Prepositions: In, Into, Of
Chris Sawyer | Thursday, October 29, 2015
Grammar tips to use prepostions. Part Two.
In & Into
In and into usually have literal, spatial meanings (come in / get into a car, etc). Figuratively, we can also
enter into an agreement.
As mentioned above, we are interested in, or take or have an interest in, a subject. To be interested in doing something means to want to do, or be considering doing: I'm interested in taking up golf.
We also take part in (= participate in) activities: On the university campus there are many opportunities to take part in sports, drama, student politics and all sorts of other activities.
Discussing changes of level (of numbers / price / quality / temperature / unemployment, etc.), we can talk about a decline / fall / growth / increase / lack of movement / rise / spike in these things:
There has been another rise in house prices over the last three months.
We have seen a steady fall in the number of people out of work since the dramatic spike in unemployment two years ago.
There has been a gradual rise in life expectancy in all Western counties over the last fifty years.
We can look into (= investigate) a subject: Police are looking into further allegations of illegal payments in the world of football.
We can also cut or divide something into parts: She carefully cut the cake into four equal portions. (For translate from one language into another, see above.)
Of, used for identification, follows the names of capital cities: Lima is the capital of Peru;
- titles indicating hierarchy or function: the President of France, the Head of my department, the captain of the team, the Principal of the college, the CEO of the company, the Leader of the Party.
- words indicating family and other personal relations: a friend of John's a colleague of mine, the father of the boy who won the prize.
- nouns and adjectives indicating position: the south of France, twenty miles west of Algiers , the top of the mountain, the middle of the room, the best of the candidates, the natural home of the gorilla, the end of the story.
- and other identifying words: a type of insect, brands of car, examples of good practice,
lists of words, a description of the place, an analysis of a problem.
We may have in our minds a conception, an idea, an impression, or a notion of something:
Their idea of democracy is very different from ours.
I'm not sure where he got his bad impression of English food.
In this way, we may suspect s
a crime or of doing something wrong: They suspected him of eating all the biscuits
We may openly accuse someone of
doing something: The police accused him of taking part in the robbery.
If the case comes to court, the accused person may be convicted (= found guilty) of or acquitted (= found not guilty) of the charge. For
a conviction, there must be proof of the person's guilt. We can also have proof of a scientific theory (= overwhelming
evidence for it). The verb prove isn't followed by a preposition: They proved their case.
We may approve of or disapprove of someone's actions: I approve of the group's general objectives, but I disapprove of their breaking the law in their attempt to achieve them.
We may be afraid or terrified of something or someone:
I've always been afraid of heights.
She's terrified at the thought of getting old.
People may also die of a disease: "What did she die of?" "She died of pneumonia."
Someone or something can remind us of someone or something, deliberately or accidentally:
She reminded him of his promise.
This reminds me of my student days.
A lot of (food, work, etc.) = much; a lot of (people, questions, etc.) = many. We can also talk about a lack of money / food / experience, etc.; but we lack money, food or experience (without a preposition). Strangely, the adjective or present participle,
lacking, is followed by in: lacking in experience / lacking in patience,etc.
Of is used after many adjectives referring to someone's behaviour. We say that it is (or was) annoying / clever / cruel / cunning
/ generous / good / intelligent / kind / mean / nice / noble / polite / rude / stupid /sweet / thoughtful / thoughtless / typical / unkind / untypical
of someone to do something:
Chocolates! How kind of you!.
It was nice of him to send me a birthday card, but typical of him to get the day wrong.
It was rather stupid of me to forget that yesterday was a public holiday.
We can be proud of or ashamed of something, ourselves or our behaviour:
He's very proud of his new car.
You should be ashamed of yourself, behaving like that.
Naturally, they are proud of winning the championship.
Other adjectives followed by of include free and tired:
I'm tired of having to answer the same questions again and again.
It must be wonderful to be so completely free of doubt.
We can take care of (= look after) a child, a sick person or something that we value:
Peter takes care of the children while I go out to work.
You should take better care of you equipment.
Take care of yourself!
When asleep, we may dream about all types of things, but awake, we dream of things that we would love to do:
What did you dream about last night?
I've always dreamt of visiting the South Pacific.
He dreams of winning the Nobel Prize.
The Grammar blog is written by Stephen Smith who has been a teacher with OISE for over 10 years.