Preposition Trivia: Test Your Grammar

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Juliette is a middle school English teacher at Sacred Heart of Greenwich, Connecticut. Juliette earned a BA in English/Language Arts Teacher Education from Elon University (2016-2020) and an MA in Teaching Writing from Johns Hopkins University (Apr 2023-Dec 2025). She holds a Classroom Teacher license from the Connecticut State Department of Education, obtained in July 2021. Juliette possesses strong skills in English language arts, writing, editing, and literature study. She has a deep passion for working with young people and contributing to the education of America's youth in the classroom.
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What would the correct preposition be: "This material is different ___ that."?

Answer: From
The preposition "from" is used to indicate distinction or comparison between two things. In English grammar, "different from" is a standard collocation that establishes a contrast by comparing one item's qualities to another's, thus suggesting dissimilarity in characteristics or nature. This construction helps to clarify that the material being discussed possesses qualities that set it apart from the other material mentioned, making "from" the most suitable choice for highlighting differences.

What would the correct preposition be: "You should explain this ___ them."?

Answer: To
In English, the verb "explain" typically demands direct engagement with the audience, which is specified using the preposition "to." This preposition directs the flow of information from the speaker to the listener. It effectively creates a link between the content of the explanation and the recipients, ensuring that the intended audience is clear, and establishes the directionality of the communication.

What would the correct preposition be: "He has been absent ___ Monday."?

Answer: Since
"Since" is used to signify the start of a period extending to the present. It’s particularly useful for continuous or ongoing actions or states that began at a past point and continue until now. In this context, "since" establishes a clear temporal starting point (Monday), emphasizing the duration and continuity of the absence, which remains relevant up to the current moment.

What would the correct preposition be: "I haven't been to the theater ___ a long time."?

Answer: In
The expression "in a long time" implies a significant period has elapsed. The preposition "in" here does not just mark the span of time; it emphasizes the length of the interval during which an action has not occurred. This usage underscores the duration of absence from a particular activity (visiting the theater) and highlights a sense of nostalgia or the passing of time since the last occurrence.

What would the correct preposition be: "He goes ___ school in his mom’s car."?

Answer: To
"To" indicates movement towards a destination. It is the correct preposition when describing actions that involve physical movement from one location to another, ending at a specific endpoint. In this sentence, "to" is used to show that the subject’s journey is directed toward and terminates at the school, clearly specifying the endpoint of the travel.

What would the correct preposition be: "This is a comfortable house to live ___."?

Answer: In
"In" is typically used with enclosed spaces where living or dwelling occurs. It suggests a sense of placement within the boundaries or confines of a physical space, such as a house. Using "in" indicates residing inside the physical structure of the house, which is central to the concept of living as it involves inhabiting the space.

What would the correct preposition be: "They are called ___ different names."?

Answer: By
The preposition "by" introduces the agent or means through which an action is performed. When we say "called by different names," "by" helps to express the method or process through which the naming occurs, indicating that these various names are used by others when referring to them, reflecting the diversity of identifiers used by external parties.

What would the correct preposition be: "We should not spend money ___ luxuries."?

Answer: On
"On" is used to link expenditures with their purposes. It specifically associates the act of spending with what the money is being used for, indicating direct allocation of financial resources. In this context, it cautions against using money for luxuries, suggesting a direct connection between the spending activity and the items or experiences being purchased.

What would the correct preposition be: "I gave him a chair to sit ___."?

Answer: On
"On" is the appropriate preposition for designating someone sitting on a surface. It indicates contact with the surface of an object, in this case, the chair. The preposition "on" locates the action of sitting in relation to the chair, specifically referring to the upper surface where one sits.

What would the correct preposition be: "The new semester begins ___ June 1st."?

Answer: On
"On" is precisely used with specific calendar dates to denote when events occur. This preposition specifies that the event (the start of the semester) occurs directly on this particular date, pinpointing the exact day without ambiguity, thus marking a specific point in time.

He poured the tea ___ the mug.

Answer: Into
The preposition "into" is specifically used to denote movement from one point to another, particularly entering a new space or container. In this instance, "into" describes the action of transferring a liquid (tea) from its container into the confines of another container (the mug). This preposition emphasizes the directional aspect of the pouring action, clearly indicating that the tea is moving from the outside of the mug to the inside, filling it.

He said he was very pleased ____ my work.

Answer: With
"With" is the appropriate preposition to express satisfaction regarding specific outcomes, conditions, or associations. When used in the phrase "pleased with," it conveys a sense of satisfaction or approval concerning the subject matter, which in this case is "my work." The use of "with" here indicates that the speaker's positive feelings are directly connected to the quality or result of the work performed. This preposition is commonly employed in expressions of emotional responses where the source of the emotion (the work) directly influences the nature of the response (pleasure or approval).
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