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Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional Phrases with AT, BY and FOR




Preposition Phrases with FOR

  • for ages

E.g. I haven’t seen you for ages. Where have you been?


  • for breakfast/lunch/dinner   

E.gWhat did you have for breakfast today?

  • for certain/sure 

E.g. I know for certain that I won’t be here next year.

  • for a change   

E.g. We always go there. Let’s go to another bar for a change.

  • for ever (or forever) 

E.gNobody can live for ever, unfortunately.

  • for example   

E.gYou could, for example, walk instead of taking the car.

  • for fear of           

E.g. I didn’t tell him for fear of upsetting him.

  • for fun  

E.gI don’t take sport seriously, I do it just for fun.

  • for good             

E.gI’m not coming back. This time I’m leaving for good.

  • for granted    

E.gDon’t take your parents for granted, appreciate them.

  • for hire 

E.gThere are cars and vans for hire at the airport.

  • for instance        

E.gYou should study another language, for instance, Italian.

  • for luck

E.g. I always wear this bracelet for luck.

  • for life 

E.gWorking for the government is a job for life.

  • for love      

E.g. I definitely don’t do it for the money, I do it for love.

  • for a moment    

E.gFor a moment, I thought she was being serious.

  • for the moment               

E.gI’m happy living in London for the moment.

  • for nothing         

E.g. I can’t believe it’s closed. I came all this way for nothing.

  • for once               

E.gLate again! For once, can you try to arrive on time?

  • for the rest of    

E.gI could live here for the rest of my life.

  • for safekeeping                

E.gAt the gym, I put my stuff in a locker for safekeeping.

  • for somebody’s sake       

E.g. Maria was upset so I had to be calm for her sake.

  • for the sake of  

E.gThey stayed together for the sake of their children.

  • for sale 

E.gThere’s a lovely house for sale at the end of this street.

  • for short              

E.gMy name is John but my family call me J for short.

  • for the time being           

E.gI’m happy in my current job for the time being.

  • for a visit/holiday             

E.gI’m in the mood for a holiday. Let’s go somewhere.

  • for a walk      

E.gI needed to calm down so I went for a long walk.

  • for a while 

E.gI haven’t spoken to him for a while.

Preposition Phrases with FOR

Prepositional Phrases with AT

  • at the age of      

E.gI learned to drive at the age of 21.

  • at the beginning of          

E.g. I joined a gym at the beginning of the year.

  • at the bottom of     

E.gThere’s a shop at the bottom of this hill.

  • at all costs      

E.gI need to pass this exam at all costs.

  • at one’s desk     

E.g. My manager spoke to me at my desk.

  • at the door         

E.gThere’s somebody at the door.

  • at the end           

E.gI’m going to Madrid at the end of month.

  • at fault 

E.gWho was at fault for the accident?

  • at first   

E.gAt first, I was happy here but now I’m not.

  • at first sight   

E.gWe met at university and it was love at first sight.

  • at a glance          

E.gI knew at a glance that something was wrong.

  • at a guess          

E.gAt a guess, 50 people were at the party.

  • at hand 

E.g. I always have a pen at hand in case I need to take notes.

  • at …km per hour     

E.gHe was fined £150 for driving at 200km per hour.

  • at last    

E.gAt last, our bus has arrived. Thank goodness!

  • at the latest    

E.gCinderella had to be home by 12 at the latest.

  • at least 

E.g. It’s cold but at least it’s not raining.

  • at length

E.gMy dad could talk at length about Irish history.

  • at midday/midnight     

E.g. I went home at midnight as I was tired.

  • at the moment 

E.g. I’m living in Ireland at the moment.

  • at night 

E.gI can’t study during the day. I prefer to study at night.

  • at once 

E.gEverybody started talking at once.

  • at present  

E.gAt present, I’m working for a multinational.

  • at random 

E.gNumbers are selected at random in a lottery.

  • at any rate          

E.gAt any rate, I’m confident I’ll find a job soon.

  • at the same time    

E.gI had fun and improved my English at the same time.

  • at school          

E.gThings were very different when I was at school.

  • at short notice   

E.gShe cancelled the meeting at short notice.

  • at the table         

E.g. The whole family sat at the table for dinner.

  • at times  

E.g. At times, I feel like giving up.

  • at the top of       

E.g. Barcelona are at the top of the Spanish league.

  • at university   

E.gI studied economics at university.

  • at the weekend    

E.gI love going out with friends at the weekend.

  • at work 

E.gI’m at work right now so I’ll call you back later.

Prepositional Phrases with AT

Prepositional Phrases with BY

  • by accident  

E.g. I was so sleepy that I put salt in my coffee by accident.

  • by all accounts   

E.gBy all accounts, Seville is a beautiful city.

  • by appointment      

E.gThe museum is open at weekends by appointment.

  • by the arm/hand              

E.gHe took me by the hand as we walked along the beach.

  • by auction        

E.gWe’re selling our antique furniture by auction.

  • by birth  

E.g. I grew up in England but I’m Irish by birth.

  • by bus/train/plane, etc.                

E.gAre you going to go there by bus or by train?

  • by chance  

E.gI found some money in my jacket pocket by chance.

  • by cheque

E.gI’ve never paid for anything by cheque.

  • by day/night      

E.gThe Eiffel Tower looks spectacular by night.

  • by design  

E.gI became a teacher more by accident than by design.

  • by the drozen    

E.gI always buy eggs by the drozen. A drozen means 12.

  • by far  

E.gBefore Sunset is by far my favourite film – I just love it.

  • by hand   

E.gMy granduncle built this house by hand.

  • by heart    

E.gAt school we had to learn poems by heart.

  • by invitation    

E.gMembership to the club is by invitation only.

  • by land/sea/air 

E.gI get sick whenever I travel by sea.

  • by law  

E.gDog owners must have a licence for the pets by law.

  • by luck  

E.gThey played badly but won the match by luck.

  • by means of   

E.gI was able to afford the car by means of a bank loan.

  • by mistake 

E.g. I chose the wrong road by mistake. Now we’re lost.

  • by nature            

E.gGerman people tend to be quite organised by nature.

  • by no means   

E.gIt’s by no means certain that the economy will improve.

  • by now 

E.gIf you don’t know me by now, you’ll never know me.

  • by oneself          

E.gI don’t mind spending time by myself.

  • by phone  

E.gGet in touch with me by phone if you need any help.

  • by post 

E.gDo you think it’s safe to send cash by post.

  • by request     

E.gGuided tours of the gallery are available by request.

  • by rights     

E.gBy rights, it’s my turn to play but you can go ahead.

  • by one’s side   

E.gHe was by her side whenever she needed him.

  • by surprise  

E.g. The unusual question took John by surprise.

  • by the time      

E.g. I’ll have gone to bed by the time you get home.

  • by the way    

E.gBy the way, I won’t be able to come to class next week.

  • by word of mouth  

E.g. The best form of advertising is by word of mouth.


Prepositional Phrases with BY