(This is a list of expressions which often cause problems.
For the use of of with determiners, )
ability at (NOT in)
- She shows great ability at mathematics.
afraid of (not -by-)
- Are you afraid of spiders?
agree with a person
I entirely agree with you.
agree about a subject of discussion
We agree about most things.
agree on a matter for decision
Let’s try to agree on a date.
agree to a suggestion
I’ll agree to your suggestion if you lower the price.
angry with (sometimes at) a person for doing something
I’m angry with her for not telling me.
angry about (sometimes at) something What are you so angry about?
apologize for I must apologize for disturbing you.
arrive at or in (NOT to-)
- What time do we arrive at Cardiff?
When did you arrive in England?
bad at (NOT to)
I ‘m not bad at tennis.
believe in God, Father Christmas etc ( = believe that_. . . exists)
I half believe in life after death.
believe a person or something that is said ( = accept as true)
Don’t believe her. I don’t believe a word she says.
blue with cold, red with anger
My hands were blue with cold when I got home.
We called him Thomas, after his grandfather.
clever at (NOT in)
I’m not very clever at cooking.
congratulate/congratulations on (NOT for)
I must congratulate you on your exam results.
Congratulations on your new job!
crash into (NOT against)
I wasn’t looking where I was going, and crashed into the car in front.
depend/dependent on (not from or -of)
We may play football — it depends on the weather.
He doesn’t want to be dependent on his parents.
But: independent of
different from (sometimes to; American from or than)
You’re very different from your brother.
difficulty with something, (in) doing something (not difficulties to …)
I’m having difficulty with my travel arrangements.
You won’t have much difficulty (in) getting to know people in Italy.
disappointed with somebody
My father never showed it if he was disappointed with me. disappointed with/at/about something
You must be pretty disappointed with/at/about your exam results.
a discussion about something
We had a long discussion about politics. to discuss something (no preposition)
We’d better discuss your travel plans.
divide into (NOT m)
The book is divided into three parts.
dream of ( = think of, imagine)
I often dreamed of being famous when I was younger. dream about
Wha t does it mean if you dream about mountains ?
dress in (not with)
Who’s the woman dressed in green?
Granny drove into a tree again yesterday.
example of (not ter)
Sherry is an example of a fortified wine.
explain something to somebody (NOT explain somebody something)
Could you explain this rule to me?
get in(to) and out of a car, taxi or small boat
When I got into my car, I found the radio had been stolen. get on(to) and off a bus, train, plane or ship
We’ll be getting off the train in ten minutes.
good at (NOT -ht)
A re you any good at tennis ?
the idea of … -ing (not the idea to …)
I don t like the idea of getting married yet.
The boss has been ill with flu this week. impressed with/by
I’m very impressed with/by your work. independent of; independence of/from
She got a job so that she could be independent of her parents. When did India get her independence from Britain? insist on (not to- …)
George’s father insisted on paying. interest/interested in (NOT ter)
When did your interest in social work begin?
Not many people are interested in grammar.
kind to (NOT iwttfr)
People have always been very kind to me.
/ hate being laughed at. listen to
If you don’t listen to people, they won’t listen to you. look at ( = ‘point one’s eyes at’)
Stop looking at me like that.
look after ( = take care of)
Thanks for looking after me when I was ill.
look for ( = try to find)
Can you help me look for my keys?
marriage to; get married to (NOT wtttt)
Her marriage to Philip didn’t last very long.
How long have you been married to Sheila?
nice to (not -with-)
You weren ‘t very nice to me last night.
pay for something (NOT pay something)
Excuse me, sir. You haven’t paid for your drink.
pleased with somebody
The boss is very pleased with you. pleased with/about/at something I wasn’t very pleased with/about/at my exam results. polite to (NOT wtttt)
Try to be polite to Uncle Richard for once. prevent from -ing (NOT te . . .)
The noise of your party prevented me from sleeping proof of (NOT ter)
I want proof of your love. Lend me some money.
reason for (NOT of)
Nobody knows the reason for the accident.
She reminds me of a girl I was at school with.
Who’s responsible for the shopping this week?
rude to (NOT wtttt)
Peggy was pretty rude to my family last weekend.
run into ( = meet)
I ran into Philip at Victoria Station this morning.
search for ( = look for)
The customs were searching for drugs at the airport. search without preposition ( = look through; look everywhere in/on)
They searched everybody’s luggage.
They searched the man in front of me from head to foot.
I was terribly shocked at/by the news of Peter’s accident. shout at (aggressive)
If you don’t stop shouting at me I’ll come and hit you. shout to = call to Mary shouted to us to come in and swim.
If you smile at me like that I’ll give you anything you want.
sorry about something that has happened I’m sorry about your exam results. sorry for/about something that one has done I’m sorry for/about breaking your window. sorry for a person I feel really sorry for her children.
My wife is suffering from hepatitis.
Everybody was surprised at/by the weather.
take part in (not «t)
I don’t want to take part in any more conferences.
think of/about (NOT usually think to . . . )
I’m thinking of studying medicine.
I’ve also thought about studying dentistry.
the thought of … (NOT the thought to …)
I hate the thought of going back to work. throw … at (aggressive)
Stop throwing stones at the cars.
throw … to (in a game etc)
If you get the ball, throw it to me. typical of (NOT for)
The wine’s typical of the region. write: wrong with What’s wrong with Rachel today?