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English bloopers: Those pesky prepositions
Praveen Madhukar Naik
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June 15, 2007

Have your friends and colleagues been giving you a hard time about your English speaking skills? Don't fret, help is at hand!

We asked readers to send in English bloopers they've come across in their everyday life and how to avoid them. And in response a number of you have sent in oft-heard errors that people make in written or spoken English.

In this edition of our blooper series, Praveen Madhukar Naik, a software engineer from Bangalore, shares some valuable advice on the correct use of prepositions and how to avoid some very common mistakes.

1. Using prepositions where not required.

WRONG: Please don't make me to do it.
CORRECT: Please don't make me do it.

WRONG: Don't let him to go.
CORRECT: Don't let him go.

WRONG: There is so much of noise in this room.
CORRECT: There is so much noise in this room.

WRONG: Let's go for shopping.
CORRECT: Let's go shopping.

WRONG: I am hungry. Please order for some food.
CORRECT: I am hungry. Please order some food.

2. Omitting prepositions where they are required.

WRONG: Please convey her my condolences.
CORRECT: Please convey my condolences to her.

WRONG: Can you drop me at Pizza Hut?
CORRECT: Can you drop me off at Pizza Hut?

3. Other instances of prepositions being used incorrectly.

~ WRONG: I have been working in this company since three years.

CORRECT: I have been working in this company for three years.
CORRECT: I have been working in this company since 2004.

When 'since' is used as a time preposition, it is used only with reference to a specific point of time (eg: since 1995, since last Christmas, since yesterday) or with reference to a period of time that has already elapsed (eg: since childhood, since the probation period).

~ WRONG: Please pay attention on this topic.
CORRECT: Please pay attention to this topic.

~ WRONG: I travel on bus.
WRONG: I came in bus.
CORRECT: I travel by bus.
CORRECT: I came by bus.


We thank our readers for the witty emails detailing common English bloopers they've come across! Keep them coming in, and we'll keep publishing them. Three times a week, we'll provide articles featuring your responses.

If you'd like to share common bloopers you come across when people speak/ write in English, do mail your list of common bloopers, along with their correct alternative to -- we'll highlight them right here as a helpful guide to those trying to improve their English. Also make sure you include your FULL NAME, AGE, OCCUPATION and the CITY you are based in.

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