Learning prepositions

One of the most difficult aspects of learning English is to learn which prepositions one must use in which context. Often prepositions can be found in counter-intuitive contexts. An example is ''I'm on the phone''. At first glance, this doesn't seem to make sense at all. How can one be ''on'' a phone? It's not like you can stand or sit on a phone! But of course, in this context the use of the preposition ''on'' simply implies that you are taking a call. You are speaking to someone else ''on'' the phone.

Another example of counter-intuitive preposition use in English is the preposition ''at'' in the context of ''I am good at English''. Usually at is used in the context of place: I am at home or at school. But in this case, the literal meaning of ''at'' is to have a kind of orientation towards English, as a compass points towards a certain direction. When you say, ''I am good at English'', you are implying that in a certain sense, your own ''compass'' points towards the fact that you are good ''at'' English.

There are many other counter-intuitive examples of prepositions in English. As you can see however learning prepositions is a difficult task for a non-native English speaker. The best advice I can give to a non-native English speaker about learning which prepositions to use in which contexts is simply to read more and learn the different usages of different prepositions.
February 1, 2019
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John Bostock

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Hi, I am a fun, interesting and kind native English speaker from the southern tip of Africa. I like to eat, drink and merry. I am a big fan of drinking the occasional glass of red wine while at the same time having stimulating conversations with people. I can also be incredibly nostalgic about music, particularly boy bands from the 1990s like NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys (and who can forget Westlife?). I love EDM music too, particularly European house music, although my favorite song is actually ''Mr Brightside'' by ''The Killers''. My favorite color is blue and my favorite film is the Matrix. I like going to festivals and eating out as well as clubs and parties. I am a keen reader and curious about why things are the way they are and how we change as we get older. I really enjoy teaching English and my sincere wish is to help you improve your overall English ability whether it is in grammar, vocabulary or conversational English. I hope you will consider me to be your English tutor
Flag
English
globe
South Africa
time
25
Speaks:
Spanish
A2
Hi, I am a fun, interesting and kind native English speaker from the southern tip of Africa. I like to eat, drink and merry. I am a big fan of drinking the occasional glass of red wine while at the same time having stimulating conversations with people. I can also be incredibly nostalgic about music, particularly boy bands from the 1990s like NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys (and who can forget Westlife?). I love EDM music too, particularly European house music, although my favorite song is actually ''Mr Brightside'' by ''The Killers''. My favorite color is blue and my favorite film is the Matrix. I like going to festivals and eating out as well as clubs and parties. I am a keen reader and curious about why things are the way they are and how we change as we get older. I really enjoy teaching English and my sincere wish is to help you improve your overall English ability whether it is in grammar, vocabulary or conversational English. I hope you will consider me to be your English tutor
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