Scientific English as a Foreign Language
Answers to Lesson of November 14, 1997

Prepositions are difficult in every language. For native French speakers, English and German can be challenging, because the prepostions in English and German can greatly influence the sense of a sentence. For example:

The four sentences above have different meanings, just by changing the preposition. Sadly, I can't give you any rules or guidelines as to when to use one preposition or the other. You must learn by paying attention to usage. Try these. (Sometimes no preposition is necessary.)

1. Yield in metals is associated with dislocation motion.
2. Please subscribe to the journal.
3. He told me that my assumptions were bad.
4. He said to me that my assumptions were bad.
5. Keukle dreamt about the chemical structure of benzene.
6. After annealing, the sample was taken out of the oven.
7. After annealing, the sample was taken from the oven.
8. I will participate in the discussion.
9. The adsorbates preferentially bind to the steps.
10. At the steps, the work function is changed due to a surface dipole moment.

Two photons, close-coupled at start,
Flew several parsecs apart.
Said one, in distress,
"What you're forced to express
Removes any choice on my part."

-D. Halliday

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Created April 30, 1998, by Nancy Burnham and Fred Hutson.