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How are you use preposition correctly?

like 'to','for','of',these prepositions always confuse me.Does every verb related to certain fixed preposition or not? How do you usually choose and use them when you organize a sentence?Thanks for your replay.

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Uncategorized

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    Prepositions are a bit tricky in any language. In English, each preposition may have many meanings or uses that are quite different. For example, "for":

    Your mother called FOR you. (you "are the intended recipient")
    I exercised FOR an hour. ("throughout an entire" hour)
    I screamed FOR joy at the news. (I screamed "because I felt" joy)
    This tool is FOR cutting glass. (cutting glass is its "purpose" or "use")

    These words may also serve as other parts of speech. Many prepositions may also be adverbs:

    "I fell DOWN the stairs." ("down" is a preposition)
    "I fell DOWN." ("down" is an adverb)

    The same words may be other parts of speech, as well:

    "The young man was always thin and pale, FOR he had been sick since birth." ("for" is a conjunction)

    "I went TO the store." ("to" is a preposition)
    "I don't like TO study." ("to" is part of the infinitive form of the verb "to study")
    "After passing out, Mary came TO." ("to" is an adverb in the idiom "came to")

    Remember that the word "preposition" gives a hint about its meaning. "Pre-" means "before". And "position" means "where something is located". So, a preposition is a word that comes just before we tell where (or how) something is located. It MUST have a noun or pronoun BEFORE it, and a noun or pronoun AFTER it. The preposition tells how to "position" (i.e., move) the first noun/pronoun in relation to the second noun/pronoun. There is a simple test I use with students to help them decide whether or not a given word is a preposition. I call it the "two-hand test". Here is how it works:

    Ex: I have a letter here for you.

    I think that "for" is a preposition.

    [cont. below]

    1. I check to see if there is a noun or pronoun BEFORE "for". I found two: The pronoun "I" and the noun "letter". I choose the one CLOSEST to the word "for", which is "letter".

    2. I imagine that my left hand represents that word: "letter". I imagine that my left hand IS a letter. I make my hand flat with all my fingers together, to look like a letter.

    3. I then check to see if there is a noun or pronoun AFTER the word "for". There is: the pronoun "you".

    4. I will let my right hand represent "you". I stick one finger up, as if it were a person.

    5. Now, I hold my "letter" hand and my "you" hand in front of me and see if the word "for" tells me how to move them in relation to each other:

    "letter" FOR "you".

    Yes! The word "for" gives me the idea of moving the "letter" hand over toward "you".

    The word "for" is a preposition.

    Let's try another example:

    Ex: I let the dog out.

    I think the word "out" is a preposition.

    1. I check to see if there is a noun or pronoun BEFORE "out". I found two: The word "I" and the word "dog". I choose the one CLOSEST to the word "for", which is "dog".

    2. I imagine that my left hand represents that word: "dog". I imagine that my left hand IS a dog. I make my hand into a fist with the thumb up like a dog's head.

    3. I then check to see if there is a noun or pronoun AFTER the word "out". There isn't one. Therefore, "out" doesn't pass the two-hand test. It isn't a preposition.

    This is not foolproof, but it will help with many situations.

    Since every preposition MUST have an object (the "right hand" object above), every preposition starts a "prepositional PHRASE". It is best to learn prepositional PHRASES rather than trying to learn a list of prepositions. This way, you will be sure you are USING each preposition correctly when you do.

    [cont. below]

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