Using the Wrong Preposition
Most common collocational mistakes which usually Non-native English learners commit.
Mistakes are often made by using the wrong preposition after certain words. The following list includes the words which most often give trouble :
Absorbed (=very much interest) in, not at.
Don’t say: The man was absorbed at his work.
Say: The man was absorbed in his work.
Accused of, not for.
Don’t say: She accused the man for stealing.
Say: she accused the man of stealing.
NOTE: Charge takes with: The man was charge with Murder.
Accustomed to, not with.
Don’t say: I’m accustomed with hot weather.
Say: I’m accustomed to hot weather.
NOTE: Also used to : He is used to the heat.
Afraid of, not from.
Don’t say: Laura is afraid from the dog.
Say: Laura is afraid of the dog.
Ashamed of, not from.
Don’t say: He is now ashamed from his conduct.
Say: He is now ashamed of his conduct.
NOTE: It isn’t correct to use ashamed of meaning shy. “Ashamed means feeling shame or guilt about something while shy means feeling nervous with someone. Instead of saying I’m ashamed (or shamed ) of my teacher, say: I’m shy of my teacher.
Arrived at, not to.
Don’t say: We arrived to the village at night.
Say: We arrived at the village at night.
NOTE: Use arrive in with countries and large cities: Mr Smith arrived in London (or New York, India, etc.)
Anxious (troubled) about, not for.
Don’t say: They are anxious for his health.
Say: They are anxious about his health.
NOTE: Anxious meaning wishing very much takes for: parents are anxious for their children’s success.
Angry with, not against.
Don’t Say: The teacher was angry against him.
Say: The teacher was angry with him.
NOTE1: We get angry with a person but at a thing: He was angry at weather (not with weather)
NOTE2: Also annoyed with, vexed with, indignant with a person, but at a thing.
Aim at, not on or against.
Don’t say: She aimed on (or against) the target.
Say: She aimed at the target.
NOTE: Use the preposition at to denote direction. throw at, shout at, fire at, shoot at. Shoot (without the at) means to kill: He shot a bird (= He hit and killed it.)
Believe in, not to.
Don’t say: We believe to God.
Say: We believe in God.
NOTE: To believe in means to have faith in. To believe (without the in) means to regard something as true: I believe everything he says.
Boast of or about, not for.
Don’t say: James boasted for his strength.
Say: James boasted of (or about) his strength.
Careful of, with or about, not for.
Don’t say: Elke is very careful for his health.
Say: Elke is very careful of/about her health.
Or: You should be more careful with your money.
NOTE: Take care of: He takes care of his money.
Travel by train, etc. not with the train, etc.
Don’t say: He traveled with the train yesterday.
Say: He traveled by train yesterday.
NOTE: We say: by train, by boat, by plain, by bike; also, by land, by sea, by air, by bus; in a bus or on a bus; by car or in a car, by taxi or in a taxi; on horse-back, on a donkey, on a bicycle; on foot.
Complain about, not for.
Don’t say: Annette complained for the weather.
Say: Annette complained about the weather.
NOTE: When talking about illness we use Complain of. We say complained of a sore throat.
Composed of, not from.
Don’t say: Our class is composed from thirty students.
Say: Our class is composed of thirty students.
Congratulate on, not for.
Don’t say: I congratulate you for the New Year.
Say: I congratulate you on the New Year.
Covered with, not by.
Don’t say: The Mountains are covered by snow.
Say: The Mountains are covered with/in snow.
Cure of, not from.
Don’t say: The man was cured from his illness
Say: The man was cured of his illness.
NOTE: The noun “cure” takes for: There’s no cure for that disease.
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