Common mistakes with prepositions

Posted by Manjusha Filed in English grammar

Incorrect: This is my first time to see a movie since a long time.
Correct: I haven't seen a movie for a long time.
Correct: I haven't seen a movie in a long time. (American English)

Incorrect: I am ill since two weeks.
Correct: I have been ill for two weeks.
Correct: I have been ill since January.

To reckon from a particular date, we use since. Examples are: since last year, since Friday, since morning etc. For is used with a period of time. Examples are: for two hours, for two months etc.

Incorrect: It was the worst storm since ten years.
Correct: It was the worst storm in ten years.
Correct: It was the worst storm for ten years.

After negatives and superlatives in can be used to talk about duration. This is common in American English.

Incorrect: This fabric is inferior than that.
Correct: This fabric is inferior to that.

Incorrect: He is senior than me.
Correct: He is senior to me.

Incorrect: He is superior than you in strength.
Correct: He is superior to you in strength.

The comparative adjectives inferior, superior, senior, junior, anterior and posterior are followed by to instead of than.

Incorrect: He wrote me.
Correct: He wrote to me.

The preposition to is used to introduce the indirect direct.

Incorrect: I shall explain them this.
Correct: I shall explain this to them.

Incorrect: He suggested me this.
Correct: He suggested this to me.

Some verbs are followed by two objects - a direct object and an indirect object. The indirect object usually refers to a person and the direct object usually refers to a thing. In the sentence given above, the direct object is the pronoun this and the indirect object is the pronoun them.

Note that when both objects are pronouns, the indirect object usually comes last. In other cases, it usually comes before the direct object. When the indirect object comes after the direct object, it takes the preposition to or for.

Incorrect: Send this letter on my new address.
Correct: Send this letter to my new address.

Incorrect: He goes in the school.
Correct: He goes to the school.

Incorrect: He goes on his work.
Correct: He goes to his work.

The prepositions at, on and in are used for position; to is used for movement or direction.

Sections in this article

Common mistakes with relative pronouns
Common mistakes with prepositions
Common errors in the use of verbs
Exclamations: common errors
Common errors in the use of adjectives
Common mistakes with pronouns