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The Challenge of Using Prepositions

Grammar Hour topic: Prepositions Prepositions are one of the hardest concepts for English language learners because there are no hard and fast rules Continue reading »

Grammar Hour topic: Prepositions

Prepositions are one of the hardest concepts for English language learners because there are no hard and fast rules about how prepositions can be used across the board. Most rules are specific to one or two words, and often, there are multiple prepositions that you can use with one word, but each one can have a different meaning.

For instance, here’s a sentence about location…

“Grammar Hour is held in Harrisonburg at JMU in Carrier Library on the third floor in room 247 at a table.”

Even though this sentence refers to the location of something, each place calls for a different preposition!

For native speakers, knowing which preposition to use is usually a matter of which one “sounds right.” We have grown up learning the language, so we are accustomed to using certain prepositions in certain phrases. You can imagine how difficult it is for English language learners to choose the proper preposition when they have not had years of English language immersion – they can’t necessarily tell which word “sounds right.”

Unfortunately, the only way to get around this challenge is to MEMORIZE all of the preposition and verb combinations! During our session last week, we went through a lot of different combinations of words and prepositions – and we practiced using them properly.

If you want to learn more about using prepositions, check out this handout. You can quiz yourself on the combinations, and practice using them in your daily speech and writing.

If you have any questions about this or any other grammar topic, come to Grammar Hour!

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