Prepositions form a small but very important word class. We use prepositions very frequently. In fact, the prepositions to, of, in, for, on, with, at, by, from are all in the top 25 words in English. If you can understand and correctly use prepositions, it will greatly improve your fluency. And remember, there are not very many prepositions. There are only 150 prepositions and we only use about 70 of these commonly. The following rules will help you understand and use prepositions correctly.
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1. A preposition must have an object
All prepositions have objects. If a 'preposition' does not have an object it is not a preposition—it's probably an adverb. A preposition always has an object. An adverb never has an object. Look at these example sentences:
- They are inthe kitchen. (preposition in has object the kitchen)
Please come in. (adverb in has no object; it qualifies come)
- There was a doorway before me. (preposition before has object me)
I had never seen it before. (adverb before has no object; it qualifies seen)
- I will call after work. (preposition after has object work)
He called soon after. (adverb after has no object; it qualifies called)
2. pre-position means place before
The name “preposition” indicates that a preposition (usually) comes before something (its object):
- I put it in the box.
But even when a preposition does not come before its object, it is still closely related to its object:
- Whodid you talk to? / I talked to Jane.
3. A pronoun following a preposition should be in object form
The noun or pronoun that follows a preposition forms a ‘prepositional object’. If it is a pronoun, it should therefore be in the objective form (me, her, them), not subjective form (I, she, they):
- This is from my wife and me.
- That’sbetweenhim and her.
- Mary gave it tothem.
4. Preposition forms
Prepositions have no particular form. The majority of prepositions are one-word prepositions, but some are two- or three-word phrases known as complex-prepositions:
- one-word prepositions(before, into, on)
- complex prepositions(according to, but for, in spite of, on account of)
5. to preposition and to infinitive are not the same
Do not confuse the infinitive particle “to” (to sing, to live) with the preposition “to” (to London, to me).
to as preposition
- I look forward to lunch
I look forward to seeing you
I look forward to see you
- They are committed to the project.
They are committed to keeping the price down.
They are committed to keep the price down.
- I am used to cars.
I am used to driving.
I am used to drive.
to as infinitive particle
- They used to live in Moscow.
- They love to sing.
6. The golden preposition rule
A preposition is followed by a 'noun'. It is NEVER followed by a verb.
Read more about this important preposition rule here.
Anyone who has ever had to memorize a tough-to-spell English word (It’s fuchsia, right? Or is it fuschia? Fushia?) has noticed that the spelling of some words is wildly different from the way we pronounce them. To make matters worse, some words are spelled differently in American English and British English. If it makes you feel any better, the eccentricities of English spelling weren’t invented just to make life difficult for writers.
Around Shakespeare’s time, when spelling was first becoming standardized, the spelling of most English words was mostly phonetic—or at least more phonetic than it is today. For example, English speakers did once pronounce the k at the beginning of words like knife and knee. But even though no one has pronounced knee as “kuh-nee” in centuries, we still hang on to the old spelling.
Fortunately, there are a few rules of thumb that can help when you’re faced with a word you’re not sure how to spell.
Spelling Rule 1: I Before E, Except After C
The rule goes like this:
I before E, Except after C,unless it sounds like A,as in neighbor or weigh
There are many exceptions to this rule—maybe it’s better to think of it as a guideline—but it can be helpful with words like the ones below.
I before E
Except before C
Unless it sounds like A
seize, either, weird, height, foreign, leisure, conscience, counterfeit, forfeit, neither, science, species, sufficient
Spelling Rule 2: Adding Suffixes to Words that End in Y
When you add a suffix that starts with E (such as -ed, -er, or -est) to a word that ends in Y, the Y usually changes to an I.
- Cry – cried – crier
- Dry – dried – drier
- Lay – laid (note the irregular spelling: no E)
- Baby – babies
- Family – families
- Ugly – ugliest
The Y doesn’t change for the suffix -ing.
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If the word in question has two consonants before the Y, change the Y to I before adding the suffix ‑ly.
- Sloppy – sloppily
- Happy – happily
- Scary – scarily
Of course, there are always exceptions:
Spelling Rule 3: The Silent E
Typically, an E after a consonant at the end of a word is silent, but it does affect the way you pronounce the vowel that comes before the consonant. The E makes the vowel sound of the word (or syllable) long (like the I sound in kite) instead of short (like the I sound in kitten). It’s important to get the silent E right, because its presence or absence can change the meaning of a word.
When adding a suffix like -ed, -er or -est, the silent E is usually dropped from the end of the root word.
Spelling Rule 4: Double Consonants
Watch out for double consonants. It can be difficult to hear them when a word is said aloud—especially if the word has only one syllable. Double consonants are frequently found in words that have suffixes added to them:
Some words can be pronounced as either one or two syllables, but the spelling remains the same:
On fire meaning. Is represented as the symbol of Jehovahs presence and the instrument of his power, in the way either of approval or of destruction. ( Exodus 3:2; 14:19) etc.There could not be a better symbol for Jehovah than this of fire, it being immaterial, mysterious, but visible, warming, cheering, comforting, but also terrible and consuming. A fire that warms and comforts us is different from a fire which causes fear and excruciating pain. The objects and people associated with the fire are also important. This is why in dream interpretation, it is important to remember the details of our dream, for example through the use of a dream journal.
Be particularly careful with words where a double consonant can change the pronunciation and the meaning of the word.
Spelling Rule 5: Plural Suffixes
When do you add ‑s and when do you add ‑es to make a plural? It’s not quite as arbitrary as it may seem. The rule is this: if a word ends in ‑s, ‑sh, ‑ch, ‑x, or ‑z, you add ‑es.
For all other endings, add ‑s.
Most Important Grammar Rules In English
Be careful of words that don’t change when they’re pluralized (e.g., fish, sheep, moose). If you’re unsure, check the dictionary.
Most Important Rules Of English Grammar Pdf
Be sure to also check out this list of commonly confused words to help you choose the right spelling of words with similar meanings and pronunciations.