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Learning Prepositions

A prepositional phrase is a combination of a verb with a preposition. Such a combination may give different meanings to the same verb with different prepositions.


Ground in: instruct.

e.g. We should ground our children in love and values as they grow up.

Ground on: form a foundation for.

e.g. His intelligence was grounded on reading books on wisdom.


Noise about: gossip.

e.g. Please don’t noise about my being fired by my boss.


Hold at bay: keep someone or something at a safe distance.

e.g. The bombing might be able to hold the enemies at bay, at least for a while.
e.g. The man could no longer hold his anger at bay, and he took out his gun and pointed at the policeman.

Hold back on: withhold something.

e.g. Hold back on this. We might need it in the days to come.

Hold by: stick to a promise.

e.g. I hope you will hold by this agreement.

Hold good for: remain open, such as an offer to someone or something.

e.g. Does it still hold good for everyone here, including members of the family?

Hold no brief for: not to tolerate someone or something.

e.g. We should hold no brief for social injustice.

Hold off: delay or postpone doing something.

e.g. Can you hold off buying this new car? We can't afford it.

Hold out: survive.

e.g. I don't think we can hold out much longer with this kind of income.

Hold a candle to: be equal to someone or something.

e.g. You don't hold a candle to your brother when it comes to playing the guitar.

Hold one's head up: be confident.

e.g.  Hold your head up when it comes to public speaking.

Hold still for: put up with something.

e.g. It is not easy to hold still for that kind of rude remark.

Hold up on: delay or postpone further action.

e.g. Hold up on the appointment; we may have a better candidate.

Hold with: agree or tolerate something.

e.g. I don't think I can hold with your preposition.


Appeal against
: ask a court to cancel something.

e.g. The lawyer appealed against the court’s decision.

Appeal for
: demand as a right.

e.g. I think we should appeal for justice.
e.g. They are appealing for our help.

Appeal to
: attract or please someone.

e.g. The proposal appealed to many of us.
e.g. Her personality appeals to everybody around her.
e.g. Does this food appeal to your taste?


Include among: choose or classify.

e.g. He included himself among the top writers of science fiction.

Include in: invite.

e.g. I think we’ll include him in the party.


Argue about: dispute or quarrel with someone over.

e.g. They often argue about racial injustice over the dinner table.

Argue against: make a case against someone or something.

e.g. The police discovered new evidence that argued against the criminal charge.

Argue back: answer back.

e.g. I wish he would not argue back so much.

Argue down: defeat someone in a debate.

e.g. He tries to argue down everyone who has opposite views.

Argue for: make a case for someone.

e.g. My lawyer will argue for me in court.

Argue into: convince someone to do something.

e.g. I could not argue myself into helping you in this project.

Argue with: challenge someone or something.

e.g. I won’t argue with what you do; after all, it is your choice.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Building Vocabulary
Confusing Words
Correcting the Incorrect
Learning Grarnmar
Learning Prepositions
Learning Sentence Style
Learning Some Slang