Something that I notice almost every day — whether I’m reading the paper, listening to the radio, or watching TV — is the misuse of prepositions. A preposition is defined in my dictionary as “…a word governing a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word or element…”. In less technical terms, prepositions are those little connector words that join words and/or phrases to other words and/or phrases. Words such as: of, from, for, to, by, in, on, after, before, with, etc.
A few of the biggest offenders that I see almost every day are:
bored with or by; NOT bored of
I was really bored by last night’s lecture.
Eventually I became bored with the whole thing.
capable of; NOT capable to
I knew they were capable of going further.
My father told me I was capable of doing greater things.
impressed with or by; NOT impressed of
Diane was quite impressed with Frank’s attitude.
Jason was impressed by their new approach to the issue.
These are just a few examples of some common transgressions. As I stated above, I see these types of errors in preposition usage every single day in the local newspaper; and I hear them made constantly on the radio as I work. In the case of television, you would think that many of those writers never took a course in basic English usage. When it comes to TV, I’m talking about both scripts for shows, and newscasts as well.
So, here’s a word of warning – if you are trying to improve your English by watching television or listening to the radio, don’t assume that everything you hear is correct. Often it isn’t. Really! So, if you read or hear something that doesn’t seem quite right, look it up.
There are many more examples I could give of incorrect preposition usage involving nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Below is a link to a list of more than one hundred examples of correct preposition usage involving common words and/or expressions:
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