Prepositional Phrases

A prepositional phrase is a combination of a verb with a preposition. Such a combination may give different meanings to the same verb with different prepositions.


Ground in: instruct.

e.g. We should ground our children in love and values as they grow up.

Ground on: form a foundation for.

e.g. His intelligence was grounded on reading books on wisdom.


Noise about: gossip.

e.g. Please don’t noise about my being fired by my boss.


Hold at bay: keep someone or something at a safe distance.

e.g. The bombing might be able to hold the enemies at bay, at least for a while.

e.g. The man could no longer hold his anger at bay, and he took out his gun and pointed at the policeman.

Hold back on: withhold something.

e.g. Hold back on this. We might need it in the days to come.

Hold by: stick to a promise.

e.g. I hope you will hold by this agreement.

Hold good for: remain open, such as an offer to someone or something.

e.g. Does it still hold good for everyone here, including members of the family?

Hold no brief for: not to tolerate someone or something.

e.g. We should hold no brief for social injustice.

Hold off: delay or postpone doing something.

e.g. Can you hold off buying this new car? We can’t afford it.

Hold out: survive.

e.g. I don’t think we can hold out much longer with this kind of income.

Hold a candle to: be equal to someone or something.

e.g. You don’t hold a candle to your brother when it comes to playing the guitar.

Hold one’s head up: be confident.

e.g.  Hold your head up when it comes to public speaking.

Hold still for: put up with something.

e.g. It is not easy to hold still for that kind of rude remark.

Hold up on: delay or postpone further action.

e.g. Hold up on the appointment; we may have a better candidate.

Hold with: agree or tolerate something.

e.g. I don’t think I can hold with your preposition.


 Appeal against: ask a court to cancel something.

e.g. The lawyer appealed against the court’s decision.

 Appeal for: demand as a right.

e.g. I think we should appeal for justice.

e.g. They are appealing for our help.

 Appeal to: attract or please someone.

e.g. The proposal appealed to many of us.

e.g. Her personality appeals to everybody around her.

e.g. Does this food appeal to your taste?


Include among: choose or classify.

e.g. He included himself among the top writers of science fiction.

Include in: invite.

e.g. I think we’ll include him in the party.

Stephen Lau        

Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau


Author: Stephen Lau

Born in Hong Kong, Stephen Lau received his education from the University of Hong Kong, SEAMEO in Singapore, and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He has published books on learning English as well as on health and wisdom in living. He now resides in the United States.

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