Unit 116. Preposition + noun (“by mistake,” “on television,” etc.)
Students often use the wrong preposition before the words in this unit, so study this list carefully:
to pay BY check (but to pay IN cash or to pay cash): Did you pay by check or in cash?
(to do something) BY accident / BY mistake / BY chance: We hadn’t arranged to meet. We met by chance.
a play BY Shakespeare / a painting BY Rembrandt / a novel BY Tolstoy, etc.: Have you read any books by Tolstoy? (= any books written by Tolstoy?)
(to be/to fall) IN love WITH someone: Have you ever been in love with anyone?
IN (my) opinion:
? In my opinion the film wasn’t very good.
IN time (= soon enough for something/soon enough to do something): Will you be home in time for dinner? (= soon enough for dinner)
We got to the station just in time to catch the train.
ON time (= punctual, not late) The 11:45 train left on time. (= it left at 11:45)
The conference was well organized. Everything began on time.
(to be) ON fire: Look! That car is on fire.
(to be) ON the telephone / ON the phone: I’ve never met her but I’ve spoken to her on the phone.
ON television / ON the radio: I didn’t watch the game on television. I listened to it on the radio.
(to be/to go) ON a diet: I’ve put on a lot of weight. I’ll have to go on a diet.
(to be/to go) ON strike: There are no trains today. The railroad workers are on strike.
(to be/to go) ON vacation / ON business / ON a trip / ON a tour / ON a cruise / ON an expedition, etc. Did you go to Paris on business or on vacation?
One day I’d like to go on a world tour.
but you can also say “go to a place FOR a vacation / FOR my vacation”: Tom has gone to France for a vacation.
Where are you going for your vacation this year?
(to go/to come) FOR a walk / FOR a swim / FOR a meal, etc.: She always goes for a walk with her dog in the morning.
After work we went to the restaurant for a meal.
(to have something) FOR breakfast / FOR lunch / FOR dinner: What did you have for lunch?