Keep: A Verb of Many Uses

 On a rainy day, an umbrella keeps us dry.

Plastic bags keep our food fresh.

As you see from these examples, the verb keep can be followed by an adjective. It means continue in the same condition.

In other words, if you are dry, you continue to be dry. If food is fresh, it continues to be fresh.

Here is another possible structure with keep.

 If she keeps teasing her brother, he will cry.

 If she keeps cheating, the teacher will see her and fail her.

As you see from these examples, the verb keep can be followed by a gerund. It also means continue, in this case, continue to do.

In other words, continue to tease, continue to cheat.

Here is one more possible structure with keep:

 Earbuds keep our music from bothering someone else.

 It is important to keep a situation from becoming violent.

The verb keep can also be followed by a noun object + the preposition from + a gerund. Used like this, it means prevent or stop.

You can have sentences that mix all three forms:

It is hard for a teacher to keep calm when a student keeps messing around. When a student acts so silly, he keeps other students from studying.

Practice: Here are some more images to practice these three forms with. Possible answers are below.


Picture One

I can’t believe this man can keep reading while rain is pouring into his kitchen.

I wouldn’t be able to keep calm in such a situation.

I would want to do something to keep my roof from leaking.

Picture Two

The baby shouldn’t keep sitting there.

The baby’s parents need to keep the baby from falling.

I hope the baby keeps still.

Read about more useful words in these PELA blog posts:

Tricky English Words: Unless and Otherwise

Relative Clauses Part Two: How to use Who, Whom, & Whose

Useful Words: Get