Prepositions in English display a powerful diversity of uses. In the previous preposition article, we talked about the propositions “in” and “by”. Here, we will look, at a four idioms involving prepositions.
1) Most people worry about speaking in front of large groups.
2) The dictator was surprisingly indifferent towards whoever criticized his policies.
In sentence #1, the object of the preposition “about” is a gerund phrase, and in sentence #2, the object of the preposition “towards” is a substantive clause. Incidentally, both of these are exemplary of idioms involving these prepositions.
The word “indifferent” and its idiom indifferent towards are tricky. The meaning of the word “indifferent” has absolutely nothing to do with the meaning of the word “different.” The word “indifferent” means “having no particular concern, interest, or sympathy.” The word can have the connotation of “callous, unfeeling”, as when one is “indifferent towards another’s suffering.” The word also can have the connotation of healthy balance and good emotional boundaries, as when one is “indifferent towards mindless criticism.” The noun form takes the same preposition: indifference towards. This idiom lends itself well to substantive clauses beginning with “whether” or “how”.
3) A student indifferent towards the niceties of grammar cannot expect to do well on GMAT Sentence Correction.
This is a tricky idiom. When we say to model Q after P or Q is modeled after P, Q is the product or creation that’s the focus of the sentence, and this creation Q was fashioned with some earlier product or creation, P, in mind. P is the model on which Q is based.
The word “worry”, in both its noun and verb form, idiomatically takes the preposition “about.” An example with a gerund is given in #1 above, and this idiom also lends itself to substantive clauses.
9) The morning of the wedding, the bride worried about the weather.
This is a difficult construction. Most GMAT takers are familiar with the word “date” as a noun, and probably are familiar with “date” as a verb in the sense of an amorous encounter —- a use of the word highly unlikely to appear on the GMAT! —- but fewer are familiar with the verb “to date” meaning “to determine the date of.” This usage is common in academic writing, and therefore is common on the GMAT. In the idioms to date P at Q and P is dated at Q, P is the historical event or object, and Q is always quite specifically a time —- either a year or period or anything else that indicated age.
Know the idioms given in bold in this post. As always with idioms, read, read, read! Search for the idioms in this post in context. You understand English best when you understand it in context.