Learning Prepositional Collocations in a Simple Way


Prepositional collocation occurs when particular words like nouns, adjectives, and verbs behave together with certain prepositions. This means that there are special words in nouns, verbs, and adjectives that can be used with certain prepositions.

It is possible for a word to behave with more than one preposition and give an entirely different meaning. Let’s consider the following examples:

(i)      Die of

(ii)     Die for

(iii)    Die on

(iv)    Diein

(a)     Someone can die of illness. For example:

Timmy dies of gonorrhea.

(b)     Someone can die for someone. For example:

Jesus Christ died for the people.

(c)      Someone can die on something or the issue. For example:

The man died on the issue of money.

(d)     Someone can die inside something. For example:

They die in prison or Raymond dies in bed.

Prepositions require wide study to understand their different meanings and usages. But efforts have been made to make it easier for the readers to use them (prepositions) correctly. Consider the following discussions.

Various Categories of Prepositional Collocations



Agree with is used for ‘someone’ For example,

(i)      I agree with Fatia.

(ii)     Those students agreed with them.

‘Fatia’ and ‘them’ refers to ‘someone’. Note that ‘someone’ may be a noun or pronoun which is a human being.

Agree to is used for ‘something’ like suggestion, advice, or proposal. For examples.

(i)      Dada, we agree to your suggestions.

(ii)     Everybody must agree to his proposal.

Agree on is used for ‘something’ in terms of issues or prices. For examples,

(i)      I couldn’t agree on that price.

(ii)     My mum has now agreed on the matter discussed yesterday.


Angry with is used to refer to ‘someone’. For example:

(i)      I am angry with you.

(ii)     Last week, Dad was angry with Toyin.

‘You’ and Toyin represent ‘someone’ we are talking about.

Angry at is used to indicate ‘something’. For example:

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(i)      I was always angry at Tola’s behavior.

(ii)     My parents feel angry at your attitude.

‘behavior’ and ‘attitude’ represent ‘something’ we are referring to, not ‘Tola’ and ‘your’. So, don’t say:

…angry with Tola’sbehaviour.

…angry with your attitude.


Appeal to is applicable ‘someone’. For example:

(i)      When my teacher wants to beat me, I appeal to him.

(ii)     Sola appealed to me when I wanted to punish him.

‘him’ and ‘me’ refer to ‘someone’ Don’t say ‘appeal for’ in this sense.

Appeal for is applicable to ‘something wrong’ or ‘any offences’ that someone has done or committed. For examples:

(i)      Sir, I appeal for disrespecting you.

(ii)     He is appealing for not showing up in the meeting.

‘disrespecting’ and ‘not showing up’ are offenses that someone has committed. So, don’t say: ‘appeal to’ in this sense.

Appeal against is applicable to a decision, a suggestion, a proposal, etc. For example:

(i)      Mr. Mathew appeals against my suggestions during the meeting.

(ii)     Sulaiman appeals against Olu’s proposal.

‘appeal against’ means to beg for ‘not to support’ someone on the issues.


Abide with is applicable to ‘someone’. For example:

(i)      I will abide with you.

(ii)     We refuse to abide with Desola on her opinion.

‘Abide with’ also means ‘agree with or stay with’.

Abide by is applicable to something in terms of rules, laws, and regulations. For example:

(i)      All students must abide by the rules and regulations of their schools.

(ii)     All the members and the executive offices must abide by the laws of the company.

Abide in is applicable to ‘be part of’ or ‘remain in’. For example:

(i)      ‘Abide in me’ Jesus commanded.

(ii)     I wanted to abide in that group.

Abide in’ sentence (i) means ‘remain in me’ or ‘be part of me’.

Abide in sentence (ii) means ‘remain in that group’ or ‘be part of that group’.

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Speak with refers to ‘someone’ in (positive manners). For example:

(i)      My boss speaks with me on the phone.

(ii)     I wished to speak with Titilayo in the church but I couldn’t.

‘speak with’ implies exchange ‘talk’ between two parties.

Speak against refers to ‘someone’ in (negative or bad manners). For example:

(i)      One of the staff speaks against me before the principal.

(ii)     Jummy speaks against Daniel before their class teacher.

‘Speak against’ implies to ‘oppose or not support someone.

Speak about also refers to ‘something’ in terms of issues. For example:

(i)      Wole is speaking about the financial matter.

(ii)     That woman was speaking about the issue of stealing.

‘Speaking about’ means to speak concerning a particular issue or matter.


Deal with is used to refer to ‘someone’ or ‘something’. For example:

(i)      If you misbehave, I will deal with you. (Someone)

(ii)     Syntax is a complex course in language analysis, and I have to deal with it very well. (Something)

‘Deal with’ means to ‘solve the problems or carry out a task.’

Deal-in is used for the items of trade. For example:

(i)      His mother is dealing in selling goods.

(ii)     I deal in book publishing.

Don’t say deal with while referring to the ‘items of trade and businesses


Share among refers to more than two persons. For example:

(i)      The teacher shares the oranges among the students in class.

(ii)     Can you please share the money among the three of you?

In this context, don’t say ‘…between the students in class’ or ‘…between the three of you’.

Share between refers to only two persons. For example:

(i)      Those oranges should be shared between Bola and Sidi.

(ii)     Please how will you share these spoons between these two boys?

Don’t say ‘…be shared among Bola and Sidi. Or ‘…among two boys.’

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Good at is used to denote ‘expertise’ in something like games, ‘jobs’, or a subject like ‘mathematics’. For example:

(i)      Mr. Lawal is good at mathematics.

(ii)     Those editors are good at their jobs.

Don’t say, ‘… good in mathematics’ or ‘… good in their jobs’

Good in is used to denote other ideas except skills or expertise. For example:

(i)      James was good in English Language.

(ii)     The woman is good in politics.

Here, the skills or the expertise of ‘James’ and ‘the woman’ have not been identified., So, good in should be used. Don’t say:

‘…was good at English Language’.

‘…is good at politics.’

However, ‘English Language’ and ‘politics’ can admit good at if their practices are identified as:

(i)      James was good at teaching English Language.

(ii)     The woman is good at practicing politics.

Good for is used to denote useful effect, suitability, appropriateness, or fitness. For example:

(i)      Michael is not good for the work because he is inexperienced.

(ii)     That lady is good for me to marry.


Quarrel over is used to express ‘an issue’. For example:

(i)      Those people are quarreling over the issue of money.

(ii)     The oppressed have quarreled over their civil rights.

Quarrel with is used to indicate ‘someone’ which can be a noun or a pronoun. For example,

(i)      My elder brother often quarrels with me.

(ii)     I quarrel with Tola because she is proud.

The prepositional collocation is a study of prepositions in an explicit way. It is the combination of preposition and some words such as verbs or adverbs, There are further learning on prepositional collocations.

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