Fill in the blanks with suitable Prepositions :- (1) The village was destroyed ....... fire. (2) I have not seen him ........ Wednesday last. (3) I have been working hard ........ arithmetic. (4) It's ten o'clock ...... watch. (5) The public are cautioned ...... pickpockets.

Expert Answers

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1. by

2. since

3. on

4. by my

5. against

Prepositions can be difficult in English if you are a non-native speaker. They are words that show a relationship or connection between two other words. It's important to remember that in English, the order in which words are placed is all-important for determining meaning. To put it another way, you usually can't tell how words relate to each other by their endings, but must rely on where they are placed in the sentence. For example, "Cathy came after Alfred in the line" means the opposite of "Alfred came after Cathy in the line." The preposition "after" and the placement of the names are important in determining the meaning of the sentence.

Because prepositions can sound interchangeable to a non-native speaker, it is important to read as much English as possible and to listen carefully to how people in your location speak in order to learn the correct use of prepositions--and in the meantime, not to worry too much while you are learning!

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The most likely answers here are

  1. by
  2. since
  3. on or perhaps at -- on is more American, but it seems to me that I have heard British people use "at."
  4. on my
  5. against

Remember that a preposition typically talks about how one thing (the object of the preposition) is related to the rest of the sentence.  So prepositions are things like "on" and "beside" that show relationships between two things.  If you can remember that, you can have a better chance of figuring out prepositions for yourself.

I was once told that you could learn prepositions by filling in the sentence "The rabbit is ________ the box.  And anything that you could put in that space is a preposition.  It's not quite true, because you could put "chewing" there.  But any other word (s) like "in" or "by" or "on" or "next to" is a preposition.

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