Dependent Prepositions

17 Mar

It’s a slightly strange phrase that – dependent prepositions – gives you the slight air of a bunch of small words hanging around a much larger word who feeds and clothes them and goes and and earns a wage with which to support them.  Which I suppose in a way they are.  And how do you spell “dependent”?  like that or like this “dependant”?  I’m fairly sure one is American English and the other British English but not sure which way round it goes!

Anyway – here’s a lesson I did the other day with a CAE class, though I think with a little tweaking it could also work well at FCE and also possibly at CPE, though with the latter you might need something else to fill a bit of time at the end.  It also irks me slightly that I didn’t get some kind of productive use into the plan, so any ideas to add something in there would be welcome!

For what it’s worth – here’s the link:  teflgeek – Dependent Prepositions – enjoy!

As always, any feedback, comments, criticisms and queries are also welcome!


8 Responses to “Dependent Prepositions”

  1. Christina Rebuffet-Broadus Friday 26 October 2012 at 13:03 #

    Hi there TEFLGeek!

    I just came across your blog by chance when I googled “dependent prepositions fun”, and it looks like I came to the right place!

    I’m going to try it out with a business student, so I’ll probably modify some of the dependent preposition combinations, but I’m thinking I’ll follow your plan–it looks much more memorable and fun than a traditional matching exercise or gap fill!

    If we get to the activities, I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    Thanks in any case for putting this on your blog–it helped add another activity to my repertoire!

    • David Petrie Tuesday 30 October 2012 at 11:20 #

      Hi Christina,

      Thanks for all the nice things you say! The plan was originally intended for a larger group of students, so I imagine it’ll need some serious tweaking for use with a one-to-one student! Good luck with it and let us know how it goes!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment,
      All the best,

  2. bealer81 Tuesday 25 March 2014 at 09:32 #


    The link to this lesson doesn’t seem to be working. It seems to just send me to an empty page.

    Can you help?


    • David Petrie Tuesday 25 March 2014 at 10:42 #

      Hi Adam,

      I’ve just re-uploaded the file – so that should be working now. Thanks for letting me know and do get back in touch if there are any further problems.


  3. Pooky Sunday 26 June 2016 at 12:39 #

    This is really useful, thank you!

  4. Christopher D Forte Thursday 9 March 2017 at 10:43 #

    Hi David – thanks for making this available. What a terrific lesson! I used it with 2 different CAE classes and they found it both challenging and enjoyable as well as being extremely useful, particularly the review part where they had to describe the prepositional phrases. Really really good quality material. One question – are you sure there are 7 correct sentences in the error correction part – I made it 8 🙂

    • David Petrie Thursday 9 March 2017 at 12:15 #

      Hi Christopher,
      Thanks for commenting – I’m really glad it’s worked so well for you! I suspect the questionable element is number 14; “Susan confided to me that she has been….”? Which sounds natural enough but the dependent preposition should be “in”. I was worried enough to run off and check this in the corpus data and “in” is the clear winner!
      Let me know if it was a different one though!
      All the best,


  1. Turn-taking and the Soup Nazi | Decentralised Teaching and Learning - Monday 3 February 2014

    […] extension – there’s a lesson on dependent prepositions from the excellent teflgeek blog, pdf available […]

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