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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Errors Involving Prepositional Phrases

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in this video I want to look a little at

how you spot errors with prepositional

phrases and what you would have to do to

correct that kind of error so let's

begin with a sentence that has has a

couple of prepositional phrases in it

and there's no problem like a fool


invests only in stocks so the only

problem there is meeting with the

investment strategy it's it's it's it's

unbalanced but the grammar is perfect so

we have in stocks here that's a

prepositional phrase and then it's at

its functioning as an adverb it's

answering the question how does so hard

invest in stocks that's how it's at

verbal and it's modifying emphasis and

so is like a fool now when when a

prepositional phrase is standing outside

of the main clause the main clause here

is a large invest only in stocks that's

the that's the backbone of the sentence

and when you have a prepositional phrase

that beginning is the beginning the

sentence it's always functioning at

verbally and it's always there for

answering the question that is going to

deal with the main verb so how does he

invest he invests like a fool so like a

fool modifies invest we get a little

mixed up and think that it's modifiers

award but it isn't it's functioning that

verbally and saying how does he invest

like a fool that's how so here's a

sentence that works just fine like a

fool so lard invests only in stocks now

this next sentence I'll get out of the

way here like anyone in distress doubts

play the jobless now it's pretty clear

what's in the author's mind here that is

that the people but anyone in distress

that that's like the jobless so the

jobless are like anyone

in distress that's what is in the

co-authors mind there that the jobless

are like anyone in distress and so the

author has written like anyone in

distress doubts play the jobless but the

problem here is that like anyone mister

in distress like like a fool up above is

functioning at verbally and it's

modifying the verb play so what is

really being set by this sentence it is

not what is intended this is ant this

this prepositional phrase here like

anyone in distress it is asking the

question or it is answering the question

how do debts play the how do damage play

the jobless doubts playing the jobless

like anyone in distress

that's how dance played the jobless how

do they play them like anyone in

distress that's out well that of course

that's not what is meant the doubts are

not plaguing the jobless as anyone in

distress is plaguing the jobless that's

that's not what is being said here so

what you have to do to so if you were

marking this in a paper I would

underline this prepositional phrase and

say you know that there's an error in

modification that this prepositional

phrase isn't modifying what it's

supposed to so if you were to fix this

you have to do something like this yeah

if you were going to begin the same way

like anyone in distress

the jobless are plagued by doubts that

would work because now how are the

jobless plagued by doubts they're

plagued by anyone in distress that's how

and that that would work just fine let's

look at a couple different kinds of

other problems

that's one one problem here this is very

common is that this prepositional phrase

like anyone in distress isn't modifying

what it's supposed to modify if the

sentence actually doesn't make good

sense here's another kind of problem

that comes up with prepositional phrases

I've heard Sultan give a speech for the

first time well the prepositional phrase

here is for the first time and again it

has to be functioning and verbally

remember if a prepositional phrase is

functioning like an adjective it will

immediately follow the noun it's it's

modifying than the speech it's it's not

functioning adjective early it's not

saying what kind of speech the speech

for the first time that's what kind of

bit doesn't make any sense at all so

it's certainly functioning at verbally

and it sounds the sentence may sound

okay because unlike this one like any

one distress that's like the jobless

there's no strange meanings here the

problem is is that there are two

meanings that are equally likely to come

out of this this sentence and you can't

tell which meaning is intended so I

heard Soltan give a speech for the first

time there is no way for us to tell

whether for the first time is supposed

to modify give or whether it's supposed

to modify heard that is there's no way

to say whether this speaker means Zoltan

has been giving speeches you know for

four years or months or whatever and I

only just heard him for the first time

or whether the speaker is saying that

this was zoltan's first speech and I

heard him the time that he first gave a

speech the time that he gave a speech

for the first time

so you can't tell whether that this that

this is Sultan's maiden speech or

whether Zoltan is an experienced speaker

that has only now been heard by our eye

for the first time so this there's no

nonsensical modification as there was in

this sense of period but there's

ambiguity so you would have to recast

the sentence to get rid of that

ambiguity you can't just move things

around so here is one last example of a

problem that could come up using

prepositional phrases during the chapter

civil rights are analyzed in detail now

the problem here is just that you can't

use URI which is a preposition you just

can't use it idiomatic ly in this

sentence during the blank the thing that

follows has got to be something that

that is an event that unfolds in time

you know during the storm during the

early part of the year during the

discussion that is some kind of event

that that unfolds temporarily but a

chapter is not such an event so you

can't say during the chapter so there's

not a thinking that's not a problem with

ambiguity there's not a problem with

nonsensical modification it's just the

question of the here there's the wrong

preposition has been used this is not an

idiomatic use of the preposition here I

mean you could you can fix this with

just you know substituting in in the

chapter civil rights are analyzed in

detail if that would be that would be

fine so here we've seen three distinct

kinds of problems that can come up with


and how to understand what's wrong

within how to articulate how the

sentences could be made better and must

be corrected

The Description of Errors Involving Prepositional Phrases