Hi everyone! Today, let’s start the program with a question: What is your city famous for making?
I’ll tell you my answer. New York is famous for making great pizza.
Here’s another question that follows the same structure: What are you excited about learning?
I hope your answer is “how to make sentences that use adjectives followed by prepositions and gerunds.” That is the topic of today’s Everyday Grammar program!
What’s the structure again?
Without even realizing it, you may already know several adjectives that use this sentence structure. Let’s look at three of them today: interested, excited and bored.
Now, listen to two sentences that use the adjective “bored” and think about which sounds more natural:
Noemie was bored of doing the same job.
Noemie was bored to do the same job.
Hopefully, the first sentence sounds more natural to you. If so, your ears are probably accustomed to hearing the structure we are exploring today:
BE + adjective + preposition + gerund
In the sentence, “was” is the verb of being; “bored” is the adjective; “of” is the preposition; and “doing” is the gerund. You may remember that a gerund is a verb form that ends in -ing and acts as a noun.
If the second example sounds more natural to you, you are likely in the habit of making the common mistake of using an infinitive after some adjectives. You may remember that the infinitive form of a verb is “to” plus its simplest form, as in “to do.” But think of the adjective-plus-preposition structure as a signal that some kind of noun will follow, such as a gerund or noun phrase, not an infinitive verb.
Okay, so I mentioned the adjectives “interested,” “excited,” and “bored.” Now let’s look at the prepositions that usually come after them.
Listen for the word that follows “interested” in the next example:
He is interested in studying abroad.
The word “in” is the only preposition that can come after the adjective “interested.” I cannot say, for example, “I am interested about studying abroad.” The good news is that, even though the grammar is not correct, the listener would probably still understand my meaning.
Now listen for the preposition in this example:
I am excited about learning to play the guitar.
I hope you noted the preposition “about.” It almost always follows the adjective “excited.”
Finally, listen for the preposition in this example:
They were bored of staying inside all day.
That’s right – “bored of” usually goes together.
As you can see, in English specific prepositions follow specific adjectives.
Using the negative
Before we go, let’s briefly hear what today’s examples sound like in the negative form. Here are the three examples:
He is not interested in studying abroad. He plans to travel after he finishes school.
Noemie was not bored of doing the same job. She learned something new every day.
I am not excited about learning to play the guitar. My father is making me do it.
Can you see how to form the negative? Simply add the word “not” between the BE verb and the adjective. But keep in mind that most native English speakers use contractions, so in real life the sentences would probably sound more like, “He’s not interested in studying abroad” and “Noemie wasn’t bored of doing the same job.”
Practice, practice, practice
So what can you do to practice the grammar we talked about today?
Here’s one idea:
Try to familiarize yourself with a list of about 20 of the most common adjectives that are followed by prepositions. Then, listen and look for those adjectives whenever you hear and read English. Ask yourself if the speaker or writer is using the sentence structure from today’s lesson.
You can also practice writing your own sentences and then use them when you speak or write English to friends or practice partners.
While today’s topic is fresh in your mind, here’s a great way to practice right now. Answer one, two or all of these questions:
What is your city famous for making?
What are you excited about learning?
What are you not bored of doing?
I am very, very interested in reading your answers.
I’m Alice Bryant.
And I'm Jill Robbins.
Alice Bryant wrote this story for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
Words in This Story
bored – adj. feeling weary because you lack interest in your current activity
accustomed – adj. familiar with something so that it seems normal or usual
habit – n. something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way
phrase – n. a group of two or more words that express a single idea but do not usually form a complete sentence
mention – v. to talk about, write about, or refer to something or someone in a brief way
specific – adj. precise or exact
negative – adj. expressing denial or refusal
contraction – n. a short form of a word or word group that is made by leaving out a sound or letter
practice – v. to do something again and again in order to become better at it
familiarize – v. to give someone knowledge about something
The following is a list of common adjectives that are followed by prepositions.
disappointed in / about