Certain verbs, adjectives and nouns naturally take certain prepositions when placed in a sentence – these are called dependent prepositions.
For example, you can object to (something), participate in (something), complain about (something).
Unfortunately there are no fixed rules that can help you decide which dependent prepositions should be placed with which words, you really just need to learn them.
Remember that sometimes usage of different dependent prepositions change the meaning.
Dependent prepositions example 1:
He is angry with us. (angry with ‘someone’)
He is angry about the problem. (angry about ‘a situation’)
Dependent prepositions example 2:
He is good at football (meaning he has skill / ability in something – he is good at (playing) football).
She is good with children (meaning she has a positive relationship with / has an affinity with…).
A teacher for example, might be good at teaching English and may be good with their students.
The best way to learn more about dependent prepositions is to make a list of your own, and then find sentences that use the structure. Google can be very useful for that. For example, if you were trying to remember that complain is generally followed by about, simply type in “complain about” in Google and see the results.
NOTE: It is important to use the speech marks (” “) around the phrase you are searching for so that only results with that phrase will come up.
More examples of dependent prepositions follow in the table below.
|Verbs and dependent prepositions||Adjectives and dependent prepositions||Nouns and dependent prepositions|
|abide by||according to||in agreement|
|abstain from||accustomed to||attack on|
|accuse (somebody) of||afraid of||attitude towards|
|add to||annoyed with/about/at||on behalf of|
|adhere to||anxious about||comparison between|
|agree with||ashamed of||on condition (that)|
|aim at/for||astonished at||connection between|
|allow for||attached to||cruelty towards|
|apologise to someone for something||aware of||decrease in|
|apply for||delighted at/about||delay in|
|approve of||different from||difference between/of|
|argue with/about||dissatisfied with||difficulty in/with|
|arrest (somebody) for||doubtful about||disadvantage of|
|ask for||enthusiastic about||in doubt|
|attend to||envious of||under guarantee|
|believe in||excited about||increase in|
|belong to||famous for||information about|
|blame (somebody) for||fed up with||intention of|
|boast about||fond of||knowledge of|
|borrow (something) from (somebody)||frightened of||need for|
|call for||friendly with||notice of|
|care for||good at||in order|
|choose between||guilty of||pleasure in|
|comment on||incapable of||in power|
|compare with||interested in||in practice|
|complain about||jealous of||preference for|
|concentrate on||keen on||protection from|
|conform to||kind to||reaction to|
|congratulate on||mad at/about||reason for|
|consent to||opposed to||reduction in|
|consist of||pleased with||report on|
|deal with||popular with||result of|
|decide on||proud of||rise in|
|excel at/in||puzzled by/about||at risk|
|excuse (somebody) for||safe from||room for|
|face up to||satisfied with||solution to|
|forgive (somebody) for||sensitive to(wards)||on strike|
|hear of/about||serious about||on suspicion of|
|hope for||sick of||under suspicion|
|insist on||similar to||in theory|
|interfere with/in||sorry for/about||in trouble|
|joke about||suspicious of||trouble with|
|laugh at||sympathetic to(wards)|
|lend (something) to (somebody)||tired of|
|listen to||typical of|
|long for||unaware of|
|mistake (somebody) for||used to|
|praise (somebody) for|
|present (somebody) with|
|prevent (somebody) from|
|provide (somebody) with|
|punish (somebody) for|
|save (somebody) from|
|sentence (somebody) to|
|talk to (somebody) about (something)|
|thank (somebody) for|
|warn (somebody) about|