Prepositions are small but mighty!
Today a student told me that over the weekend, a friend had thrown up popcorn on her. My response was “Eeew! Gross!”
She looked confused. What she meant was that her friend had tossed popcorn at her in a playful way.
Look at the difference:
Throw up is a phrasal verb that means vomit. Throw (…) means toss. Prepositions can completely change the meaning of a verb.
What are the main jobs of prepositions?
They have many, but common functions are:
I. time and location.
I watch movies in my apartment at night.
I study at school during the week.
You can get better at skiing by practicing.
III. cause & effect
He quit his job because of the low salary.
He moved closer to the ocean due to his love of surfing.
They also work together with a verb to create a verb phrase with a new meaning. These are called phrasal verbs.
go + out + with = go out with = date
He has been going out with someone from his language school.
look + up + to = look up to = respect
I look up to my parents.
There are many sites that can help you learn phrasal verbs on line.
Here are some links to get you started:
The takeaway lesson is that something as small as a preposition can completely change the meaning in a sentence. If you’re not sure about a sentence of yours, look it up or ask.