Using the Wrong Preposition

Most common collocation mistakes which usually Non-native English learners commit.

using the prepositions

Deprive of, not from:

Don’t say: Nelson Mandela was deprived from his freedom.

Say: Nelson Mandela was deprived of his freedom.

Die of an illness, not from an illness:

Don’t say: Many people have died from Malaria.

Say: Many people have died of Malaria.

NOTE: People die of illness, of hunger, of thirst, of or from wounds; from overwork, by violence, by the sword, by pestilence, in battle, for their country, for a cause, through neglect, on the scaffold, at the stake

Different from, not than:

Don’t say: My book is really different than yours.

Say: My book is really different from yours.

Disappointed by, about or at, not from:

A- by/at/ about:

Don’t say: Phillipa was disappointed from the low mark she got in test.

Say: Phillipa was disappointed by/about/at the low marks she got in the test.

B- with/ in:

Don’t say: Jane was disappointed from her son.

Say: Jane was disappointed with/in her son.

NOTE: Before a person we use with or in, before a thing we use at, about or by and before a gerund we use at: Keith is very disappointed at not winning the prize.

Divide into parts, not in parts:

Don’t say: I divided the cake in four parts.

Say: I divided the cake into four parts.

NOTE: A thing can be divided in half or in two: Paul divided the apple in half (or in two).

No doubt (n) of or about, not for:

Don’t say: I’ve no doubt for his ability.

Say: I’ve no doubt of/about his ability.

NOTE: Doubtful of: I’m doubtful of his ability to pass.

Dressed in, not with:

Don’t say: The woman was dressed with black.

Say: The woman was dressed with black.

NOTE: The woman was in black is also right.

Exception to, not of:

Don’t say: This is an exception of rules.

Say: this is an exception to rules.

NOTE: We say with the exception of: She like all her subjects with the exception of physics.

Exchange for, not by:

Don’t say: He exchanged his collection of match boxes by some foreign stamps.

Say: He exchanges his collection of matchboxes for some foreign stamps.

NOTE: In exchange for: He gave them his old car in exchange for a new one.

Fail in, not from:

Don’t say: he failed from maths last year.

Say: He failed in maths last year.

Full of, not with or from:

Don’t say: The jar was full with/from oil.

Say: The jar was full of oil.

NOTE: Fill takes with: jane filled the glass with water


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