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Use These Advanced Prepositions to Build Your English Vocabulary

Take your English vocabulary to a higher level with these advanced prepositions.

Prepositions are a critical part of English and English learners are very familiar with the common prepositions like “by”, “for”, “at” etc. However, this lesson will take a look at six prepositions that you will likely see written in newspapers, journals, and reports as well as occasionally spoken in interviews, news stories, and presentations.

It is important to understand what these prepositions mean and how they are used but remember that they are not as common as the other main prepositions. Sometimes English learners overuse (use too much) new vocabulary in situations when it’s not suitable. Avoid overusing these words and save them for the right time and situation when they seem appropriate.

Throughout: this preposition describes something that happens, or is true, in all parts of a space or time-period. For space, if you say: “there was dirt throughout the house”, it means there was dirt in all parts of the house (kitchen, living room, bathroom etc.).

For time, if you say: “it rained throughout the day” it means that it rained during all parts of the day (morning, afternoon, evening). This preposition is pronounced as “threw-out”.

  • The fans cheered throughout the game. (the fans cheered from the start to the finish of the game)

  • You could hear the church bells throughout the city. (you could hear the church bells in all parts of the city)

Concerning: this preposition introduces a topic that is the focus of a sentence. It is a synonym for “regarding” and is also similar to the preposition “about” because both of these prepositions introduce a topic that is the focus of a sentence or paragraph.

For example, if you are considering buying something and you want to focus on the price in your sentence, you can introduce this topic at the beginning of the sentence by saying: “Concerning the price, I think it’s a little too expensive for us” or you could say: “I have some questions concerning the price.” In both of these sentences, the topic is “price”.

  • The President is holding a press conference this afternoon concerning the new economic recovery plan.

  • Some guests have made complaints to the front desk staff concerning the temperature of the rooms.

Following: this word is a synonym for “after” when it is used as a preposition to describe one event that “follows” (comes after) another event. For example, instead of saying “dessert will be served after the main course of the meal”, you can say: “dessert will be served following the main course of the meal.”

  • There will be a question and answer session following the presentation.

  • The regulations for airports changed immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Beyond: this preposition can mean “more than” in various situations. For example, if you attend a class to learn English and you learn more than just vocabulary, you can say: “I like my English class because we learn many things beyond vocabulary.”

  • When you buy a used car, you need to examine many things beyond the car’s appearance.

  • I heard that the service at the restaurant was good, but it was beyond our expectations.

Amid: this preposition means “in the middle of” and connects to an event (a noun) that describes the background or atmosphere when something else happens.

For example, if you want to say that many stores have been damaged and you want to use “protests” as the background/atmosphere for this situation, you can say: “many stores have been damaged amid the protests.” This means that these stores were damaged in the middle of the protests (the protests started – the stores were damaged – the protests ended).

You can probably recognize that "amid" sounds like the meaning of "during" and they are similar, but "during" is much more common. We use "amid" when we want to emphasize that the event connected to "amid" (ex. "amid the financial crisis") happened "around" the event (before and after it). If you say: "many banks failed amid the financial crisis", it means this crisis started happening before the banks failed and continued happening after the banks failed.

  • There were several power blackouts amid the storm (the storm started before the blackouts and continued happening after the blackouts occurred)

  • Several politicians resigned amid the corruption scandal. (the scandal started before they resigned and continued happening after they resigned)

The key is to understand that “amid the protests”, “amid the storm” and “amid the financial crisis” add context to the other part of the sentence by giving the background for this situation related to what was happening at that time.

Notwithstanding: this preposition is the same as “in spite of” and “despite” to add something that contrasts the main clause of the sentence. For example, if you want to say that London is a great city to live in (which is a positive statement) but then you want to add a negative point about the rainy weather, you can say: “London is a great city to live in notwithstanding the rainy weather.”

  • We arrived on time, notwithstanding the delay. (this means that we arrived on time despite the delay)

  • I enjoyed the movie, notwithstanding the disappointing ending. (this means I enjoyed the movie despite the disappointing ending)

Considering: this preposition is used to introduce a noun that needs to be considered or remembered to give the main clause more context and meaning.

For example, if you say “it’s cold” in the middle of summer, it seems strange because summer is not cold and there is no context for this statement. However, if you say: “it’s cold considering it’s summer” it adds context and meaning to the statement. It means you don’t think it’s cold like winter, but you think it’s cold in relation to the fact that it’s summer.

  • My dog still moves around well, considering her age. (she doesn’t move well like a puppy, but she moves well if you consider the fact that she’s 12 years old)

  • This hamburger is really good considering it’s from McDonalds. (it’s not a delicious hamburger but it’s good if you consider that it’s a McDonalds hamburger)



Practice

Choose the correct preposition from the brackets.

  1. Wow, it's 11pm. I’m not feeling tired (beyond / concerning / considering) the time.

  2. The police were called to the bank this afternoon (concerning / notwithstanding / throughout) a robbery.

  3. He has a really good sense of humor (amid / throughout / notwithstanding) his serious appearance.

  4. She sent the recruiter a thank-you email (notwithstanding / amid / following) her job interview.

  5. Companies need to help employees with their mental health (following / beyond / considering) giving them vacation time.

  6. One of the audience members kept interrupting me (considering / throughout / following) my presentation.

  7. More women have started giving birth at home (amid / concerning / beyond) the COVID pandemic.

Answers

  1. Considering (maybe I’m a little tired, but not tired if you consider that it’s 11pm)

  2. Concerning (the topic of the call was related to a robbery. It’s not “throughout” because “were called” is only a moment and not during the whole robbery period.

  3. Notwithstanding (the serious appearance contrasts with his good sense of humor)

  4. Following (she sent the email after the interview)

  5. Beyond (companies need to do more than just giving vacation)

  6. Throughout (the person “kept interrupting me” so this means it happened during the whole presentation)

  7. Amid (this is happening in the middle of the pandemic, and the pandemic is the background for this happening)

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