September 30

Dependent prepositions

Dependent prepositions

Dependent prepositions

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
abide by
abstain from
accuse (somebody) of
add to
adhere to
agree with
aim at/for
allow for
apologise to someone for something
apply for
approve of
argue with/about
arrest (somebody) for
ask for
attend to
believe in
belong to
blame (somebody) for
boast about
borrow (something) from (somebody)
call for
care for
choose between
comment on
compare with
complain about
concentrate on
conform to
congratulate on
consent to
consist of
deal with
decide on
excel at/in
excuse (somebody) for
face up to
forgive (somebody) for
hear of/about
hope for
insist on
interfere with/in
joke about
laugh at
lend (something) to (somebody)
listen to
long for
mistake (somebody) for
object to
pay for
praise (somebody) for
prepare for
present (somebody) with
prevent (somebody) from
protest about
provide (somebody) with
punish (somebody) for
refer to
rely on
run for
save (somebody) from
sentence (somebody) to
smile at
succeed in
suffer from
stand for
talk to (somebody) about (something)
thank (somebody) for
think of/about
volunteer to
wait for
warn (somebody) about
worry about

Adjectives and dependent prepositions
according to
accustomed to
afraid of
annoyed with/about/at
anxious about
ashamed of
astonished at
attached to
aware of
delighted at/about
different from
dissatisfied with
doubtful about
enthusiastic about
envious of
excited about
famous for
fed up with
fond of
frightened of
friendly with
good at
guilty of
incapable of
interested in
jealous of
keen on
kind to
mad at/about
opposed to
pleased with
popular with
proud of
puzzled by/about
safe from
satisfied with
sensitive to(wards)
serious about
sick of
similar to
sorry for/about
suspicious of
sympathetic to(wards)
tired of
typical of
unaware of
used to

Nouns and dependent prepositions
in agreement
attack on
attitude towards
on behalf of
comparison between
on condition (that)
connection between
cruelty towards
decrease in
delay in
difference between/of
difficulty in/with
disadvantage of
in doubt
under guarantee
increase in
information about
intention of
knowledge of
need for
notice of
in order
pleasure in
in power
in practice
preference for
protection from
reaction to
reason for
reduction in
report on
result of
rise in
at risk
room for
solution to
on strike
on suspicion of
under suspicion
in theory
in trouble
trouble with

We hope you found this dependent prepositions list useful. In our membership area, there are exercises with questions to test your skills and improve your accuracy in preparation for the IELTS test, so join us today to unlock everything in our online course!

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