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Hi, welcome to this week’s episode of The Art of Business English. Today I will share with you a list of verbs followed by prepositions that English learners often get wrong.

Because prepositions are so challenging, mastering them can take a long time. So, I’m going to show you the typical mistake, and then teach you the correct form. This will help you to get moving in the right direction to speak English correctly and naturally.

So, let’s dive in! 

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Abstain from

Common mistake:

Abstain to

Example:

“Did your doctor tell you to abstain from eating before your surgery?”

Watch the episode here

Adapt to

Common mistake:

Adapt at

Example:

“It takes time to adapt to a new working environment.”

Addicted to

Common mistake:

Addicted at

Example:

“Sadly, a growing number of Americans are becoming addicted to heroin and other opioids.”

Apply to/for

Common mistake:

Apply at

Example:

“He has applied to several companies.”

“I'm still undecided about whether to apply for the job.”

Approve of

Common mistake:

Approve to

Example:

“I don’t think management is going to approve of your new haircut.”

Based on

Common mistake:

Confusing it with based in

Example:

“The movie is based on the true story of a London gangster.”

“The company is based in Toronto.”

Benefit from

Common mistake:

Benefit for

Example:

“Will the middle class really benefit from this new law?”

Complain about

Common mistake:

Complain for

Example:

“Annette complained about the weather.”

(Note: When talking about an illness, we use complain of. “She complained of a sore throat.”)

Concentrate on

Common mistake:

Concentrate in

Example:

“I can't concentrate on my work. It's too noisy here.”

Conform to

Common mistake:

Conform with

Example:

“We must conform to the rules.”

Consist of

Common mistake:

Consists in

Example:

“His new album consists of 15 brand new tracks.”

Depends on

Common mistake:

Depends of

Example:

“Your success in this class depends on how much you study.”

Deprive of

Common mistake:

Deprive from

Example:

“Nelson Mandela was deprived of his freedom.”

Divide into

Common mistake:

Divide in

Example:

“I have divided my presentation into 3 parts.”

Graduate from

Common mistake:

Graduate of/at

Example:

“Do most people find a job immediately after they graduate from college?”

Invest in

Common mistake:

Invest at

Example:

“I should have invested in Bitcoin when it was first introduced.”

Laugh at

Common mistake:

Laugh on

Example:

“Don’t laugh at me, it makes me feel stupid.”

Respond to

Common mistake:

Respond at

Example:

“All our staff are trained to respond to emergency situations.”

Smile at

Common mistake:

Smile to

Example:

“Store clerks in the United States often smile at customers.”

Think of/about

Common mistake:

Think in

Example:

“When I was a college student, I tried not to think about the debt I was incurring.”

“What did you think of the film?”

Final thoughts

I hope you have enjoyed this episode. I hope that you find it helpful to avoid using the incorrect preposition after a verb. As a tip, when you learn new verbs, pay attention if they need to be followed by a particular preposition. Sometimes the meanings of the verbs change according to the preposition you use

If you are looking to improve your general English, then why not sign up for one of my general English online courses. We cover this grammar topic and a whole lot more.

Click here to enrol.

As always, if you have further questions or if you would like some advice, please leave us a comment on the blog.

That is all from me today, see you all next week.

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Andrew


Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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