Prepositional Verb

A prepositional verb is a combination of a verb and a preposition. It is a verb followed by a preposition.

Some verbs require a specific preposition to be used after them in a sentence. The combination of such a verb and its required preposition is called a prepositional verb.

 Prepositional verb = verb + required preposition.


  • The kids were laughing at the joker. (correct).
  • The kids were laughing on the joker. (wrong).
  • He was accused of stealing the money. (correct).
  • He was accused for stealing the money. (wrong).
  • She was blamed for lying to the court. (correct).
  • She was blamed of lying to the court.    (wrong).

In the above examples, each verb requires a specific preposition to be used after them and thus, using a different preposition after the verb makes the sentence grammatically wrong. In each sentence, the combination of the verb and the correct preposition is a prepositional phrase. e.g., laugh at, accuse of, blame for.

The specific preposition which must always be used with a verb is called a dependent preposition. In the above example, the prepositions ‘at’, ‘of’ and ‘for’ are the dependent prepositions for verbs ‘laugh’, ‘accuse’ and ‘blame’ respectively.

  Common examples of prepositional verbs: listen to, look at, suffer from, apologize for, worry about, wait for, complain about, compare with, provide with, believe in, remind of, consist of, belong to, beg for, approve of, charge with, comply with, contribute to, insist on, hope for, prepare for, punish for, respond to, search for, etc.


  • He is listening to music.
  • She is suffering from a high fever.
  • He apologized for his mistake.
  • She was worryied about her exams.
  • He responded to my email.
  • She belongs to a rich family.
  • He complained about the problem.
  • I agree with you.
  • I am waiting for my friend.
  • The students were looking at the whiteboard.
  • It is the responsibility of parents to look after their children.
  • He insisted on giving me a gift, so I accepted his gift.
  • Everyone should comply with the laws of the country.
  • This picture reminded me of my childhood.
  • An engine consists of three parts.
  • He provided police with some information about the robbery.
  • We believe in God.
  • The government provided poor people with resources to start small businesses.

   Different prepositions for the same verb:

Sometimes different preposition may be used with the same verb depending on the object of the sentence. For instance, the preposition ‘with’ is used with the verb ‘agree’ to express that two or more people have same opinion about something. However, if a person accepts an idea, proposal or suggestion of another person to be executed into some action, the preposition ‘to’ may be used with the verb ‘agree’. Likewise, if two or more people accept some terms and conditions mutually applicable to the involved people, the preposition ‘on’ may be used with the verb ‘agree’.

  • He agrees with me that drinking too much coffee is bad for health.
  • I agree with you that eating sugary foods causes weight gain.
  • The prime minister agreed to the proposal presented by the cabinet members.
  • The manager agreed to the recommendations submitted by the employees.
  • Both the parties agreed on the terms and conditions to end the conflict.
  • The tenant and the owner of the house agreed on the terms and conditions of tenancy.

  Usage of an object with a prepositional verb:

Prepositional verbs have an object which mostly comes after the preposition and sometime between the verb and the preposition in the sentence. See the following examples where the blue word is the object, and the red words are the verb and the preposition.


  • The dog is barking at a stranger.
  • Don’t laugh at poor.
  • He is listening to music.
  • She provided us with some food.
  • He is preparing himself for the exam.
  • This picture reminded me of my childhood.