Preposition Mistakes #2: On, With, From, Around
The following prepositional errors all occur in a published mystery novel written by a native speaker of American English.
1. in / on
Incorrect: His principles may land him in the gallows.
Correct : His principles may land him on the gallows.
A gallows is a frame for hanging. Examples of idiomatic usage:
A friend will betray you if you see yourself standing on the gallows. If you hang an enemy on the gallows you will be victorious.
Give him a bashing so he won’t come back. Do it right, [and you] won’t end up on the gallows.
So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.
2. into / with
Incorrect: The running man nearly collided into the old woman.
Correct : The running man nearly collided with the old woman.
The preposition used with the verb collide is with:
Two Japanese airliners nearly collided with each other in Japanese skies.
The Panamera collided with another car and veered into a traffic light.
Train collides with tractor-trailer in Fort Mill
Speeding motorcyclist dies after colliding with SUV
3. out of / from
Incorrect: She emerged out of the bath.
Correct : She emerged from the bath.
The preposition used with emerge is from:
Approximately ten seconds later, Adams emerged from the tunnel.
When he emerged from the Temple and came into the outer court, a crowd gathered round him and asked why he had stayed so long.
He emerged from university hungry to pursue music composing [sic], engineering and production.
When they were all gathered together, Napoleon emerged from the farmhouse, wearing both his medals…
He [Francis of Assisi] emerged from that experience with a growing conviction that challenged his previous materialism.
Incorrect: The marchers circled around the fountain.
Correct : The marchers circled the fountain.
The verb circle includes the meaning of “movement around something.” It takes a direct object:
The congregation followed them in a procession that circled the auditorium twice.
Two officers in an unmarked car circled the area.
However, the planets, instead of circling the earth, circled the sun as it circled the earth.
We circled the city on our bikes.
The solo sailor who has circled the globe at 17
Browse all articles on the Common Mistakes category or check the recommended content for you below:
Improve your English in 5 minutes a day! Subscribe to our Writing Tips and Exercises via Email
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our archives with 800+ interactive exercises!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!