Get the Preposition Right!

Niyo Writers’ Corner

Prepositions are words that are used to link people, objects, time, and locations within a sentence. They’re common, mostly short (e.g., at, for, in, on, with, and to) and many of them have several uses, which often makes it difficult to know which preposition to use.

Prepositions hold sentences together and complete a thought. If you forget or misuse a preposition, your writing will sound like broken English, making it hard to understand. Here are a few rules for the most common prepositions:

Preposition usage rules

While this is not an exhaustive list, here are a few more preposition errors that can make your writing look sloppy and your thoughts incomplete:

1. Ending a sentence with a preposition: While it may sound good in some cases, it’s still considered grammatically incorrect. Ex:

Incorrect: Where is my phone at?

Correct: Where is my phone?

2. Referring to motion: It’s grammatically correct to say ‘into’ rather than ‘in’. Ex:

Incorrect: Ronit threw the ball in the basket.

Correct: Ronit threw the ball into the basket.

3. Talking about vs. discussing: ‘Talking’ and ‘discussing’ are similar activities, so often these two words are used interchangeably. However, the preposition ‘about’ should be used only with ‘talking’. Ex:

Correct: We’re talking about extreme sports.

Correct: We’re discussing extreme sports.

Incorrect: We’re discussing about extreme sports.

4. Comparing nouns using the word ‘different’: Always follow it with the word ‘from’. Very often, people say ‘different than’ instead of ‘different from’. Although it’s not technically a grammatical error, using ‘from’ is a better grammatical form. Ex:

Incorrect: Your phone is different than mine.

Correct: Your phone is different from mine.

By now you know how these little words we call prepositions can make a huge impact on your writing. On the same lines, making small habitual changes in life can have long-lasting positive effects. Check this short video by Bright Side and let us know if you’ve tried any of them.

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A helpful little writing tidbit for you to read, and incorporate into your day-to-day life: both in and outside of work

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Meenakshi Harpanahalli

Meenakshi Harpanahalli

Works at Niyo

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