English Grammar

Adjectives + Prepositions

Similar to certain verbs and nouns, many adjectives are typically followed by a particular preposition. The advertisement below contains a number of common “adjectives + prepositions” pairs:

  • Are you bored with your job and eager for a change?
  • I’m disappointed with my career.
  • I’m interested in learning new languages.
  • I’m worried about what the future holds.
  • Are you keen on giving your life a new direction?

A good dictionary will tell you which preposition to use with a particular adjective. The right combinations have to be learned and memorized, as there are no rules. How ever, adjectives with a similar meaning are often followed by the same preposition.
Adjectives that express a person’s feelings about something are often followed by about:
— angry, anxious, pessimistic, sorry, upset, worried
— enthusiastic, happy, optimistic
— certain, doubtful, right, wrong
¦ I’m pessimistic about my future.
Certain other adjectives expressing how you feel about something are followed by with:
— bored, fed up, pleased, satisfied
¦ I’m bored with my job.

Adjectives that say how well you do something are often followed by at:
— bad, good, hopeless, useless
¦ I’m hopeless at languages.
Adjectives describing a person’s behaviour towards another person are followed by to or towards:
— kind, nice, polite, rude
¦ Always be polite to your customers!
Many adjectives can be followed by a number of prepositions, often with a different meaning. The choice of preposition can depend on whether the object of the adjective is a thing or a person:
¦ We’re really angry with Paul.
¦ Everyone’s angry about his decision.
¦ Kate is very good with children.
¦ She’s also good at managing their parents.
¦ Emily is responsible for marketing our products in Asia.
¦ She’s directly responsible to the managing director.


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