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Prepositions of Time: at, on, and in We use at to designate specific times. The train is due at 12:15 p.m.

We use on to designate days and dates. My brother is coming on Monday. We're having a party on the Fourth of July. We use in for nonspecific times during a day, a month, a season, or a year. She likes to jog in the morning. It's too cold in winter to run outside. He started the job in 1971. He's going to quit in August. Prepositions of Place: at, on, and in We use at for specific addresses. Grammar English lives at 55 Boretz Road in Durham. We use on to designate names of streets, avenues, etc. Her house is on Boretz Road. And we use in for the names of land-areas (towns, counties, states, countries, and continents). She lives in Durham. Durham is in Windham County. Windham County is in Connecticut.
Prepositions of Location: in, at, and on and No preposition IN (the) bed* the bedroom the car (the) class* the library* school* AT class* home the library* the office school* work ON the bed* the ceiling the floor the horse the plane the train NO PREPOSITION downstairs downtown inside outside upstairs uptown

* You may sometimes use different prepositions for these locations.

Prepositions of Movement: to and No Preposition We use to in order to express movement toward a place. They were driving to work together. She's going to the dentist's office this morning. Toward and towards are also helpful prepositions to express movement. These are simply variant spellings of the same word; use whichever sounds better to you. We're moving toward the light. This is a big step towards the project's completion. With the words home, downtown, uptown, inside, outside, downstairs, upstairs, we use no preposition. Grandma went upstairs. Grandpa went home. They both went outside.

Prepositions of Time: for and since We use for when we measure time (seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years). He held his breath for seven minutes. She's lived there for seven years. The British and Irish have been quarreling for seven centuries. We use since with a specific date or time. He's worked here since 1970. She's been sitting in the waiting room since two-thirty.


apologize for ask about ask for belong to bring up care for find out give up grow up look for look forward to look up make up pay for prepare for study for talk about think about trust in work for worry about

Prepositions with Nouns, Adjectives, and Verbs. Prepositions are sometimes so firmly wedded to other words that they have practically become one word. (In fact, in other languages, such as German, they would have become one word.) This occurs in three categories: nouns, adjectives, and verbs.


approval of awareness of belief in concern for confusion about desire for fondness for grasp of hatred of hope for interest in love of need for participation in reason for respect for success in understanding of


afraid of angry at aware of capable of careless about familiar with fond of happy about interested in jealous of made of married to proud of similar to sorry for sure of tired of worried about

A combination of verb and preposition is called a phrasal verb. The word that is joined to the verb is then called a particle. Please refer to the brief section we have prepared on phrasal verbs for an explanation. Idiomatic Expressions with Prepositions agree to a proposal, with a person, on a price, in principle argue about a matter, with a person, for or against a proposition compare to to show likenesses, with to show differences (sometimes similarities) correspond to a thing, with a person differ from an unlike thing, with a person live at an address, in a house or city, on a street, with other people Unnecessary Prepositions In everyday speech, we fall into some bad habits, using prepositions where they are not necessary. It would be a good idea to eliminate these words altogether, but we must be especially careful not to use them in formal, academic prose.

She met up with the new coach in the hallway. The book fell off of the desk. He threw the book out of the window. She wouldn't let the cat inside of the house. [or use "in"] Where did they go to? Put the lamp in back of the couch. [use "behind" instead] Where is your college at?

1. My best friend lives ______ Boretz Road. a. in b. on c. at 2. I'll be ready to leave ____ about twenty minutes. a. in b. on c. at 3. Since he met his new girlfriend, Juan never seems to be ______ home. a. on b. in c. at 4. The child responded to his mother's demands ______ throwing a tantrum. a. with b. by c. from 5. I think she spent the entire afternoon ______ the phone. a. on b. in c. at 6. I will wait ______ 6:30, but then I'm going home. a. from b. at c. until 7. The police caught the thief _____ the corner of Cascade and Plum Streets. a. in b. at c. from 8. My fingers were injured so my sister had to write the note _____ me. a. for b. with c. to

9. I am not interested _____ buying a new car now. a. to b. for c. in 10. What are the main ingredients ______ this casserole? a. about b. to c. of 11. My best friend, John, is named ______ his great-grandfather. a. after b. to c. about 12. Grandpa stayed up ______ two in the morning. a. since b. for c. until 13. My parents have been married ______ forty-nine years. a. since b. for c. until 14. He usually travels to Philadelphia _______ train. a. by b. at c. with 15. You frequently see this kind of violence ____ television. a. with b. in c. on 16. I told Mom we'd be home ______ an hour or so. a. to b. in c. at

17. I was visiting my best friend _____ the hospital. a. of b. at c. in 18. The professor _______ South Africa amazed the American students with her stories. a. from b. of c. in 19. I'll see you ____ home when I get there. a. in b. by c. at 20. It's been snowing ________ Christmas morning. a. since b. for c. until


Basic Principle: Singular subjects need singular verbs; plural subjects need plural verbs. My brother is a nutritionist. My sisters are mathematicians. See the section on Plurals for additional help with subject-verb agreement. The indefinite pronouns anyone, everyone, someone, no one, nobody are always singular and, therefore, require singular verbs. Everyone has done his or her homework. Somebody has left her purse.

Some indefinite pronouns such as all, some are singular or plural depending on what they're referring to. (Is the thing referred to countable or not?) Be careful choosing a verb to accompany such pronouns. Some of the beads are missing. Some of the water is gone.

On the other hand, there is one indefinite pronoun, none, that can be either singular or plural; it often doesn't matter whether you use a singular or a plural verb unless something else in the sentence determines its number. (Writers generally think of none as meaning not any and will choose a plural verb, as in "None of the engines are working," but when something else makes us regard none as meaning not one, we want a singular verb, as in "None of the food is fresh.") None of you claims responsibility for this incident? None of you claim responsibility for this incident? None of the students have done their homework. (In this last example, the word their precludes the use of the singular verb.

Some indefinite pronouns are particularly troublesome Everyone and everybody (listed above, also) certainly feel like more than one person and, therefore, students are sometimes tempted to use a plural verb with them. They are always singular, though. Each is often followed by a prepositional phrase ending in a plural word (Each of the cars), thus confusing the verb choice. Each, too, is always singular and requires a singular verb. Everyone has finished his or her homework. You would always say, "Everybody is here." This means that the word is singular and nothing will change that. Each of the students is responsible for doing his or her work in the library. Don't let the word "students" confuse you; the subject is each and each is always singular Each is responsible. Phrases such as together with, as well as, and along with are not the same as and. The phrase introduced by as well as or along with will modify the earlier word (mayor in this case), but it does not compound the subjects (as the word and would do). The mayor as well as his brothers is going to prison. The mayor and his brothers are going to jail.

The pronouns neither and either are singular and require singular verbs even though they seem to be referring, in a sense, to two things. Neither of the two traffic lights is working. Which shirt do you want for Christmas? Either is fine with me.

In informal writing, neither and either sometimes take a plural verb when these pronouns are followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with of. This is particularly true of interrogative constructions: "Have either of you two clowns read the assignment?" "Are either of you taking this seriously?" Burchfield calls this "a clash between notional and actual agreement."* The conjunction or does not conjoin (as and does): when nor or or is used the subject closer to the verb determines the number of the verb. Whether the subject comes before or after the verb doesn't matter; the proximity determines the number. Either my father or my brothers are going to sell the house. Neither my brothers nor my father is going to sell the house. Are either my brothers or my father responsible? Is either my father or my brothers responsible?

Because a sentence like "Neither my brothers nor my father is going to sell the house" sounds peculiar, it is probably a good idea to put the plural subject closer to the verb whenever that is possible. The words there and here are never subjects. There are two reasons [plural subject] for this. There is no reason for this. Here are two apples.

With these constructions (called expletive constructions), the subject follows the verb but still determines the number of the verb. Verbs in the present tense for third-person, singular subjects (he, she, it and anything those words can stand for) have s-endings. Other verbs do not add s-endings. He loves and she loves and they love_ and . . . . Sometimes modifiers will get betwen a subject and its verb, but these modifiers must not confuse the agreement between the subject and its verb. The mayor, who has been convicted along with his four brothers on four counts of various crimes but who also seems, like a cat, to have several political lives, is finally going to jail. Sometimes nouns take weird forms and can fool us into thinking they're plural when they're really singular and vice-versa. Consult the section on the Plural Forms of Nouns and the section on Collective Nouns for additional help. Words such as glasses, pants, pliers, and scissors are regarded as plural (and require plural verbs) unless they're preceded the phrase pair of (in which case the word pair becomes the subject). My glasses were on the bed. My pants were torn. A pair of plaid trousers is in the closet.

Some words end in -s and appear to be plural but are really singular and require singular verbs. The news from the front is bad. Measles is a dangerous disease for pregnant women.

On the other hand, some words ending in -s refer to a single thing but are nonetheless plural and require a plural verb. My assets were wiped out in the depression. The average worker's earnings have gone up dramatically. Our thanks go to the workers who supported the union.

The names of sports teams that do not end in "s" will take a plural verb: the Miami Heat have been looking , The Connecticut Sun are hoping that new talent . See the section on pluralsfor help with this problem. Fractional expressions such as half of, a part of, a percentage of, a majority of are sometimes singular and sometimes plural, depending on the meaning. (The same is true, of course, when all, any, more, most and some act as subjects.) Sums and products of mathematical processes are expressed as singular and require singular verbs. The expression "more than one" (oddly enough) takes a singular verb: "More than one student has tried this." Some of the voters are still angry. A large percentage of the older population is voting against her. Two-fifths of the troops were lost in the battle. Two-fifths of the vineyard was destroyed by fire. Forty percent of the students are in favor of changing the policy. Forty percent of the student body is in favor of changing the policy. Two and two is four. Four times four divided by two is eight. If your sentence compounds a positive and a negative subject and one is plural, the other singular, the verb should agree with the positive subject. The department members but not the chair have decided not to teach on Valentine's Day. It is not the faculty members but the president who decides this issue. It was the speaker, not his ideas, that has provoked the students to riot.

1. Either the physicians in this hospital or the chief administrator ____ going to have to make a decision. is are 2. ______ my boss or my sisters in the union going to win this grievance?

Is Are 3. Some of the votes __________ to have been miscounted. seem seems

4. The tornadoes that tear through this county every spring _____ more than just a nuisance. are is 5. Everyone selected to serve on this jury _____ to be willing to give up a lot of time. have has 6. Kara Wolters, together with her teammates, _________ a formidable opponent on the basketball court. presents present 7. He seems to forget that there __________ things to be done before he can graduate. are is 8. There _______ to be some people left in that town after yesterday's flood. have has 9. Some of the grain __________ to be contaminated. appear appears 10. Three-quarters of the students __________ against the tuition hike. is are 11. Three-quarters of the student body __________ against the tuition hike. is are 12. A high percentage of the population _________ voting for the new school. is are 13. A high percentage of the people _________ voting for the new school. was were

1. Carlos is the only one of those students who __________ lived up to the potential described in the yearbook. has have

2. The International Club, as well as the Choral Society and the Rowing Club, __________ to submit a new constitution. need needs 3. One of my best friends _____________ an extra on Seinfeld this week. are is 4. Not only the students but also their instructor ________ been called to the principal's office. have has 5. Most of the milk _____ gone bad. Six gallons of milk _______ still in the refrigerator. has ---- are have ---- is 6. Each and every student and instructor in this building __________ for a new facility by next year. hope hopes 7. The students and instructors each ________for a new facility by next year. hopes hope 8. Rice and beans, my favorite dish, __________ me of my native Puerto Rico. remind reminds 9. A large number of voters still ___________ along straight-party lines. votes vote 10. Four years _______ a long time to spend away from your friends and family. are is 11. Politics __________ sometimes a dirty business. are is 12. To an outsider, the economics of this country ________ to be in disarray. seem seems