by Kitty Nash
Some prepositions commonly cause trouble for writers.
- Beside / Besides
Beside means next to or at the side of.
The book is on the table beside my chair.
Besides means in addition to.
No one besides the teachers is allowed in the teachers' lounge.
- Between / Among
Between is used with two things.
I sit between Annie and Mark.
Among is used with a group of three or more.
I sit among my friends.
- Have / Of
Because the verb have is often contracted with a helping verb like could or should resulting in could've or should've, students often think the contractions mean could of or should of.
You should have brought it since you could have.
- Angry with / Angry at
You are angry with a person.
I am angry with my little brother for breaking my television.
You get angry at an object.
I was angry at my locker when I couldn't get it open.
- Different from / Different than
Always use different from.
My answer was different from the answer on the key.
Never use different than.
My answer was
different than the answer on the key.
Practice What You've Learned
- Choose the best word to correctly complete each sentence.
- I would like some of the ice cream beside/besides the chocolate.
- You will have to choose between/among four books to read this quarter.
- I think I could have/of made that basket if I hadn't tripped.
- I know I put my homework between/among my math book and my science book.
- My mother was very angry with/angry at me when I told her about the broken window.
- I hope someone beside/besides the five of us comes to the dance tonight.
- I could have/of finished my homework if I had more time.
- I planted little white flowers between/among the six large rose bushes.
- The residents of the neighborhood were angry with/angry at the city because the streets weren't repaved.
- Growing up today is very different from/different than growing up a hundred years ago.