Verb + Preposition + Gerund (Verb-Prep Combinations)

Express opinion or comment on activities

Stressed out man
 

 

Verb + preposition combinations complemented by gerunds

VERB + PREP + NOUN

Some verbs that express opinion or attitude about an activity are paired with particular prepositions and followed by the activity in the form of a noun or noun phrase.

SUBJ + VERB + PREP PREP COMPLEMENT
NP + V + PREP 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

These verb + preposition combinations may also be followed by the activity in the form of a gerund or gerund clause.

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

Jack talked about

leaving.

leaving his job.

Jack objects to

working.

working overtime.

Jack doesn't care for

accounting.

accounting work.

Jack puts off

vacationing.

taking a vacation.

 

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:  elements required by the verb: object, indirect object, predicative complement  

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verb + Preposition Combinations

List

 

 

 

Verb & Preposition Lists

ABOUT

agree about  We agreed about ending the matter.

argue about  We argued about spending money.

care about  We care about recycling things.

complain about  He complains about getting old.

forget about  She forgets about calling us.

talk about  He talks about getting married.

think about   We are thinking about joining them

worry about  She worried about getting lost.

dream about  He dreams about playing ball.

AGAINST

decide against  We decided against buying a car.

warn against  They warn against giving out info.

AFTER 

look after  I will look after buying the tickets.

AT 

delight at  She was delighted at seeing him again.

excel at  He excels at playing chess.

laugh at  We laughed at walking a cat on a leash

rejoice at  They rejoiced at hearing the news.

 

FOR

apologize for  I apologized for being late.

blame for  I was blamed for losing the game.

care for  I don't care for wearing shorts. 

stand for They won't stand for having such nonsense.

IN

believe in  She believes in being well-educated.

deal in   He deals in selling real estate.

engage in   He engages in starting up new businesses

give in/into I won't give into his complaining.

interest in   He is interested in being a scientist.

participate in   They will participate in running the race.

result in  Distraction can result in an accident.

specialize in  He will specialize in making wine.

succeed in  He succeeded in winning the race.

LIKE 

feel like  Do you feel like going out?

 

FROM 

keep from  They tried to keep him from leaving.

suffer from  He suffers from not having Vitamin C.

refrain from   I refrained from saying anything.

stop from  He was stopping from going in. 

OF 

accuse of   He was accused of lying.

approve of  They approved of doing that.

dream of  He dreams of playing ball. 

in charge of  He is in charge of collecting tickets.

take care of   I took care of making reservations.

think of   We thought of a new way to fix that.  

OFF 

call off  He called off playing the game in the rain.. 

put off  He put off going to business school. 

OVER

think over   He is thinking over moving away.

talk over  We talked over buying a new home.

 

ON

agree on  We agreed on renting the condominium.

concentrate on  I concentrate on getting experience.

congratulate on  We congratulated them on winning.

continue on  He continued on sleeping all day.

depend on  We depend on getting help.

go on   Will you go on working?

insist on  He insists on coming too.

intent on   They were intent on waging war.

keep on   We keep on working.

plan on   She plans on taking a course.

rely on   We rely on their assisting us. 

TO

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

agree to   They agreed to leaving earlier.

devote to   A dog is devoted to working on your behalf.

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

look forward to  I look forward to seeing you.

object to  I object to doing all the work.

WITH 

agree with  He agrees with exercising daily.

charge with  They charge him with embezzling.

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

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

 

(Huddleston 7 §6.2)
Solution - lightbulbPop-Q "Dream of", "Use to" and "Look forward"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coordinated Verb + Prep Expressions

Including the 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 COORD PREDICATE 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)

 

 

 

 

Verb + Preposition Combinations

Commonly Confused

 

 

 

Commonly Confused Verb Expressions

VERB PHRASE SENTENCE

CARE ABOUT 
be concerned

I care about helping people to help themselves.

FEEL GUILTY ABOUT 
be regretful

I feel guilty about not calling home.

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)

BE GUILTY OF
having done a crime, offense 

He was guilty of stealing other people's credit card numbers.

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

Advanced

 

 

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)

Categories:  NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; Detdeterminer; PP – prepositional phrase; P – preposition; AdvP – adverb phrase; Adv – adverb; AdjP– adjective phrase; Adj – adjective; Subord – Subordinator;  Coord – Coordinator; Interj – Interjection

Functions: Subject:  Subject,   Predicate: Predicator (V) Complement:  elements required by the verb: object, indirect object, predicative complement  Adjuncts: (optional modifiers) Adj,  Adv, 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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 Practice pages:  Verb + PP Prac 1Verb + PP Prac 2