Using Resources to Find the Right Preposition

Using Resources to Find the Right Preposition


Finding the right word can be one of the more difficult parts of writing. One example of a challenging word choice area
is choosing prepositions. Prepositions are those little words, like
in, on, around, and over – that we find after many verbs. One of the greatest challenges for many people
in writing English is choosing which preposition to use. Am I preparing to my exam? Preparing about my exam? Preparing for my exam? How do I know which one to choose? In this video, you will learn:
• How to use an Advanced Learner’s Dictionary to find information about the best preposition
to use in your sentence. Many aspects of English grammar follow predictable
rules – you could look at a grammar reference book for information, and follow the rules
that are given. But many prepositions are often what we call
idiomatic – there might not be a rule to follow to decide which preposition you should
use. But don’t give up in frustration quite yet
– there may be a way to make the right choice after all. An Advanced Learner’s Dictionary is a great resource if English isn’t your first language You can choose to buy a copy (which might
be a great investment for you!), or to use a free version online. A Learner’s Dictionary is different from
a regular dictionary because it includes examples of how a word is used in context. Even if you know what the word means already,
a Learner’s Dictionary is helpful because it explains how words are used – which can
be very valuable in situations like this, where rules aren’t a reliable guide. Let’s go back to the exam preparation example. You want to find out what preposition to use
after the verb prepare. In today’s video, we will use the online
version of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, found at oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com
Your first step is to look up prepare. You probably know what it means already, but
the dictionary can still give you some helpful information. After finding the word, you’ll read through
the definitions. We see that one definition says
says “to make yourself ready for something” – this sounds like the meaning that you’re
trying to write here. There’s an example sentence as well – “The
whole class is working hard preparing for the exams”. That sounds a lot like what you want to write. After using the example as a guide, your sentence
looks something like this: “I am preparing for my exam this week”. Problem solved! To review what we’ve done, in this video
you learned how to: • Look up a word in an Advanced Learner’s
Dictionary to find information about the right preposition to use. You may want to continue exploring this site
on your own. What other helpful information do you find
that can support you in choosing the best word? By learning to use dictionaries and resources
well, you will be on your way to expressing yourself clearly and precisely.

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