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Hi all!

Can anyone give me a hint about how to get most suitable prepositions and possible collocations for any particular noun? Quite often dictionaries does not provide such sort of info leaving us confusing how to use the word. Grammar books tend to pile all prepositions together making a mess in the head, at school, at night, in the street, bla-bla-bla. But if I take some random word how do I figure the preposition which collocates with this word? Is it on the stern of the ship or at the stern? Such sort of thing.

May be some Google trick can show most used prepositions for the word?

Thanks
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Hi,

Welcome to the Forum.

I don't have a magic suggestion that will make all this easy for you. Prepositions are hard to learn (and hard to teach).

I think that the long-term solution is to read a lot of English, and slowly absorb this aspect rather unconsciously. I shudder a bit at the thought of you trying to memorize long lists of nouns and possible prepositions.

Remember that even if you make a mistake, it will seldom prevent you from communicating your meaning to another person.

Best wishes, Clive
VanyatkaHi all!

Can anyone give me a hint about how to get most suitable prepositions and possible collocations for any particular noun? Quite often dictionaries does not provide such sort of info leaving us confusing how to use the word. Grammar books tend to pile all prepositions together making a mess in the head, at school, at night, in the street, bla-bla-bla. But if I take some random word how do I figure the preposition which collocates with this word? Is it on the stern of the ship or at the stern? Such sort of thing.

May be some Google trick can show most used prepositions for the word?

Thanks
Hello Vanyatka

Is it on the stern of the ship or at the stern? Both 'on' and 'at are correct. I think using 'google' is a fairly good way of finding which preposition to use. Most of the time the prepositions used are correct, but be careful because sometimes mistakes are made. For example, you can find 'put up a performance' in 'google' but the correct expression is 'put on a performance.'

You say that grammar books tend to pile all prepositions together making a mess in the head. (I suggest you buy a book dealing in prepositions only.) From my experience, reading a book on English once will not be good enough. You should read it once, twice or even three times if you want to absorb what is said in the book. It's like reading an interesting storybook. You want to read it more than once. By reading a book on prepositions or any book on English usage or grammar once, a reader cannot hope to absorb the contents of the book because much of what you've read is forgotten. SO MY ADVICE IS TO READ THE BOOK ON ENGLISH MORE THAN ONCE SO THAT YOU REMEMBER AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE WHAT YOU'VE READ.

It is like history. You don't expect to learn the topics once and hope to remember everything. You need to revise.

I hope you will find my suggestion logical. I'm talking through experience because I have found that reading a book on English once is not good enough because when I read it again, I realised that I had forgotten much of what I had read.
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Hi guys,

Thanks for your replies and suggestions. It's all true about time that is needed to learn the lesson. But, honestly, I hoped for some practical and instant solution that could be used, especially in writing. I guess web cocordancers may help me here, how do you think? Please let me know if you know decent ones.

About collocations. There are web tools allowing to find synonyms of words, I wonder if same exist for collocations. I'll try to google it now and post here if I find anything interesting.
You could buy this:

LTP Dictionary of Selected Collocations

Or try this site:

http://view.byu.edu /

If you need help in using it, let me know.
Here are some prep + the stern combinations, but note that stern is also used as an adjective:

1 IN THE STERN340.342 AT THE STERN180.183 OVER THE STERN130.134 ON THE STERN110.115 TO THE STERN90.096 FROM THE STERN60.067 AGAINST THE STERN50.058 BY THE STERN50.059 UNDER THE STERN40.0410 WITH THE STERN30.0311 TOWARDS THE STERN20.0212 AS THE STERN20.0213 BENEATH THE STERN20.0214 NEAR THE STERN20.0215 OFF THE STERN10.0116 INTO THE STERN10.0117 BEYOND THE STERN10.0118 BETWEEN THE STERN10.0119 FOR THE STERN10.0120 DURING THE STERN10.01
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Thanks milky! That seems to be what I was looking for [H]
[H]
It would certainly be tedious to sit and try to memorize long lists of preposition/noun collocations. But maybe learning the most common ones could be useful and give a person confidence when he or she speaks. Prepositions are very difficult in every language by the way, not just in English.

We learn our mother tongue by hearing the same words and expressions over and over. Being a second language learner myself, (actually fifth) as well as an ESL teacher of English, I find it useful to say the collocations aloud. It becomes 'music'. And you will find that when you come to use those expressions in your day to day life, they will eventually just roll off your tongue. They will just 'sound right' as collocations do in your own language.

Here is an example of repetition leading to mastery: My students often say, "Even I study a lot ....". I slip in, "Even IF..." They keep saying it without the IF...and I keep correcting them. Now, they catch themselves most of the time. Why? Because 'EVEN IF' now go together in their heads, having heard me say it so often. Saying 'EVEN' alone no longer sounds right to their ears. 'EVEN IF' has become music.

Studies have shown that if we write down what it is we want to commit to memory AND at the same time, say it aloud, we retain it better.You are appealing to three senses; sight and touch (writing), hearing (saying the words aloud). Emotion: rose
Robin in Montreal
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