Certain verbs, adjectives and nouns naturally take certain prepositions when placed in a sentence - these are called dependent prepositions.
For example, you can object to (something), participate in (something), complain about (something).
Unfortunately there are no fixed rules that can help you decide which dependent prepositions should be placed with which words, you really just need to learn them. To get a good result in your IELTS test, you will need to be able to use the correct dependent preposition both in your speaking and your writing, so knowing the right preposition to use can make all the difference!
Remember that sometimes usage of different dependent prepositions change the meaning.
Dependent prepositions example 1:
He is angry with us. (angry with 'someone')
He is angry about the problem. (angry about 'a situation')
Dependent prepositions example 2:
He is good at football (meaning he has skill / ability in something - he is good at (playing) football).
She is good with children (meaning she has a positive relationship with / has an affinity with...).
A teacher for example, might be good at teaching English and may be good with their students.
The best way to learn more about dependent prepositions is to make a list of your own, and then find sentences that use the structure. Google can be very useful for that. For example, if you were trying to remember that complain is generally followed by about, simply type in "complain about" in Google and see the results.
NOTE: It is important to use the speech marks (" ") around the phrase you are searching for so that only results with that phrase will come up.
More examples of dependent prepositions follow in the table below.
Verbs and dependent prepositions
accuse (somebody) of
apologise to someone for something
arrest (somebody) for
blame (somebody) for
borrow (something) from (somebody)
excuse (somebody) for
face up to
forgive (somebody) for
lend (something) to (somebody)
mistake (somebody) for
praise (somebody) for
present (somebody) with
prevent (somebody) from
provide (somebody) with
punish (somebody) for
save (somebody) from
sentence (somebody) to
talk to (somebody) about (something)
thank (somebody) for
warn (somebody) about
Adjectives and dependent prepositions
fed up with
Nouns and dependent prepositions
on behalf of
on condition (that)
on suspicion of