Elimination of Unnecessary Prepositions






Elimination of Unnecessary Prepositions

Overusing prepositions and their accompanying phrases not only create vagueness, but also leads to a writing that is usually hard to understand.

Using multiwords and vague prepositional phrases rather than one-word descriptive adjectives and prepositions causes wordiness in writing.

had been in the air for at least five minutes

The above sentence can be rewritten as follows.

had been in the air at least five minutes... (thus the overuse of preposition FOR is eliminated.)

In the following examples, the unnecessary prepositions are illustrated, by underlining them. The correct sentences are given in the bracket.

She met up with the new coach in the hallway. (She met the new coach in the hallway. )

The book fell off of the desk. (The book fell off the desk. )

He threw the book out of the window. (He threw the book out the window. )

She would not let the cat inside of the house. (She would not let the cat inside the house. )

Where did they go to? ( Where did they go? )

Where is your college at? (Where is your college? )


Long Prepositional Phrases :

Wordiness and dullness can occur, when one writes with long, prepositional-filled sentences. Because long sentences, containing several prepositions and only a few verbs, are nearly impossible to understand. Thus the context will be enhanced, by eliminating, such lengthy prepositional phrases. The following examples illustrate the replacement of long prepositional phrases with simple prepositions.


Simple Prepositions…. Long Prepositional Phrases

Now…. at the present time
So…. order that
Meanwhile…. in the interim
Soon…. in the near future
If…. in the event that
Except for…. with the exception of
During…. in the process of


Steps to eradicate unnecessary prepositions :

1. Replacement of compound prepositional phrases with simple prepositions.

Listed below are some common compound prepositional phrases and their simpler counterparts.

Compound prepositional phrases…. Simple prepositions

During the course of…. During
In a manner, similar to…. Like
In relation to…. Concerning
In close proximity to…. Near
With regard to…. About
In favour of…. For
In excess of…. Over
At that point of time…. Then
By means of….by
In accordance with…. Under

2. Conversion of prepositional phrases into participles.

3. Conversion of prepositional phrases into adverbs wherever possible.

4. Conversion of prepositional phrases into adjectives wherever possible

5. Selected passive voice sentences are written in the active voice.


Study the following vivid points, carefully.

You may end a sentence with a preposition. But extra prepositions should not be used when the meaning is clear without them. For example.

That is something with which l cannot agree. (incorrect)
That is something I cannot agree with. (correct)

Where did he go to? (incorrect)
Where did he go? (correct)

Where did you get this at? (incorrect)
Where did you get this ? (correct)

I will go later on. (incorrect)
I will go later. (correct)

Take your shoes off of the bed! (incorrect)
Take your shoes off the bed! (correct)

You may look out of the window. (incorrect)
You may look out the window. (correct)

Cut it up into small pieces! (incorrect)
Cut it into small pieces! (correct)

OF should never be used in place of HAVE.

I should of done it. (incorrect)
I should have done it. (correct)

The word LIKE when used to represent comparison should be followed by an object of the preposition, but not by a subject and verb. Use the conjunctions as or as if when following a comparison with a subject and verb.

For examples :

You look so much like your mother.
MOTHER is the object of the preposition like.

You look as if you are angry.
(as if connects two pairs of subjects and verbs.)




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