Golden rules for Spotting Errors – Part 4 prepared by SBI PO Focus Team

Topics Covered in this Article – Troublesome Prepositions

Prepositions are a part of speech used to show the relation of a noun or noun equivalent (the object of the preposition) to some other word in the sentence.

Rule 42 All, of

Do not use of after all. Unless the next word is a pronoun.

All the men belong to the Rotary Club.

All of us belong to the Rotary Club.

All of us boys belong to the Lake View Hostel.

Rule 43 Among, between

Among always implies more than two; between literally implies two. Between, however, is now often used for three or more items, when each is regarded individually.

The teachers distributed the pens among the students. (more than two)

Distribute these clothes among the workers. (more than two)

The commission is divided evenly between the two partners. (only two persons)

What is the difference between a thief and a robber? (only two attributes)

However, between may be used for more than two persons or things in order to bring each person or thing into the relation expressed.

The difference between the three girls was so slight that might have been triplets.

While packing glass tumblers, be sure to place paper between them.

The three children had but Rs 10 between them.

Rule 44 At, in

Both at and in are used in reference to place. Mostly in is used for larger places and at for smaller places.

He lives at Gill Chowk in Moradabad.

She lives in Ghaziabad and works at Ingriham Institute.

Rule 45 In, into, in to

In implies the position within and into implies motion without to within. In to is a two word phrase in which in is an adverb.

The correspondence is in the file.

He walked into my office.

Mr. Sharma came in to see me.

Rule 46 Beside, besides

Besides means in addition to; beside means by the side of.

Besides we need your support in this venture.

Besides being fined, he was also jailed.

I sat beside my teacher in the class.

I live beside the Post Office.

Rule 47 On, upon, up on

Both on and upon are interchangeable, although upon is a little more formal and emphatic. In the two word phrase up on, on is an adverb.

Please place the book on the table.

His statements were based upon the scientific data.

It will be necessary to step up on the school.

Rule 48 Some words like senior, junior, prior, superior, inferior, preferable etc. are followed by to and not than.

He is senior to me in service.

Health is more preferable to wealth.

This cloth is inferior to that cloth.

Rule 49 Certain words are used in gerund (first form of a verb followed by-ing) along with prepositions.

For example abstain, confident, fond, insist, keen, persist, prohibit, refrain, succeed etc.

I prohibited him from parking his car near the entrance. (not to park)

She is confident of speaking English within six months. (not to speak)

I abstain from drinking on Tuesday. (not to drink)

He worked hard and succeeded in securing good marks. (not to secure)

Rule 50 Certain words are used in gerund without z preposition if followed by the first of a verb. For example, avoid, enjoy, help, dislike, help, stop, remember, etc.

He enjoys playing cards (not to play)

Stop writing as the time is over. (not to stop)

I dislike playing with Rajan. (not to play)

Many people avoid drinking before their superiors. (not to drink)

Rule 51 Certain words are followed by different prepositions in different contexts. For example:

I agree with Mr Saxena.

I agree to your proposal.

In the above example, the word agree is used with two different prepositions, with and to. Agree with is used for agreement with a person, whereas agree to is used for agreement to a plan, or proposal.

To change the preposition is to convey a different meaning from the one that the speaker intended or to convey no meaning at all. A partial list of such words with their appropriate

prepositions in different contexts is given below:

Accompanied With Anything having no life
Accompanied By Anything having life
Agree With A person
Agree To A proposal or plan
Agree Upon A point
Agree On A course
Adapted To A thing
Adapted For A course, because of one’s nature
Adapted From An author
Angry At A thing
Angry With A person
Apply For A position or for something
Apply To A person
Compare With To bring out similar qualities
Compare To Without analyzing
Confer On Meaning to give to
Confer With Meaning to talk to
Correspond To A thing, denoting similarity
Correspond With Meaning to write to
Confide In Meaning to put faith in
Confide To Meaning to commit to
One’s keeping
Dependent On A person
Employed At A certain place or salary
Employed For A purpose
Employed In An organization
Employed By A certain person
Liable For Debts
Liable To Authority
Proceed To A place
Proceed With A matter begun
Wait At A place
Wait For A person
Wait On A customer

Important Words Followed by Suitable Prepositions

For selection of the preposition to be used with different words. carefully study the following list of important words and the suitable prepositions to be used with them. This list will help you solve questions regard­ing

  • filling in the correct preposition in the blanks.
  • detection of wrong prepositions used in sentences given in, ‘Spotting Errors’.
  • sentence completion questions.

Note: Prepositions are italicised


abstain from food abide by a statement

abound with living things

accede to a request accept of a favour

arbitrate between two parties annoyed at a thing

annoyed with a person account for a fact accuse of a crime acquit of blame

acquiesce in decision adapt to circumstances adhere to a plan

agree to a proposal agree with a person aim at a thing

alight from a carriage answer to a person answer for conduct

appeal to a person for a thing

appeal against an order

approve of an action ascribe to a cause ask for a thing

ask from a person

aspire after worldly greatness

assent to a proposal assure a person of safety

avail oneself of a chance

admit to or into a secret


bear with a person

begin with the fact

believe in one’s truthfulness

belong to a person bent on going

bequeath a thing to a person

beset with danger

bestow a thing on or upon a person betray to the enemy

betray into his hands

beware of some danger blame of an offence

blame a person for something blind to the danger

blush at the sight

blush for one’s conduct

boast of one’s skill

borrow of or from a person

bring a thing to light bring a thing under notice

brood over past things burden someone with a load burst into rage

buy a thing from a shop


charge a person with

cheat a person of his due coincide with something else combat with difficulties

commit to memory

committed against the law common to man and woman comply with a request

compare something nith another compensate a person for his loss call upon or on a person

call at the office

call for punishment

catch at an opportunity

caution a person against

cease from quarrel(l)ing

compete with a person

compose of metal

conceal from others

concur with a person

concur in an opinion condole with a person conduce to health

confer favour on a person confer with a person confer about a thing confess to a fault

confide in a person

conform to a rule or norm

conform with one’s views congratulate a man on success convive at others’ faults

consent to some proposal

consign to destruction consist of material

consist in causes and results consult with a person

consult on or about something contribute to a fund

copy from a book coverage to a point convict a person of a crime

cope with a person

correspond with a person (to write) correspond to something correspond about a subject

count on a thing (depend)

count for nothing

crave for or after happiness

credit with good intentions

cure a man of a disease


dash against a wall drawn on a person debar from an action defer to a man’s wishes

delight in poetry deliver from a danger demur to a statement depend on help

deprive a man of a thing

desist from an attempt despair of success

deter a man from action

die of a disease

die from some cause differ with a person differ on a subject differ from anything differ to opinions digress from the topic

dilate on a subject

dip into a river

disagree with a person disapprove of anything dispense with a man’s service

dispose off property or something discharge from service

dissent from an opinion distinguish one thingfrom another distinguish between two things divide between two, among many divert a person from a path

divest someone of fear draw money on banks

dominate over a subordinate

drive at some point drop off a tree

dwell on some matter


elicit from a person embark on boardship embark in business

emerge from the hiding place employ in some work encroach on others’ right endow a person with benefits marks upon a carter

enter into one’s plans entitle to a property

entrust a person with something envy at others’ success

escape from custody excel in music

exchange my things with your things

exclude from the class

excuse him from paying the fine exempt from duty

expel from college expostulate with a person extricate from danger


fail in one’s purpose fail of success

fall among rogues

fall in love with someone

fall into difficulties

fall in with a suggestion

fall from the height fall on the rival

feed on milk

feed with milk

feel for the troubled

fight against or with a person

fight out the reason

finish with a programme frown upon a person

fill with something

fish for words

flirt with a person

fly into rage

furnish a person with a thing furnish a thing to a person


gain on someone in competition get at the truth

get on with a master

get out of debt

get to a journey’s end

glance at a sight

glance over some writing

grasp at a shadow grapple with difficulties

grieve at or for an event

grumble at the change

guard against or.from danger guess at something


hanker after worldly pleasure happen at a time

happen in a place happen to a person healed of a disease hear of a news

hesitate at bribing hint at the solution hover over the rest hush up a matter


impress an idea on a person impress a person with an idea increase in learning

indict a person for a crime indulge in intoxicants

indulge himself with wine inform a man of an event inform a person about a thing initiate a man into bribery insinuate into one’s favour insist upon going

inspire with patriotism

introduce with someone introduce someone to someone introduce into a place

intrude into your garden

invent in a factory

invest with power

invite to a party

involve a man in a crime issue from the office


jest of sorrows

jeer at a person

join in work

join with a man

join to a thing

judge a person by his word

jump at an offer (readily accept) jump to a conclusion


keep from meeting keep to a position know of a secret


lament for the dead laugh at something

lay facts before someone

lay a person under obligation level changes against someone listen to complaints

live by labour

live on small wages live for the family

live within one’s means look after one’s health lust after gold


make away with a thing make out the meaning

marvel at one’s beauty

menace with punishment merge into something larger mourn for the dead

murmur at one’s fate


offend against traditions operate on a patient

originate in a place or thing overwhelm with goodness


part with a person

partake of some food participate with the team participate in the match persist in the denial pertain to the answer point at an object

point to some result

possess oneself of the goodwill prefer one thing to another present him with a purse

preside at a meeting

preside over a function

prevent from falling

pride oneself on something prohibit from drinking

wine protect from loss

purge the mind of superstitions


Question on the subject quake with fear


reconcile to misfortune reconcile with an enemy

refrain from an action

rejoice at the success of another remonstrate against a person replete with wealth

result from a cause

result in consequence


search for something lost

search into a matter (to examine) slur over a matter

smell of a fragrance

smile at a challenge

smile on a person

span of time

snap at a person

strip a person of his possession subsist on a small income succumb to hardship

sweep the dust off the surface sympathize with a person sympathize in his troubles


tamper with the figure

testify to a fact

trade in thing,

trade with a company tresspass against rules tresspass on a man’s time tresspass in a man’s premises trifle with a man’s feeling triumph over difficulties

trust in a person

trust to his honesty


wait at a table

wait on a person (attend) yield to pressure

yearn for beauty