TO, ON, ABOUT: Prepositions of behavior in English

TO, ON, ABOUT: Prepositions of behavior in English

Doo-doo-doo-doo. I really need to be less
hard on myself about sports. Hi. James from engVid. Today’s lesson is going to be
about prepositions and behaviour. I want to show you how we use prepositions
to talk about people’s behaviour. Now, behaviour is how someone
acts, their actions. You know, are they good
to you, nice to you? So what is their behaviour like? Why is this important? Because you know prepositions
is being used as one thing. Today I want to show you a lesson how we take
the idea from the preposition, we put it with an adjective, and then we can
talk about people’s behaviour. Are you ready? Let’s go to the board. “I need to be less
hard on myself.” Well, you know “need”, you know “hard”, but
“hard on myself”, what does that mean? Well, Mr. E is using a preposition, which
is an adjective to talk about something he is doing or some
way he is acting. Okay? “Hard” means strong, so he needs
to be less strong on himself. In this case he needs
to be nicer to himself. I used another one, “nicer to”. We’re going to work on this now and you’re
going to figure out how you can start using prepositions with adjectives
to describe behaviour. Okay, so, prepositions are most often
used for direction, time, and the reason. The reason why. Sorry. The reason why we do something. Right? The reason why we do something. All right? “I’m going to the store”, “I’ll meet you
at 12 o’clock”, “I did it for this”. Right? “For”. But they can also be used to describe people’s
actions, or behaviour, or what they’re doing. Okay? So I’m going to give you three popular
prepositions: “to”, “on”, and “about”. I will explain each one, and then give you
some collocations which are words that go together, co-location.
Right? Collocation, it means they’re always generally
found together, that will explain behaviour. Okay?
Let’s go to the first one. “To”. Everybody loves “to”. Right? “To” means movement:
“Go to the store.” Right? I’m not going to say two people, because that’s
not a preposition, that’s a number, but “to”. But when we add… Use these adjectives before
“to”, we can say: “cruel to”. “He’s cruel to you”. “Cruel” means not very nice. Cruel is not nice,
so he’s cruel… But, look. See how we have direction? Remember I said “to”
means direction? “He’s cruel to you.” So the direction of his
not-niceness goes to you. On the next one we
have “kind to”. “Kind” means nice. They are nice or generous. Right? So, when someone’s kind to you, they are
nice to-you got it, direction again-you. Direction. “Rude”. You know when someone’s rude they act in a
way that’s not nice, they show disrespect to you. Right? They say bad words or something. When someone’s “rude to”, here we go again,
“to” means direction and that direction is to whoever they say, rude to
them, rude to him, rude to me. Okay? Who is the object? And “helpful to”, that’s right. Somebody or something was helpful to you,
they gave you some help when you need it. Help, and then full of help,
they were full of help to you. So we’ve just discussed “to” and we know it
means movement, and in this case direction, and these adjectives help us… Tell us what the behaviour or actions
are that they are doing to you. Okay? You like that one? I got another one. It’s a three-for-one sale, I’m
going to teach you three. Okay? “On”. Usually when we say “on” we mean to put on,
like on top, like on the surface of something, “on”. As direction means… “To” means direction, “on” means
on the surface or put it on. And as you can see, I put my hand on me which means
something, I bet you’re going to understand, is going to come on me. Okay? So we want to use these
adjectives before “on”. You can see my little
picture, “on”. “Tough on”, you know, Colgate is
tough on grease or tough on this. “Tough” means hard or strong. So if someone’s tough on you, for example,
if your parents were tough on you when you were a kid, they made… They didn’t make
things easy for you. They made you work
for everything. If somebody is tough on crime, they are not
easy, they do not let it go, they don’t say: -“It’s okay, it’s okay.” -“It’s not okay.” Blah, blah… They’re going to be hard. It’s similar to… Oh wait, that’s “hard to”… “Cruel”… Not “cruel to”, but… No, no, it’s not similar at all. I made a mistake. I’m thinking of the one over here,
which is “on”, but: “It’s tough on”. Let’s go “easy on”. The exact opposite is “easy on”. If your parents were easy on you, when you
made a mistake, they were like: “It’s okay, son.” Or: “It’s okay, daughter. No problem. We’ll fix it for you.” So when people are easy on you they
don’t make anything difficult. They make it easy
and nice for you. Okay? Life should be balanced, a little bit of tough
love and a little bit of easy love is good. Shouldn’t be one
way or the other. Now, “rough on”, ooh, if something’s
rough on you, that’s not nice. That’s not nice. As “tough on” means makes it hard, but can
make you work, like, my teachers are tough on me because they
want me to do well. It means they make it not easy for
you so you can learn to be stronger. When they make it easy
on you, they take… Maybe they understand you’re tired or things
are difficult at home, so they don’t make it too hard. But when somebody’s rough on
you, they’re not nice to you. You know, they’re rough on you because
they’re being mean, not nice on purpose. Right? So, that guy was rough
on the student. We say that’s not fair,
that’s not nice. If they were tough on the student, it’s like:
“He’s tough, but the student will be better.” “He’s rough on the
students”, they are not… They are not being nice people. Okay? It’s different, so you got to know the
difference between rough and tough. They seem similar, in some cases they are, you
know: “That exam was really rough on me”, it means difficult, it really
kind of almost hurt me. It was tough on me, it
forced me to produce. Okay? Similar, not the same. What about number three? All right, we have down here
“about”, but what about this one? Well, “about” means approximately
or in all directions. You can see how I have here “approximately”,
it means: “Enh, from here it’s about enh”, approximate; not exact. And in all directions, he moved
about town, went in all directions. Okay? Now, here are the adjectives we’re going
to put before “about”: “selfish about”. You know when we use
reflexive pronouns? “Yourself”, “myself”, “himself”, or “herself”,
it talks about this person here, myself, I’m talking about me. When I’m selfish it’s all about
me, so I only care about myself. So when I say: “You’re selfish about the food”,
it means you think only about you and no one else. It was selfish about him
to not help other people. How about “crazy about”? This is a funny one, because you’re going to
say: “Oh, crazy about mean must mean, oh, they’re crazy, they’re crazy people”,
no, it means I love it a lot. It means, in a way, sort of crazy that
you love it so much it’s not normal. So I’m crazy about this girl
at work, I’m in love with her. All right? If you say: “I’m not crazy about
something”, it means I don’t like it. I know, this is funny because it seems the
opposite of what you would think, right? But when people are crazy about something,
like I’m crazy about my new car, I love it. I’m crazy about this new restaurant
down in Soho, I love it. I’m not so crazy about getting
homework, I don’t love it. Okay? So though it seems like loco, if you’re
Spanish, or crazy, it’s different. It means to have intense
feelings about it. What about “mean about”? Well, “mean” means… “Mean” means, see? There. It means definition, right? But “mean” also means not nice. That man is mean. So in this case it means you
are not nice about something. You were mean about
inviting me out. It means you weren’t
nice about it. You were mean about
giving me money. You were not nice about it. You were mean about
talking to the kids. You were not nice about it. The opposite of that would be “kind”, he was
kind about letting me know what was going on. They were nice, they were
gentle, they were loving… Well, not necessarily
loving, but they were nice. Okay? They were kind about
helping the old lady. They were nice about it. Okay? So we’ve now noticed how we use prepositions
that you know to tell you about time, direction, or the reason why we do something, but you
can also take these prepositions, put them after an adjective and you can tell about
how, not why, but how someone is behaving. Cool, huh? By using the idea, for instance, for “to” for
direction, you can show: In what direction is the cruelty, the kindness, the
rudeness, or the helpfulness going? What direction? With the “on”, you can see that it’s being
put on someone, they’re feeling it because it’s being placed on
them, like my hand. And “about” we can say in the subject, about
this subject, approximately this subject, we can understand. Yeah? Good. I see you’re smiling which is a good thing,
because we have to do a little quiz, and yeah, time for you to learn
something new. Ready? Okay, so I talked about putting prepositions
with adjectives to describe behaviour, and I want to do something right now because I
gave some words or introduced some words you may not know, so I want to give you alternate
or different words to use, and give you a deeper understanding, so not just understanding
what the preposition does, but what the actual adjectives mean. For example, “cruel” means mean or not nice,
so you can use this word or this one. “He is a cruel man.”,
“He is a mean man”. “Rude” means not
impolite, impolite. Right? “Polite” is, like:
“Please” and “Thank you”. “Impolite” is just grabbing
and taking, not polite. So if you are rude, you
are also impolite. “Nasty” means unpleasant, not nice, but
it also could be for things like smell. If someone goes… That’s rather nasty. It’s unpleasant. It is not pleasing, you don’t
like it, it’s not nice. “Tough” can mean
painful or difficult. Okay? So, if something’s tough
on you, it means painful. All right? But it can also mean difficult,
it means hard to do. Right? He had a… She had a tough time
with her pregnancy. It was painful. Painful and difficult. “Rough” can be difficult and unpleasant, so
you can see how “rough” can be these two, but notice how this is both negative words,
and when I said to you if somebody’s rough on you, it’s not good, because
there’s nothing nice about it? But “tough” can be difficult, and that’s how
we can tell the difference between these two words. Okay? “Rough on” and “tough on”. My teacher was tough on me to make me better,
difficult, they made it hard so I could be better. But here, that unpleasant
makes it not nice. Okay? Good. So we’ve got that one, now I want to do the
quiz, your favourite part of this whole show, I mean video, I mean lesson. [Laughs] Maybe to
me it’s a show. All right. So, number one: “My coach was
__________ me so I could be the best.” That’s right, “tough
on”, “tough on”. Okay, so number two: “She was __________
the dog, so they took it away.” Good, you got it. “She was cruel to the dog”. I want to do a quick note here. She was cruel to the dog because
“cruel to” is mean, not nice. Okay? Now, you might have said she was rough on the
dog, because “rough”, remember we talked about was unpleasant, too? She was rough on them, that would be kind of
right, but “cruel to” gives more the idea of being not nice. Okay? So, some people might have put “rough on”,
but remember “rough”, it would be “tough”, “rough”, “cruel”, and if someone is going to
take something away from you, and especially if it’s an alive thing like a dog, you probably
have to be cruel because we do call it “animal cruelty”, not
“animal roughness”. Anyway.
Next one. You got that one.
Let’s do number three. “The teacher was very
__________ her students.” Well, I hope the teacher was like how I hope
I’m being with you, which is helpful, because I think she was helpful to her students,
and that’s why they loved her. Right? I don’t know if you love me,
but you know, it’d be a start. We’ve had this
relationship so long. And finally: “Her husband is
__________ her. He loves her a lot.” Crazy, crazy for being… It’s an old song. Okay. Crazy, he was crazy about her. Remember we said that funny one where someone’s
crazy about something, they love it? Even though they
should be mental. In a way you are. When you love something you kind of lose your,
what we say, common sense, and you believe in all that is
good in the world. And that belief goes from me to
you because I am crazy about you. You come here every week and you give me
some reason to come back and see you. I hope this video
was helpful to you. Okay? To show you a little bit different, to give
you more of an understanding of prepositions to make the language easier for you so you
don’t always go: “Why do the English people say that?” Now you can go: “I got it! Now I have a deeper understanding, I can use
the language better and be more like a native speaker.” And on that note, I want to help you some
more, of course, so why don’t you go to…? Subscribe to engVid, which is
www dot eng as in video… English, vid as in
( Okay? Subscribe somewhere around here, and I’m
looking forward to seeing you there. Okay? And as always, thank you very
much for being with us this long. Have a good one.


  • Adrianna Ramos

    November 26, 2017

    James, what's the level of your lessons mainly???

  • Adrianna Ramos

    November 26, 2017

    James, what's the level of your lessons mainly???

  • Feelings

    November 27, 2017

    As always Mr James your class was really helpful. Thanks

  • faruk wacane

    November 28, 2017

    thank you from Somaliland

  • Daniel Salazar

    November 28, 2017

    Great video! I'm crazy about the way you teach, not boring at all! Greetings from Pereira, Colombia 🌕🔵🔴👍

  • Yones Jabr

    November 28, 2017

    The video no.200 is come out soon 😉😉

  • Polaxio

    November 28, 2017

    That's wonderful. Thank you so much 🙂

  • Jons Silva

    November 29, 2017

    sounds like phrasal verbs sometimes!

  • L

    November 29, 2017

    no podria ser "cruel on" o tiene que ser nada mas "cruel to", no podría ser tambíen "tough to" y no solo "tough on" ?

  • Xalik0ff

    November 29, 2017

    Thank, you a lot bro! I'm so crazy about your lessons.
    Best wishes! from Tajikistan (Gissar)

  • Victor Guillermo Lomeli Ruiz

    November 30, 2017

    muchas gracias ¡¡¡

  • Elroy Fernando

    December 1, 2017

    thank you for sharing Mr. James! you are so helpful to us. keep teaching!

  • crankshaw

    December 13, 2017

    Please help !!! How do I ask a question correctly. Is this correct: ''Was what I said not true ?''If it's incorrect please tell me how should it be said

  • Bhushan Kale

    December 17, 2017

    Thanks a ton from INDIA!!

  • Killer De

    December 19, 2017

    Ти че все

  • Hirakjyoti Bezbaruah

    December 26, 2017

    this video is very helpful for me. thanks from India

  • Fatma fafetoo

    January 5, 2018

    I'm crazy about the way u can teach

  • Janani Sai

    January 7, 2018

    Thank u from India😊

  • Natalia47 hb

    January 11, 2018

    So… cruel with me is wrong?

  • Eric Wang

    January 20, 2018

    Nice vid! Crazy about James' vid!

  • Thiago Oliveira

    January 23, 2018

    You're a funny guy haha

  • Man Man Chan

    February 4, 2018

    We can say mean on someone?

  • Mehdi Rzayev

    February 4, 2018

    Thanks from Germany!

  • Wesley 0202

    February 6, 2018

    Sorry, but I could not undertand the difference between the prepositions On and To and abut their usage. It is confusing to me, why I cannot say "Tough to" or "Rough to" if it can be directed to someone, as in " He is been rough to me".

  • certified sapmson 2

    February 6, 2018

    can it also be mean to the dog

  • Kaijin Is The Greatest !!!

    February 11, 2018

    It's surely helpful to me…..

  • Ostap Sokoliuk

    February 15, 2018

    Amazing lesson! Thank God you exist, dear James!

  • vikash kumar

    February 22, 2018

    sir am from india very helpful video thank you

  • Elisa Marchete

    February 28, 2018

    You are so great James! thanks and please keep doing this beautiful job. From Brazil 🙂

  • Daniel Anguita

    February 28, 2018

    Thank you James from Spain. I'm crazy about your lessons.

  • Morena Mia

    March 2, 2018

    Don't cray, we love u!!

  • Alyssa Lane

    March 8, 2018

    he really loves drawing the snakes

  • Alon Bechor

    March 9, 2018

    Your tutorials are adorable but what stands out the most is your extraordinary outfits.

  • Jessica Campbell

    March 15, 2018

    Thanks for these videos! At 32, I'm finally studying to get my GED. I found these videos extremely helpful

  • Erika Marcela Monterroza Lopez

    March 27, 2018

    Thankyou very much! you are very practical to explain.

  • Dalal Dalal

    April 15, 2018

    Hi jeams could you give us lesson about use for and of .thank you

  • Ayesha Bi

    April 25, 2018

    thank you very much i have learnt it

  • Fawad Aman

    May 2, 2018

    i always watch your videos it is really helpful to me and you are kind to your students and i am crazy about your teaching
    from Afghanistan

  • Priya Singh

    May 7, 2018

    Best teacher in the world..

  • Lalia W

    May 12, 2018

    I really need someone to speak with …

  • Jagadish Achari

    May 22, 2018

    I like you teach

  • Mukesh Pareek

    May 29, 2018

    unpleasant ** correction

  • canada queen

    May 29, 2018

    That was verry helpfull for me !thanks a lot

  • Marina Pineda

    May 30, 2018

    I love your classes.

  • Sabreen Fatima

    May 30, 2018

    You are a superb teacher. Thanks from India

  • pahadi tv

    May 31, 2018

    Thank yu sir.
    Your name should be james bond
    Your intro is like james bond … 🙂

  • Aran Jevi

    June 9, 2018

    It was all fun and games until I noticed "UNPLEASENT"

  • Kithmi Kithmi

    June 10, 2018

    Thank you,cute teacher,from S’pore

  • Abomo Olivia

    June 11, 2018

    Thanks so much

  • Box Khalid

    June 12, 2018

    every time you look younger what's your secret james

  • Ana Ana

    June 18, 2018

    Thx Mr James …it's vert helpful

  • Eman may

    June 20, 2018

    U are the best teacher ever I met.❤️❤️❤️

  • Immanuela Angwi

    June 23, 2018

    Thanks from Cameroon

  • Immanuela Angwi

    June 23, 2018

    My spoken English has greatly improved thanks to u may the almighty God give u the will power to always do this

  • Elif Güneş

    June 23, 2018

    I'm from Turkey and I love your lessons. Thank you.

  • Marbouh Nadia

    July 1, 2018

    you are very helpful tu us , so thanks a lot 🙂

  • D19 V89

    July 6, 2018

    I like all your videos thank you teacher

  • Riya Thapa

    July 6, 2018

    I’m crazy about you 🙈😍😍❤️❤️

  • مجهول *

    July 15, 2018

    Thanks a lot from yemen

  • Simmi Sekhar

    August 8, 2018

    It would be better if e is substituted with letter a in the word unpleasant

  • Abolore Olalere

    August 13, 2018

    Thanks James from Nigeria. I love your lesson to death!

  • 萨格尔王扛200斤麦子走10里山路不换肩

    September 1, 2018

    hey, bro, i like your teaching style, really! warm heart, exciting and easy to understand it

  • Pankaj Patil

    September 5, 2018

    Very good

  • Aaron

    September 8, 2018

    James is soft on his students.

  • Carmine Russano

    September 9, 2018

    Thanks buddy

  • Cathrine Mutandiro

    September 13, 2018

    Great video! Thanks

  • Lara Senim

    September 29, 2018

    Thank you!!! you r amazing teacher ♥️

  • Houtan Hetfield

    September 29, 2018

    Im crazy boutcho videos😍Hails

  • Decio31081971 jr

    October 1, 2018

    James, you are a legend! Excellent explanations as always…Congrats!
    I'd love to see you talking about FUTURE tenses ( s.present, will, going to and to be verb+ing to) At least, I haven't found a video from YOU about this topic. It would be great having YOU talking about it.

  • Cong Vo Tan

    October 8, 2018

    I'm crazy about you. You are very helpful to us.

  • Dmitrii Sh.

    October 19, 2018


  • Linda A

    October 19, 2018

    Thank you from Australia. Best teacher👌👍❤

  • Roberta Mascarelli

    October 20, 2018

    You’re really amazing !

  • Ashaz

    October 30, 2018

    Thank you from england

  • Toli Batzios

    November 3, 2018

    James, my students and love your lessons here in Prague! Thank you 🙂

  • -肖紅旗

    November 5, 2018

    less hard on = be nicer to

  • Eddie Papu Cubes

    November 9, 2018

    rude "towards" her? is it the same thing or not?

  • Hương Hoàng

    November 24, 2018

    Thanks from VietNam ❤

  • Humberto Caspa

    December 9, 2018

    You are right James. Understanding the roots and the meaning of the preposition help so much to understand phrasal verbs. I wasn´t a fan of UTube, but now I can say that I´m crazy about it. Perhaps I´m addicted to. Gracias. I almost gave up my goal to turn into a native speaker and writer because of phrasal verbs. With your help and also all the courses of UTube from other teachers, I will reach that goal. Gracias amigo.

  • Carla Guedes

    December 11, 2018

    Can you please explain “for”? For example, difficult for me or to me?

  • Hunter Sims

    December 14, 2018

    this was a very helpful video. thank you.

  • Santiago Alcubierre

    December 18, 2018

    love your lessons!.

  • keshav bansal

    January 5, 2019

    Is preposition are fixed in English

  • Balde Amie

    January 17, 2019


  • Hpro

    January 20, 2019

    thank you from Morocco

  • 코딱지나발루

    February 17, 2019

    I am crazy about your vedio XD

  • Aisha mohammed

    February 28, 2019

    it is very nice topic , and it help me to know more about the difference between to , on , and about , so, thanks a lot ,,,

  • Mariam Sargsyan

    March 12, 2019

    hi , thank you from Armenia 🇦🇲

  • domfp133

    March 23, 2019

    You’re the guys, best explanations ever! Thank you so much!!

  • ?A

    March 26, 2019

    good 🙂

  • Chinoca Rachide

    April 11, 2019

    You look Superb. Thanks for your lesson's James.

  • David Jordan Parra Quispe

    April 19, 2019

    A big thanks from a humble student.

  • Mehri

    May 14, 2019

    Thank u from Iran😍

  • Melissa Constant

    May 28, 2019

    Nice teacher

  • Cavansir Hasanzada

    May 29, 2019

    Thanks for Azerbaijan 🇦🇿

  • Haruto Happy

    June 3, 2019

    Dude this guy teached me a lot
    I respect for him

  • Marie Maude Labelle

    June 18, 2019

    Thank you teacher 🇭🇹🇭🇹🇭🇹


    June 30, 2019

    Thank you so much.
    You are simply superb…


    June 30, 2019

    I scored 3 out of 4…

  • Valentina Vega

    September 4, 2019

    Thanks 🌺


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