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Prepositional verbs, e.g. wait for

A Introduction

A prepositional verb is a verb + preposition.

I'm waiting for you. The dog belongs to our neighbours. The preposition always goes before the object.

not I'm waiting you for. In questions the preposition usually goes at the end of the sentence (see Unit 38).

Who are you waiting for?

Some verbs can go with a number of different prepositions.

I'm looking at these photos. They're really good. I'm looking for my ticket. I can't find it anywhere. I'm looking after the children while their parents are out. The police are looking into the matter.

B Some common prepositional verbs

Here are some more examples.

Yes, I agree with you. Tom's neighbours apologized for the noise.

I approve of the new scheme. I think it's a good idea.

Have you applied for the job? The patient asked for a glass of water.

Do you believe in God? I'm sorry, but I don't care about your problems.

Lots of people care for elderly relatives. (= look after)

/ didn't care for the film. (= like) Please concentrate on your work.

The US consists of fifty states. I can deal with any enquiries.

Claire finally decided on a holiday in Turkey.

Whether we go out will depend on the weather. I feel like a drink. (= want)

Everyone laughed at the joke. I was listening to the radio.

Did you pay for the coffee? You can't rely on the weather forecast.

I'll see to the matter at once. Vicky suffers from headaches.

We do not normally use a preposition after these verbs:

answer, approach, control, demand, enter, expect, leave, reach, request

The President is entering the building, not He is entering into the building.

C About, of and to

We can use about after many verbs. Here are some of them:

ask, complain, dream, enquire, hear, know, learn, protest, speak, talk, think, wonder

Did you hear about the accident? Mark was talking about golf. We do not use about after discuss.

We discussed the problem, not We discussed about the problem.

Note the meaning of dream of, hear of and think of.

I'd never tell you a lie. I wouldn't dream of it.

Who's Ron Mason? ~ I don't know. I've never heard of him.

Did you like the play? What did you think of it?

We can apologize to, complain to, talk to and write to a person.

I'm writing to my sister. We talked to Natasha about classical music. We do not use to after phone.

I'm phoning the office, not I'm phoning to the office.

70 Verb + preposition + ing-form


126 Exercises

1 Prepositions with look (A)

Complete the conversation between Laura and her friend Olivia. Put in after, at, far and into. Laura: Did you say you were looking (►)for an au pair?

Olivia: Yes, I was just looking (1) ...................... this advertisement.

We need someone to look (2)………………. our children.

Laura: Do you have to pay an au pair?
Olivia: I'm not sure. I'll have to look (3)………………..how it all works.

2 Some common prepositional verbs (B)

This is part of a letter that Melanie has received from an old friend. Put in these verbs and add a preposition after each one: agree, applied, ask, care, caring, concentrate, decided, pay, suffering



I'm working in a hospital now. I (►) applied for a nurse's job last July and started in August. I don't earn
much money, and I even had to (1)………………………… my uniform out of my own money. Perhaps I

should (2) ………………………….. a pay rise. But I don't really (3)…………………………. the money. The

work is the important thing. Of course it's very hard work (4) …………………………. the patients, and at the

moment I'm (5) …………………………. backache. But 1 knew it would be like this when I

(6)………………………..a career in nursing. I just try to forget all the problems and

(7)…………………………the job. I think it's a worthwhile thing to do, and I'm sure you

(8)………………………….me.

3 Some common prepositional verbs (B)

Put in the verbs and add a preposition if necessary.

Mark and Sarah had accepted an invitation to Mike and Harriet's party. Sarah had to stay late at work to

(►)see to (see) one or two things. Her boss really (1) .......................... …………………(relies) her.

It's usually Sarah who (2)………………… (deals) all the little problems.

Sarah didn't really (3) ………………………….. (feel) going to a party but thought she ought to keep Mark

company. She decided to go straight to the party instead of going home first.

She (4)………………………………(reached) the house just after nine. Mark was sitting in his car outside waiting

for her. He was (5) …………………………. (listening) the radio. Sarah (6)………………………… (apologized)

being late. At the party Mark talked to a strange woman who (7)……………………………(believed) ghosts.

Sarah met a man who kept (8)………………………… (laughing) his own jokes. She managed to get away

from him but couldn't avoid a woman who wanted to (9)…………………………. (discuss) house prices.

Mark and Sarah (10)………………………… (left) the party early and drove home feeling exhausted.

4 About, of and to (C)

Complete the conversation. Put in about, of or to.

David: Did you hear about my experience at the Quick Burger cafe?

Harriet: No. And I've never heard (►)of the Quick Burger cafe.

David: Oh, it's near the station. I was just talking (1)…………… Melanie about it. They took at least

twenty minutes to bring me a burger. I don't call that quick. I complained (2) .………….. the

waitress, and she poured a can of cola over me.
Harriet: Really? She must have had a bad day.
David: The manager wasn't there, so I've written (3)…………….. him to complain (4)…………… the

service. It was terrible. I wouldn't go there if I were you.
Harriet: I wouldn't dream (5)…………….. going there. I hate those burger places.


127 Verb + object + preposition

A Introduction

We can use some verbs in the structure: verb + object + preposition.

VERB OBJECT PREPOSITION

People admired Cleopatra for her beauty.

The trees protect the garden from the wind.

In the passive, the preposition comes after the verb.

Cleopatra was admired for her beauty. The garden is protected from the wind.

B Verb + object + preposition

Here are some more examples.

Tom accused Nick of cheating at cards. Can 1 add something to your list?

You should never aim/point a gun at someone.

The player was arrested/punished for hitting an opponent. Let's ask someone for directions.

The passengers blamed/criticized the airline for the delay.

I'll have to borrow the money from my parents.

If you compare these figures with/to last year, you can see the improvement.

1 congratulated Andrew on his excellent exam results.

Melanie cut/divided/split the pudding into four portions.

The cameras discourage/prevent motorists from speeding.

You should insure your camera against theft. It might get stolen.

Harriet has invited us to a party. 1 prefer hot weather to cold. I hate the cold.

The hotel provided/supplied us with a packed lunch. Most people regard Picasso as a great artist.

The two men robbed the woman of her savings. They stole £2,000 from her.

The restaurant was full. We shared a table with a young Swedish couple.

Mike doesn't spend much money on clothes.

Zedco suspected one of their managers of selling commercial secrets.

Don't forget to thank Tom for his help. Victor translated the letter into English.

C About, of and to

We can use about with tell and ask.

Did I tell you about my operation? Ask your travel agent about cheap flights. With inform we can use about or of.

You should inform everyone about/of the decision.

Look at these examples with warn.

A sign warned motorists about/of the danger, (warn of/about a danger)

A sign warned motorists about the hole in the road, (warn about something that might be dangerous) With remind, there is a difference in meaning between about and of.

Emma reminded me about my appointment. (= Emma told me not to forget.)

Emma reminds me of my sister. (= Emma is like my sister.)

We can write, describe or explain something to a person.

I've written several letters to the company. The woman described her attacker to the police.

3 Give something to someone 126 Wait for, belong to, etc


127 Exercises

1 Verb + object + preposition (B)

This is a sports commentary at the Olympic Games. Put in the correct prepositions, e.g. for, from.

So Australia's Steve Brearley wins the gold medal ahead of Germany's Klaus Schliemann and Ivan Podorosky of Bulgaria. They're just congratulating Brearley (►) on his victory. His speed over the first

kilometre split the runners (1) ................ two groups, and in the end it was a race between the three

leaders. Brearley prevented Schliemann (2)…………….. overtaking him in a sprint finish. I've always

regarded Brearley (3)……………... a great athlete, and look how well he's done today. I would even compare

him (4)…………….. the great Emil Kristo himself. There's no doubt now that Brearley will be invited

(5) ………………..... Oslo for the next World Championships. So the Australian runner adds another medal

(6)………………his collection. And Australia are doing really well in the medals table. In fact, they share
second place (7)…………........ the United States.

2 Verb + object + preposition (B)

People are saying some surprising things.

Complete the replies using a verb + object + preposition.

► Andrew: I've bought a lot of books. I've spent £300.
Emma: What? Have you really spent £300 on books ?

1 Jessica: I don't like wine. I prefer water.

Daniel: I don't believe that. Do you really................................................................

2 Melanie: You heard about David's accident. Well, he's blaming Tom.
Rita: But why? Why is he ...........................................................

3 Henry: I gave Claire a present, but she didn't thank me.

Sarah: Did you say she didn't...........................................................................................................................

4 Tom: The police say it's murder. They're accusing the head teacher.

Rita: What evidence do they have? How can they..................................................................................

3 Vicky: We had no towels. The hotel didn't provide them.

Rachel: Really? Why didn't they....................................................................

6 Natasha: It's my sister's wedding today, but she didn't invite me.

Emma: What! Do you mean she didn't............................................................................................

7 Nick: The team won a great victory, but no one congratulated them.
Trevor: Oh? And why didn't anyone...........................................................

8 David: A man pointed a gun. Melanie was terrified.

Harriet: You mean someone..................................................................................

13 About, of and to (C)

Put in about, of or to.

► The interviewer asked Mrs Miles about her parachute jump.

1 I've told the police …………… people throwing stones at our windows.

2 That man over there reminds me ................. … someone I know.

3 The man explained …………… the court that he had some personal problems.

4 Vicky is writing a letter................... her friends in Toronto.

5 There was a poster warning young people …………… the dangers of drugs.

6 Melanie had to remind Nick.................... the money he owed her.

7 We would like to inform our customers …………... a number of improvements in the service we offer.



Date: 2014-12-22; view: 1845


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