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Lesson 2. Verbs and Prepositions (Basic, A1 Level):
ask, hear, listen, meet, show, stop, talk, think

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• ask, ask about, ask for, ask someone to do something

You can “ask someone something” when you ask a question or make a request. You do not need a preposition there.

You can also “ask someone for something.” This means you want something from someone. For example, you can ask someone for help or you ask your teacher for extra time.

You can “ask (someone) about something.” This shows what the topic is.

Finally, you can “ask someone to do” something. No preposition is needed.

Things you ask and ask for

Ask (someone) something

ask a question

ask someone’s address

ask someone’s name

ask someone’s phone number

ask the price

ask the time

Ask (someone) for something

ask for assistance

ask for a fork

ask for a glass of water

ask for a slice of pizza

ask for feedback

ask for help

ask for support

ask for money

ask for (more) time

ask for the menu

Both with or without “for”

ask a favor / ask for a favor

ask directions / ask for directions

ask information / ask for information

ask permission / for permission

ask someone’s feedback / ask for someone’s feedback

ask someone’s opinion / ask for someone’s opinion

ask someone’s patience / ask for someone’s patience

Examples: ask
  • Please ask John to leave.
  • May I ask you a question?
  • I don’t know the answer. Why don’t you ask the teacher?
ask about
  • The teacher is asking questions about the lesson.
  • The students are asking many questions about the course.
  • May I ask you about your project?
Examples: ask for
  • The students are asking for more time to finish the exam.
  • Some students are asking for a second chance.
  • Children sometimes ask their parents for money to buy things.
Examples: ask someone to do something
  • (To the teacher) Mr. Smith, may I ask you to explain the lesson again?
  • I’m going to ask Maria to come to my birthday party.
  • The students are asking the teacher to help them with their homework.

• hear, hear about

You “hear something" (for example, you hear someone talking, or you hear a noise). No preposition is needed here. It means you use your ears to perceive sounds.

You “hear about something” (for example, you hear about an accident or you hear about someone). With the preposition “about,” it means you learn some information about a person, situation, or event.

Examples: hear

  • I can hear music coming from the street.
  • Can you hear the birds singing outside?
  • I hear John speaking on the phone in the living room.

Examples: hear about
  • I often hear about John when I talk to his mother.
  • I don’t often hear about my country in American TV news.
  • I heard about the accident on the radio yesterday. (Note. This example uses the past tense.)

• listen for, listen to

When you “listen to someone or something,” you pay attention to sounds with your ears. You want to hear something, so you use your ears to listen to it.

When you “listen for someone or something,” you pay attention to a specific sound or thing. You are waiting or expecting to hear that very specific sound, so you listen for it until you hear it.

Examples: Listen for
  • John is coming to visit today. I’m listening for his car outside.
  • When you listen to the weather on the radio, you must listen for information about your city.
  • Students listen for the bell to know when class starts.

Examples: listen to

  • Listen to this song. It’s beautiful.
  • I listen to the radio every day.
  • I hear John speaking to his mother on the phone, but I’m not listening to their conversation.

• meet, meet with

When you “meet people,” it means you all come together for the first time. It can also mean that you see people you already know. Sometimes you plan to meet people, for example, at a restaurant, at the movies, at a park, etc.

When you “meet with people,” you plan to meet them to have a meeting or discussion (for example, at work).

Note. Sometimes the difference between “meet” and “meet with” is very small.

Examples: meet
  • I will meet John at the park after class.
  • She meets her friends for coffee every Saturday.
  • I love meeting new people when I travel.
Examples: meet with
  • I need to meet with my teacher to discuss the assignment.
  • We are meeting with the doctor to talk about my health problems.
  • The child’s parents want to meet with his teacher because he is not doing well in class.

• show, show to

You show someone something. For example, you show your friend your phone.

You show something to someone. For example, you show your phone to your friend.

When using pronouns, you must use the preposition. For example, you can say, “Show John the book” or “Show him the book,” but you must say, “Show it to him."

Examples: show, show to

  • I’m going to show the teacher my homework.
    I’m going to show my homework to the teacher.
  • I want to show my parents my new car..
    I want to show my new car to my parents.
Examples using pronouns
  • The teacher is going to show us the book.
    The teacher is going to show it to us.
  • I’m going to show you my pictures.
    I’m going to show them to you.
  • Show me your new shoes.
    Show them to me.

• stop, stop from

You can say “something stops.” That means it comes to an end or an action ends.

You can also say “stop doing something.” For example, you stop reading when you get to the end of a book.

When you say “you stop someone from (doing),” it means you prevent something from happening. You make sure it does not happen or continue happening.

Examples: stop
  • Does the bus stop here?
  • The rain will stop soon.
  • This elevator does not stop at the 10th floor. Take the other elevator.
Examples: stop (doing)
  • If your phone gets wet, it will stop working.
  • Students must stop talking when class begins.
  • Sometimes they stop driving to take pictures.

Examples: stop from
  • Please, stop that child from playing with scissors.
  • I must stop myself from eating too much sugar.
  • Push that button to stop your phone from ringing during class.

• talk, talk about, talk to

You can talk to someone about something. To “talk to” someone means you want to speak to that person. It also means you want to have a conversation or to discuss a topic with them.

If you just ”talk” (without a preposition), you simply speak or discuss something.

Examples: talk

  • Valentino is very quiet. He doesn’t like to talk. (he doesn’t speak very much)
  • What’s the problem? Do you want to talk? (talk about what is wrong)
  • I don’t want to talk about it.

talk about

  • Chris, do we need to talk about our plans for tomorrow?
  • Can we talk about the problem? (discuss)
  • What would you like to talk about?

talk to

  • She talks to her friends on the phone every day.

Using both in the same sentence

  • He wants to talk to his teacher about his homework.
  • I’m going to talk to my friend about our plans for the weekend.

• think, think about, think of

When you think, you have ideas or thoughts in your mind.

When you “think about” something, you consider something in your mind. Sometimes you think about it carefully before making a decision. You can also think about doing something.

When you “think of” someone or something, you bring the person or thing to your mind. You remember or consider the person or thing.

Examples: think about
  • Before you answer a question, think about it for a while.
  • I’m thinking about going to the movies this weekend.
  • You are very quiet. What are you thinking about?
Examples: think of
  • I live far away from my family. I often think of them.
  • When she’s sad, she thinks of happy times in her life.
  • When you buy a new car, you must think of the type of car that is best for your needs.

Assess Your Learning

Practice 1. Fill in the blanks using the correct prepositions after the verbs in this lesson.

Practice 2. Complete sentences using the verbs and prepositions in this lesson.

Congratulations on completing this lesson!

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