Some commonly confused verbs and prepositions
Prepositions cause a great deal of confusion for ESL students.
In this lesson we will explain the correct usage of some common prepositions.
EXCEPT AND ACCEPT
The words except and accept are often confused.
Except is a preposition. It means ‘not including’.
Everybody came except John. (John didn’t come.)
Accept, on the other hand, is a verb.
I accept this award with great pleasure.
A preposition should be followed by a noun that acts as its object. A verb, too, can be followed by a noun or noun phrase that acts as its object. However, verbs and prepositions have very different grammatical properties. Note that a verb does not have to take an object all the time. Verbs that do not take objects are called intransitive verbs. A preposition, on the other hand, needs an object.
PAST AND PASSED
The word past can be used as a preposition. Passed, on the other hand, is a verb.
He passed his test.
The word passed can also be used to refer to the act of distributing an item.
She passed the salt.
The word past can be used as a preposition, and an adverb.
As a preposition
It is past your bedtime.
I went past his house.
Note that when past is used as a preposition, it will be followed by a noun.
As an adverb
An old man walked past.
When past is used as an adverb, it is not followed by a noun.
Into is a preposition. It is usually written as one word.
King Midas could turn everything he touched into gold.