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Adjectives and Verbs with At / In / On

In a previous lesson, we studied using "at", "in", and "on" to tell the time, place, location, or direction.
  • My birthday is on January 29th.
  • The cookie is on the plate.
  • The show starts at 10 pm.
  • I work for a car company.
  • The ball is in the bag.
  • I live in Korea.
But there are other ways that we use these prepositions. In this lesson, we will study the most common verbs and adjectives that go with "at", "in", and "on".

We will not cover every "verb + preposition" or "adjective + preposition" combination in this lesson. That would take too long. We will cover the most common ones. And remember that similar words usually have the same pattern. A good example is "look at". Synonyms of "look" also use "at". For example, "peek at" or "glance at".

Verb + at

look atstare athave a look at
take a look ataim atpoint at
shout atthrow (something) atlaugh at
  • Look at this.
  • She was staring at me for a long time.
  • You should have a look at this. It is so strange.
  • She said she will take a look at your report if you bring it to her.
  • He aimed the gun at his brother.
  • The man pointed at me.
  • When I saw her, she was shouting at somebody.
  • My sister threw an egg at my head.
  • They laughed at me when I fell down.
Adjective + at

angry atmad atupset at
furious atsurprised atshocked at
amazed atgood atbad at
excellent atterrible atokay at
  • She is angry at me, but I don't know why.
  • My mom has never been mad at me.
  • Her coworkers are upset at her because she lied to them.
  • I was furious at him.
  • They were surprised at how quickly I adapted.
  • I was shocked at the results.
  • They were amazed at how well the medicine worked.
  • I am good at basketball.
  • She is bad at dancing.
  • He is excellent at math.
  • We are terrible at cooking.
  • He is okay at speaking English.
Verb + in

believe inspecialize insucceed in
  • I believe in God, but she doesn't.
  • Our company specializes in branding.
  • If you work hard, you can succeed in anything that you do.
Adjective + in

interested ininvolved inexperienced in
  • I am interested in cars.
  • He is involved in a lot of charity work.
  • We are experienced in turning around failing companies.
Verb + on

depend onrely onlive on
congratulate (somebody) oncompliment (somebody) onconcentrate on
insist onspend (something) onwaste (something) on
  • We depend on her to maintain good relationships with our American customers.
  • Children rely on their parents for everything.
  • It is hard to live on such a low salary.
  • She congratulated me on my promotion.
  • I complimented her on her great work.
  • I couldn't concentrate on my work because it was too noisy.
  • We didn't want him to help, but he insisted on helping.
  • I will spend some time on the project this weekend.
  • She wasted all of her money on shoes.
Adjective + on

dependent onkeen onbased on
  • I don't want to be dependent on anyone. I want to support myself.
  • We are keen on taking a road trip this summer.
  • This movie is based on a true story.
This lesson just gives examples of adjective and verb combinations with prepositions. There are many other combinations.

Here is one tip. Similar words usually use the same adjective.
  • She yelled at me.
  • She shouted at me.
  • She screamed at me.

  • He looked at her.
  • He glanced at her.
  • He stared at her.
  • He peeked at her.
Prepositions are one of the hardest things for people who are learning English to master. But you should not worry about prepositions too much. Most times, if you make a mistake with a presentation, the other person can still understand what you are saying. However, if you want to be an excellent or fluent English speaker, then you must know when you use the correct English preposition. It will take time to master English prepositions, but if you study these lessons and come back to review them often, then you will gain a better understanding of how and when to use each English preposition.

It is also important to remember that sometimes multiple prepositions can be used in the same place and the sentence or question has the same meaning. But sometimes, changing just the preposition can completely change the meaning of the sentence or question.

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