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Verb + Prepositional Phrase

Express opinion or comment on activities

Stressed out man
 

 

Verb + preposition combinations complemented by gerunds

VERB + PREP + NOUN

A verb that expresses opinion or attitude about an activity often takes a specified¹ preposition as its complement. The preposition may be followed by a noun or a noun phrase.

SUBJ + VERB PREP COMPLEMENT
NP + V P + NP

Jack talked

about his job.

Jack objects

to his work load.

Jack doesn't care

for accountant work.

Jack puts

off his vacation.

VERB + PREP + GERUND CLAUSE

Or the verb and its specified preposition may take a gerund² or gerund clause³ as its complement. Note that the preposition does not "belong to the verb" but rather complements (completes) it.

SUBJ + VERB PREP COMPLEMENT
NP + V P + GER / GER CLS

Jack talked

about leaving.

about leaving his job.

Jack objects

to working.

to working overtime.

Jack doesn't care

for accounting.

for accounting work.

Jack puts

off vacationing.

off taking a vacation.

 

¹ a specified preposition is, in this case, a prepositional phrase that tends to be used after a particular verbcomplements the particular verb. 

² A preposition is no longer restricted to taking only a noun phrase as its "object"; it may take a wide variety of complements. See Prep Complements.

³ A gerund clause, formerly a "gerund phrase", is so called because it is categorized as a nonfinite clause. See Nonfinites–Gerund.

Categories:  NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; AdjP– adjective phrase; Adj – adjective; P – preposition; PP – prepositional phrase; GER – gerund; Nonfinite Clause: an infinitive or gerund clause (formerly "phrase"); Subord – Subordinator

Functions: Subject:  Subject,   Predicate: Predicator (V) Complement:  a word, phrase or clause required to complete the meaning of the subject and predicate, such as an object, an indirect object, or a predicative complement.  

prepositional complement – A  preposition may be complemented by a number of structures, not restricted to just an noun phrase.  Prep Complements

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verbs w/Prep + Gerund Complements

List

 

 

 

Verb & Preposition Lists

ABOUT

agree We agreedabout ending the matter. (on)

argue We argued about spending money.

care  We care about recycling things.

complain He complains about getting old.

forget She forgets about calling us.

talk He talks about getting married.

think  We are thinking about joining them.

worry  She worried about getting lost.

dream  He dreams about playing ball.

AGAINST

decide  We decided against buying a car.

warn They warn against giving out information.

AFTER

look I will look after buying the tickets.

AT

delight She was delighted at seeing him again.

excel  He excels at playing chess.

laugh  We laughed at walking a cat on a leash.

rejoice  They rejoiced at hearing the news.

 
FOR

apologize  I apologized for being late.

blame I was blamed for losing the game.

care  I don't care for wearing shorts. 

standThey won't stand for having such nonsense.

FROM

keep  She tried to keep from seeing him.

suffer  He suffers from not having Vitamin C.

refrain   She refrained from saying anything.

stop  He stopped them from leaving. 

IN

believe  She believes in being respectful.

deal   He deals in selling real estate.

engage   He engages in starting up new businesses.

give  He won't give into his complaining. (in/into)

interest   He is interested in being a scientist.

participate   They will participate in running the race.

result  Distraction can result in an accident.

specialize He will specialize in making wine.

succeed  He succeeded in winning the race.

 
OF

accuse   He was accused of lying.

approve  They didn't approve of his actions.

dream  He dreams of playing foot ball. 

in charge  He is in charge of collecting tickets.

take care   He took care of making reservations.

think   We thought of a new way to fix that.  

OFF

call  He called off playing the game in the rain. 

put  He put off going to business school. 

OVER

think   He is thinking over moving away.

talk  We talked over buying a new home.

ON

agree  We agreed on renting the condominium.

concentrate He is concentrating on getting experience.

congratulate  We congratulated them on winning.

continue  He continued on sleeping all day.

depend  We depend on getting help.

go   Will you go on working?

insist  He insists on coming too.

intend   They intend on waging war.

keep   We keep on working.

plan   She plans on taking a course.

rely   We rely on their assisting us. 

 
TO

adjust   I have adjusted to living in the U.S.

agree   They agreed to leaving earlier.

devote  A dog is devoted to working on your behalf.

get used/ be used  We are used to hearing traffic.

look forward I look forward to seeing you.

object  I object to doing all the work.

WITH

agree  He agrees with exercising daily.

charge They charge him with embezzling.

mess They don't want to mess with hiring lawyers.

trust I wouldn't trust them with doing this correctly.

LIKE

feel   Do you feel like going out?

 

(Huddleston 7 §6.2) (Swan 416 449)

Solution - lightbulbPop-Q "Dream of", "Use to" and "Look forward"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coordinated Expressions

Verb + Preposition

 

 

 

Verb and Preposition Expressions Coordinated 

COORDINATED EXPRESSIONS

When coordinating two verb + preposition expressions, the preposition after the first verb may be omitted if it is the same preposition as the one used after the second verb.  However, if the prepositions differ, both must be included. Also, both verb should make sense with the complement after the second verb.

SUBJ PREDICATE + PREP COORD PREDICATE + PREP PREP COMPLEMENT
PREPOSITION AGREEMENT

Jack

*apologizes

apologizes for

but

 

continues on

looking at his phone during dinner.

His girlfriend

*objects

objects to

and

complains about

sitting alone at dinnertime.

VERB FORM AGREEMENT

Jack

isn't interested in

 

or

engage in

doesn't engage in

 

having a face-to-face conversation.

His girlfriend

won't stand for

 

or

put up with

(both share won't)

being ignored.

AGREEMENT WITH COMPLEMENT

Jack

will agree to

and

adjust to

becoming a better dinner companion.

Jack

refrained from

(answering his phone)

 

and

concentrated on

being a better companion

(Does not make sense with both verbs.)

refrain (V)  — stop, discontinue

 

 

 

 

 

Verb + Preposition Combinations

Gerund Clause Time Frame "Perfect"

 

 

 

Unspecified Time vs. an Earlier (Past) Time

UNSPECIFED TIME

Because the gerund in a gerund clause is not marked for tense, person or number ("a reduced verb"), we have to guess the time frame from the context.  The timing is past, current, or future.

Jack talked

about changing jobs.

He complains

about ¹being passed over.
(not appreciated or promoted)

He specializes

in optimizing websites.

We congratulated him

on finding the new job.

PERFECT (PAST)

An earlier time may be expressed in the gerund clause by using the "perfect" verb form having + past participle.                                                                                                           

Jack talked

about having changed jobs.

He complains / complained

about ¹having been passed over.

He specializes

*in having optimized websites.
(no time differenced is needed)

We congratulated him

on having found the ideal job.

 

¹passed over (passive form) – not appreciated, selected for promotion or a salary bonus (extra pay)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commonly Confused

Verb + Prep Phrase Combinations

 

 

 

 

Commonly Confused Verb Expressions

VERB PHRASE SENTENCE

CARE ABOUT 
be concerned

I care about helping people to help themselves.

THINK ABOUT
consider

You should think about the problem.

THINK OVER 
consider

He thought it over before buying the car.  

THINK ABOUT 
focus on

She is the only thing that he can think about

VERB PHRASE SENTENCE

CARE FOR
like, enjoy

Do you care for watching game shows? (like, enjoy)

THINK OF 
predict, come to mind

I didn't think of the possible problems at that time.  / I couldn't think of his name.

THINK OF
have high regard for or opinion of

What did you think of that director. 

THINK ABOUT 
have high regard for or opinion of

What did you think about that movie.

 

Also see Phrasal Verbs.  (think up, think over, think of)
Solution - lightbulbPop-Q "Think of"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

He depends and worries about losing financial aid.

They took charge and succeeded in building safeguards for women's rights.

SOLUTION

He depends on and worries about financial aid.   (Do not omit the preposition when coordinating two verbs; remove losing.)

He depends on financial aid.

We worries about losing financial aid.

They took charge of and succeeded in building safeguards for women's rights.

They took charge of building…

They succeeded in building…

 

Pop-Q "Took charge"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional and Linguistic Description

 

 

Traditional vs Linguistic Description

TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

Prepositional expressions followed by gerunds  (Azar 14-2)
"Preposition combinations" followed by gerunds
"A gerund is frequently used as the object of a preposition

Prepositions after particular words and expressions (Swan 449)

  • "It is not always easy to know which preposition to use after a particular noun, verb or adjective."
  • "When we put a verb after a preposition , we normally use an -ing form ('gerund') not an infinitive.  (Swan 298.1)

verb + to  – "to" as a preposition (not as part of an infinitive)  Looking forward to… (Swan 298.2)

Grammaticised prepositions  (Huddleston 7 §6)

"Some prepositions have become grammaticised in the sense of having specific syntactic roles in the language that are not determined by their meaning.

He went in. [interior, location] / He is interested in science. [grammaticised]

A preposition accepts a gerund-participle clause as its complement.

He was interested in going to space camp. [gerund-participle clause / nonfinite]

Huddleston (653-61, 1329)

Lexical Categories: N – Noun; V – Verb; Aux – Auxiliary; Adj – Adjective; Adv – Adverb; P –Preposition; Det –Determiner.

Phrasal Categories: NP – Noun Phrase; VP – Verb Phrase; AdjP – Adjective Phrase; AdvP – Adverb Phrase; PP – Prepositional Phrase; DP – Determinative Phrase.

Clausal Categories: Cls – clause; F – finite clause; NF – nonfinite clause (Ger – gerund; Inf – infinitive; PPart – past participle).

Functions: Subj – subject; Pred – predicate/predicator; Compcomplement: elements required by an expression to complete its meaning (DO – direct object; IO – indirect object);  Adjunctadjunct: elements not required by an expression to complete its meaning (Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator); Suplsupplement: a clause or phrase added onto a clause that is not closely related to the central thought or structure of the main clause.

 

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Job Search

Job interview
 

 

Read the Context

Jason needs to find a job.  He delayed attendance of business school in order to get some work experience first. It is hard for him to become accustomed to the fact that he is unemployed.  He is worrying that he will not be able to pay the rent on his condominium.  Currently, he needs financial help from his parents. Jason would like to find a job in marketing.

He will select "branding" as his specialty. He will continue until he finds employment. His father is trying to help him. Jason desires to be independent. He often fails to thank his parents. Jason wishes to do well. For now, he is mentally managing the fact that he is one of the thousands of unemployed college graduates.

 

 

 

 

Select the verb and preposition expression that completes the sentence.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your responses to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or "Check 1-12" button.

 

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cope (V) – mentally manage or deal with a challenge

 

 

 Practice pages:  Verb + PP Prac 1Verb + PP Prac 2