Saturday, May 26, 2007

Prepositions and Dictionaries

“I’m on it.” “Get on with it.” “I can’t talk now, 'Ugly Betty' is on.” “I don’t know if I can carry on.”

Ugh! Prepositions have so many uses. They are in idioms and phrasal verbs, and even when used as a simple preposition, they can have so many different meanings. ESL cloze exercises can be used to help students reinforce some uses of prepositions, but for some uses, they will simply have to be memorized.

A useful tool I just (re)discovered for teaching ESL students about the various uses of prepositions is Longman Advanced American Dictionary. To pass the time the other day while I was waiting for a student, I started “looking up” (a phrasal verb) some prepositions. There was a ton of stuff. I focused on the preposition “on.” There was really a lot of useful information. I am continually pleased with how much information Longman provides. I highly recommended this dictionary to all my students, and I think it’s also very useful for ESL teachers and tutors preparing lesson plans.


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