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ESL Worksheets: Two-Word Prepositions

Level: ESL High-Intermediate

Objectives: help recognize compound prepositions; identify prepositional phrases; practice prepositions made up of two words
Teacher Notes:
Write the following proverb on the board. Discuss its meaning:
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree (children are similar to their parents behavior-wise; e.g.: a daughter loves to go shopping just as much as her mother does).
Discuss the structure of the proverb:
Where is the subject? (the apple)

Where is the verb? (doesn’t fall)

What is ‘far from the tree’? (a prepositional phrase that completes and modifies the verb showing the spatial relation between the two).
Mention that even though ‘far’ is commonly used as an adjective, in this sentence it functions as the first part of the preposition ‘far from’. In English, prepositions can occur as combinations of two (or more) words.
Two-word prepositions can start in an adjective, adverb, a conjunction, or another preposition, and generally end in a common simple preposition, e.g.: close by, instead of, as to, out of.  In most of the two-word prepositions, the meaning is in the first part and the second part links to the complement of the preposition (within the prepositional phrase): according to my doctor, because of what he said.
Two-word prepositions are never a part of a subject (even if they start a sentence).
A comma is used to set off a prepositional phrase at the beginning of a sentence:
Thanks to the community effort, the fundraiser was a big success.
Hand out the worksheet. Students form two-word prepositions using the given words in Forming Two-Word Prepositions. Have students pronounce the prepositions with the correct stress which falls on the word preceding the final preposition. Also, remind that /f/ in ‘of’ sounds as /v/.
Students fill in the prepositions in the sentences in Identifying Prepositional Phrases, bracket prepositional phrases and find the object of a preposition.
Wrap up with Conversation Questions or have students make their own sentences with the two-word prepositions.
Student Handout


Tuesday, May 24, 2011 AT 1:46 PM
Agatha said:
Got it! Tahkns a lot again for helping me out!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 AT 4:47 AM
kathryn moore said:

Friday, August 12, 2011 AT 3:09 AM
Lea said:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 AT 1:57 AM
Ernest Nkamta said:

Monday, August 27, 2012 AT 11:58 AM
Claudia said:
So I only just found this blogpost now, but I agree with Allan for me it feels more naautrl to say switch the cooker off'. I'm from the North of England, and I must admit I've not heard the joined' version all that much. It might be something to do with the order you get when you're dealing with pronouns vs. full NPs. So (a) switch off the cooker' and (b) switch the cooker off' are both acceptable, but I don't think you'd hear anyone say (c) switch off it' in favour of (d) switch it off' at least for me, (c) is completely ungrammatical. Maybe the fact that there is much less flexibility in the order when pronouns are involved reinforces the preposition last' order for some people?Then of course there are examples like look after the children', which are different again

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ESL Worksheet - Two Word Prepositions.pdf

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