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Ask Doctor English
Your ESL and English language learning specialist. Ask Dr. English whatever you like about the English language.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Here is a chance for you to have your questions answered by Doctor English. Today’s question is:

How do I know what preposition to use?

This is a complicated question with a simple answer. There are really no rules for prepositional use (there are some guidelines, but often there are too many exceptions to make it a rule). Therefore, the only way to know which preposition to use is by practicing the prepositional combinations.

They reason that native speakers know which preposition to use is only because it sounds right. They have said or heard the combination many times and simply use the preposition for that reason. Doctor English recommends that you practice saying the prepositional combinations out loud to help you remember them. For example, repeat the phrase “demand for, demand for, demand for” fifty times and it will help you to remember the next time you say “demand” to follow it with “for”.

Thank you for sending your questions. If you have any further queries, please email Doctor English at drenglish@vec.ca.


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