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When learning English, my wife often uses the wrong preposition with a verb. Could someone please add a resource (website or book) with a comprehensive list of English verb/preposition pairs and their meanings where they can simply look up the verb and find out which preposition to use.

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  • Have you looked for one? If I had to guess, it would not exist as the use of prepositions varies by English rationality and by the specific usage of the word. We are here to help anyone who needs it on a case by case basis. If you have tried to find such a list, perhaps you can explain what you've already done.
    – Catija
    Aug 9, 2015 at 22:07
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    Apparently thishis is the best I've found — it's a pretty short list, but is well done: eslgold.com/grammar/verb_preposition_collocations.html Verbs that take more than one preposition are clearly differentiated: agree on (topic) agree with (someone) The video (4:44) speaks the entire list. Apparently this usage is called a "collocation". That list contains only about 90 items. I was hoping someone would have compiled a much more complete list.
    – dougkramer
    Aug 10, 2015 at 1:58
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    This is one of the main functions of most good dictionaries. For example, scroll down (way down) at reference.com's "take" definition to the "verb phrases" section, and boom! There they are. Aug 10, 2015 at 5:15
  • There are both collocation dictionaries and phrasal verb dictionaries available for learners. Some of them maybe online (but I haven't checked).
    – user230
    Aug 10, 2015 at 13:34
  • @Nathan, thanks. I'll try using dictionary.reference.com. (I had looked at other dictionaries without much success)
    – dougkramer
    Aug 11, 2015 at 0:17

2 Answers 2

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The Collins Cobuild English Guides series has an entire book devoted to prepositions. Here is the blurb on the back of the book:

1: PREPOSITIONS

'Collins COBUILD English Guides' provide extensive information on specific areas of today's English, using the evidence from 'The Bank of English' to select what is really important.

This book is suitable for upper-intermediate and advanced students and teachers of English. It will promote a thorough understanding of English prepositions and how they are commonly used today.

Part One consists of an alphabetical presentation of over 100 prepositions, giving detailed explanations of their different uses. Part Two is an extensive list of words commonly used in combination with prepositions.

• Alphabetical coverage of over 100 prepositions • Over 4000 words which commonly occur with prepositions • Over 5000 real examples show actual use

http://www.amazon.com/Collins-COBUILD-English-Guides-Prepositions/dp/000370520X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1439232125&sr=8-2&keywords=collins+prepositions

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  • Thanks. I've ordered this ($25 thru Amazon) and will check it out.
    – dougkramer
    Aug 11, 2015 at 0:12
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If you're looking for one book to help your wife study verb-preposition collocations (or any sort of collocations, for that matter), phrasal verbs, meanings, or even English in general, I'd recommend the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Each entry has a lot of collocations and examples. It is by far the most comprehensive dictionary for English learners I've ever seen. The online version is available here. The physical copy, however, is richer in content and definitely is worth buying.

For collocations alone, you can try the Oxford Collocations Dictionary (OCD) or the Macmillan Collocations Dictionary. Personally I prefer the Oxford one, but I think the Macmillan one is good too. There is a website where you can look up the OCD, but I'm not sure if it's completely legal, so I won't post the link here.

As for phrasal verbs (if needed), The only "pure" phrasal verb dictionary I could think of is Macmillan's: the Macmillan Phrasal Verbs Plus. McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs can also do the same job, but that seems a little too much for this purpose.

Other online collocation dictionaries include OzDic and Dictionary.com.

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