Is there any online dictionary or database of prepositional phrases? What I would like is to enter e. g. "justification" and it would give me: "justification to somebody", "justification of something", and other possibilities (optionally with description of the meaning of each phrase).

I found this website http://www.englishpage.com/prepositions/verb_preposition.html. This is almost what I want, but it contains only few examples. I am looking for more complete list. Maybe some online dictionary might provide me with what I want, but dictionary.reference.com, which I use, does not list prepositional phrases with words (right?).

  • 1
    Wouldn't any dictionary do that?
    – user1579
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 21:41
  • 5
    I am a bit confused. Justification is not a verb.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 21:46
  • 1
    That's also right, actually I wasn't sure about what to answer but I guess he got confused?
    – Alenanno
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 21:48
  • Justification is indeed noun. I mean any part of speech, not only verbs. I have updated my question.
    – Steves
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 13:29
  • Then you're asking the use of prepositions in ANY context? That's quite a wide thing :D
    – Alenanno
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 7:37

1 Answer 1


You're asking about Government in Linguistics, right? I think the best way (and maybe the only one, even if I'm not aware of such lists available for English since it's not really a Case-based language) is to study each verb on its own.

But try searching these keywords: government verbs, etc.

Don't confuse this with Phrasal Verbs, which are something slightly different:
"Government" in Linguistics means what "case" the verb governs, while a Phrasal verb is a verb which, put together with a preposition, usually, changes its meaning!

For example:

To find = Who? What?

The verb "to find" here governs an accusative case, which usually means Direct Object. You find someone/something not "prep. + someone/something".

But if you say:

To find out = What? (edit: there exists also "to find someone out" but even here the meaning slightly changes, although this wasn't the point.)

Here "to find out" doesn't mean "to find something outside" (I'm making it an extreme example to make it clearer), but means to discover.

  • @Alain Pannetier: Thanks for the correction, I didn't notice it... :D
    – Alenanno
    Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 9:14
  • Thank you for your response. I didn't know about Government before. I am probably looking for something like that. I have updated my question.
    – Steves
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 13:40

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