Prepositions are function words like "to", "over", "through", "in". The meaning of a sentence can be dramatically altered by choosing the wrong preposition.

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12answers
16k views

When is it appropriate to end a sentence in a preposition?

Like many others, I commonly find myself ending a sentence with a preposition. Yes, it makes me cringe. I usually rewrite the sentence, but sometimes (in emails) I just live with it. To, with... ...
60
votes
3answers
186k views

What is the difference between “till” and “until”?

What is the difference between till and until? When to use till or until? Please explain with examples.
56
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11answers
26k views

What is the difference between “it's up to you” and “it's down to you”?

I see both "It's up to you" and "It's down to you" in conversations. So what's the difference?
47
votes
4answers
97k views

'Made of' vs. 'Made from'

What is the basic difference between "made of" and "made from." Both expressions are used in English. For instance, "This chair is made of wood," and "Cream is made from milk." Though the question is ...
43
votes
3answers
118k views

When should “into” be used rather than “in to,” and vice versa?

"Into" (one word) and "in to" (two words) are frequently confused. In what situations should the former be used? The latter?
38
votes
4answers
16k views

When are “because”, “since”,“for” and “as” interchangeable?

I am not a native speaker. On a previous question of mine, I thanked for an answer by saying: So the phrase is not an idiom, since it is applied in its literal sense. I consciously chose since ...
37
votes
7answers
8k views

Why use “of” in the phrase “delivered of a baby”?

With all the "Royal baby" craze comes something that really confuses me. All the news media used pretty much the same sentence to make the announcement: The Duchess of Cambridge has been ...
31
votes
6answers
11k views

“between” vs. “among”

Today I was cut off in the middle of the following sentence: Between Cook, Strauss, and Pietersen— My friend said I was wrong. He said that for more than two entities, among/amongst are used, ...
30
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5answers
4k views

Is “I like dogs but cats” a valid sentence?

Is "I like dogs but cats" a valid sentence? This question comes from a debate with my friend. She says this sentence must be valid and gives an example of the Visual Studio string: "Close all but ...
29
votes
11answers
56k views

“Based on” instead of “based off of”

I sometimes see cases where off is followed by of, and it sounds awkward to me. For example, I would prefer This story is based on a true story. to This story is based off of a true story. ...
29
votes
6answers
48k views

Which is correct: “prefer X to Y” or “prefer X over Y”?

Many say that "prefer X to Y" has a more formal ring to it than "prefer X over Y". Are there any dialects where you wouldn't use "prefer X to Y" in colloquial speech at all? Conversely, are there any ...
29
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5answers
2k views

What are the historical processes of preposition coining in English?

RegDwight's excellent answer showing the historical usage of despite got me thinking about the processes by which new prepositions are coined. Prepositions are generally considered a closed class, and ...
27
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3answers
22k views

Is it “despite” or “despite of”?

Should I always use 'despite' instead of 'despite of'?
26
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9answers
3k views

Beer is made ___ yeast, water, hops, and malted barley

Which is the correct answer to fill in the gap in "Beer is made ____ yeast, water, hops and malted barley"? of from with out of I am leaning toward '2'. "Made from" can be used to describe a ...
25
votes
4answers
4k views

“Bad with something” or “bad at something”?

In a question on Spanish.StackExchange, a question came up about expressing that you are bad at remembering or doing something. Is one "bad at something" or "bad with something" (nouns)? What about ...
23
votes
6answers
109k views

“Call me through/at/on this number”

What is the difference between the following when referring to telephone calls? Please call me on this number. You can reach me on this number. Please call me at this number. You can reach ...
23
votes
1answer
10k views

When should I use “in” or “on”?

As it is common with people from my country, I have an immense difficulty with prepositions in English, especially with the use of in and on. When the preposition indicates the position of the ...
22
votes
4answers
31k views

“Sit in a chair” vs. “sit on a chair”

What is the correct usage? I know you sit 'on' a sofa/couch. What about chair?
22
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3answers
3k views

“This question has been asked at Stack Overflow” vs. “on Stack Overflow”

How should I phrase it: This question has been asked at Stack Overflow. Or, This question has been asked on Stack Overflow.
22
votes
8answers
13k views

Is it correct to say “on accident” instead of “by accident”?

There is a great chasm on these phrases in the US. The great divide seems to be currently centered at the age of 40. The younger generation has began shifting to "on accident" for unknown reasons. ...
20
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6answers
7k views

What does “I am married with three kids” mean?

Where did this come from? It sounds nasty to me (I am not a native speaker). But it seems correct. Can somebody explain this?
20
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3answers
63k views

“proficient <in/at/with>” What is the correct usage?

Which preposition is correct in the phrase "proficient in/at/with English"?
19
votes
5answers
74k views

“Fill out a form” or “fill in a form”

Does one fill out a form or does one fill in a form? I've gotten different answers from the people I've asked. Google search results: fill in a form — 14,200,000 fill out a form — ...
19
votes
3answers
89k views

“Thru” vs. “through”

Could anyone explain the differences between "thru" and "through"? Is the difference only in spelling? Is "thru" some sort of slang?
19
votes
6answers
37k views

“Replace with” versus “replace by”

I often see "replace with" and "replace by" used interchangeably, but this doesn't sound right to me: I replaced that component by this one. I would use "with" in such a sentence. "By" only ...
18
votes
5answers
13k views

What is the distinction between “among” and “amongst”?

It seems amongst is quite often used as a synonym for among but it is supposed to sound more distinguished. Is there any difference in the meaning?
17
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3answers
8k views

“Make something out of” or “Make something with”?

So there was a fill in quiz I had to do, and there was a question it says: Bill can make a doghouse _ paper. That's cool. I filled in 'out of'. Bill can make a doghouse out of paper. And ...
17
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5answers
27k views

“In the Internet” vs. “on the Internet”

When should I use "in the Internet" and when "on the Internet"?
17
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3answers
119k views

“Consist in” vs. “consist of”

I would like to have this clear once and for all: What is the correct use of consist in / consist of? "Meditation consists in/of attentive watchfulness." "The body consists in/of cells." ...
17
votes
5answers
6k views

ON an American street, but IN a British one. Do the twain ever meet?

In the United States, we say that someone lives on a street, whereas I've noticed that British people say in. For instance: Bubba lives on Washington Street. Colin lives in Cavendish Avenue. I ...
17
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3answers
20k views

“Compared with” vs “Compared to”—which is used when?

Is only one of them correct? Are they used in different situations? Or are they interchangeable?
16
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3answers
71k views

“Solution for” or “solution to” a problem?

I need to find a solution to/for this problem. Can to and for be used interchangeably here? Is one of them just plain wrong?
16
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3answers
30k views

“Need of” vs. “need for”

Is "need of religion" grammatically incorrect as opposed to "need for religion"? Or "need of salt" vs. "need for salt"?
16
votes
3answers
6k views

Origin/reason for the expression “on the bus” instead of “in the bus”

This is sort of a follow up to my question here. I was told a while ago that the reason why we use "on the bus" instead of "in the bus" is because back in the day buses were open, that is, they ...
16
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4answers
80k views

“At” or “in” the office?

When do you use at the office? And when do you use in the office? What's the difference between the phrases?
16
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3answers
11k views

“In order to…”, “To…” or “For…”

What preposition should we use to start a sentence where we first explain a purpose and then a method to achieve it? Example 1 Purpose = pass the exams Method = study a lot In order to pass the ...
15
votes
2answers
10k views

Why is 'to' not used before 'home'?

While learning English, I was taught not to put 'to' in front of 'home'. I.e. "go to home" is incorrect, you should say "go home". Is there a reason (maybe historical) for this?
15
votes
9answers
25k views

At Night or In the Night?

Why do we refer to morning, afternoon and evening as 'in the morning', 'in the afternoon', 'in the evening' but not 'in the night' instead we say 'at night.'
15
votes
7answers
129k views

Difference between “at” and “in” when specifying location

I am used to saying "I am in India.". But somewhere I saw it said "I am at Puri (Oriisa)". I would like to know the differences between "in" and "at" in the above two sentences.
15
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3answers
77k views

“Congratulate for” vs. “congratulate on”

Which is correct? I congratulated him for coming first in the race. I congratulated him on coming first in the race.
14
votes
7answers
52k views

“In time” versus “on time”

Which one is correct: Submit your work in time. Submit your work on time.
14
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9answers
6k views

Do I travel “up” or “down” to London from north of the city?

I am travelling geographically down the country from north of the city of London. Do I state "I am travelling down to London" or do I state "I am travelling up to London" in reference to its capital ...
14
votes
6answers
49k views

“on the train” or “in the train”?

Which of these is correct: "I am on the train" or "I am in the train"?
14
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1answer
32k views

Independent/independently of/from

Which of these are correct, and why? Suggestions for rephrasing it are also welcome. [noun] was developed independently of [noun] [noun] was developed independently from [noun] [noun] ...
14
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4answers
73k views

Get hold of, get ahold of, get a hold of

Under what circumstances would you prefer one of the below over others? a) Get hold of, b) Get ahold of, c) Get a hold of
13
votes
4answers
834 views

Two children from/with/by my ex-husband

Are all of the following sentences OK? I have two children with my ex-husband. I have two children from my ex-husband. I have two children by my ex-husband. Do they mean the same ...
13
votes
5answers
32k views

What does 'ten of six' mean in regard to time?

I am referring of course to the expression describing time. Today a corporate trainer (From north Philadelphia) that is teaching a class at my company used it in the context that the current time was ...
13
votes
3answers
29k views

“Translate into” vs. “Translate to”

Does one translate a word or phrase into another language or to another language? For example: Translate the following phrase to Spanish. Translate the following phrase into Spanish.
13
votes
4answers
4k views

Why “half past” and not “half to”?

When telling time and 30 minutes has gone past an hour, we say “half past”. For instance, half past 4 or half past 5. Why can’t we also say “half to”. For instance, half to 5 or half to 6? Shouldn’t ...
13
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7answers
7k views

Logical meaning of the word “understand”

To understand something means to be aquainted with it, to know it very well, know how it "ticks". This is one of the basic words that has a direct "meaning" in mind. However, if we "dissect" it, is ...