. According to oneranking, the most common English prepositions are on, in, to, by, for, with, at, of, from, as.
There are also some prepositions that have more than one word:
in spite of (She made it to work in spite of the terrible traffic.) by means of (He traveled by means of boat.) except for (Joan invited everyone to her party except for Ben.) next to (Go ahead and sit down next to Jean-Claude.)
A lot of struggles with prepositions come from trying to use the correct preposition. Some verbs require specific prepositions. Here’s a table of some of the most commonly misused preposition/verb pairs:
|different from||comply with||dependent on||think of or about|
|need of||profit by||glad of||bestow upon|
Some verbs take a different preposition, depending on the object of the sentence:
|agree with a person||agree to a proposition||part from (a person)||part with (a thing)|
|differ from (person or thing)||differ from or with an opinion||confide in (to trust in)||confide to (to intrust to)|
|reconcile with(a person)||reconcile to(a statement or idea)||confer on (to give)||confer with (to talk with)|
|compare with (to determine value)||compare to (because of similarity)||convenient to (a place)||convenient for (a purpose)|
When multiple objects take the same preposition, you don’t need to repeat the preposition. For example, in the sentence “I’ll read any book by J.K. Rowling orR. L. Stine,” bothJ. K. Rowling andR. L. Stine are objects of the prepositionby,so it only needs to appear once in the sentence. However, you can’t do this when you havedifferent prepositions. Let’s look at this using a common phrase: “We fell out of the frying pan and into the fire.” If you leave out one of the prepositions, as in“We fell out of the frying pan and the fire,” the sentence is saying that we fell out of the frying panand out of the fire, which would be preferable, but isn’tthe case in this idiom.
Ending a Sentence with a Preposition