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Blog : collocations

Spot On

Spot On

What are you thinking about? she asked.

I wasn’t thinking about anything, he responded.

Liar! You are a goddamned liar Raven. You can’t just turn your mind off. We are always thinking! It is a human condition! Why are you afraid of telling me what’s on your mind? I can see it in your eyes. You are worried about something. Don’t be worried. Talk to me. I want to listen to your problems. That is what partners do right? Raven? Are you listening to me? Raven! Good god, it is like talking to a fucking wall. I should leave your ass before you leave me. You don’t care about me, about us. Is this all a joke to you?

Jesus Jessica, calm down! You always do that. You jump to conclusions. I don’t know what I was thinking about. I don’t think I was even thinking! For crying out loud! I was day dreaming, dreaming about getting out of this town, about turning over a new leaf, starting fresh. I was dreaming about getting a better job, one that doesn’t kill my back and leave my whole body hurting. I have lots of thoughts Jessi, I can’t just reach out and grab one for you to examine the second you think to ask me to. They leave just as quickly as they appear.

Don’t you leave me Raven.

I’m not going to leave you and I don’t want to argue with you Jessi. I don’t want to argue about what was or wasn’t going on inside my mind. I just want to sit here, silently. I want to relax. I’ve had a long day. It was hotter than hell out there and now I am here, with you, and all I want to do is enjoy my cold beer in silence. Is that too much to ask of you?

Raven was accustomed to Jessi’s overreactions by now. They had been married for well over a decade. He had always been faithful to her, had never even given her the reason to suspect him of infidelity, and still, she allowed jealousy and insecurity to get the best of her. She was afraid of losing him. Her father had been addicted to heroine and her mother wasn’t much of a mother at all. Raven was all she had. He was the only person she could depend on and they both knew that.

After a long silence, Raven spoke. I don’t know what to do or say to make you see. I am not big on words. When you have actions, words are dull. But the blind have a hard time seeing the actions of others and while your vision is perfect, you aren’t seeing me so I am just going to say it loud and clear for you. I have had two goals in my life, one is to stop suffering. I haven’t yet figured out how to conquer that one. The other is to take refuge in my happy spot on a daily basis. This one I achieved years ago but that happiness is nothing to me if I can’t share it with you. Do you understand me?

Jessi’s lower lip began to tremble. Why haven’t you ever taken me there, to your happy spot?

Jessi, it’s you! You are my happy spot. I take refuge in you!

Written by Stephanie Cariker

Director at EinR

Prepositions are for Preppies

Prepositions are for Preppies

Well, call me a preppy then because I love grammar and prepositions are one of the key elements to dominating the English language.

Let’s start by defining this small yet fundamental part of the language.

  1. The prepositions job is to connect things and is always followed by a noun or a word that is posing as a noun, (like a gerund or infinitive) You can think of this as the word that links the verb to the noun.
  2. We usually use them to describe time, place or movement. But these are easy. Your teachers have been drilling your on these since you were 5! If you need to review the prepositions of time and place, this is a pretty good chart.
  3. The most difficult part about learning the prepositions is when they are attached to verbs or adjectives, forming collocations. This is not to be confused with phrasal verbs which are also formed by verbs and prepositions that, when put together, change the meaning of the verb entirely. For example, I could say, “Everybody get down!” I am using that verb/preposition combination in a very literal way. I want everyone to literally get down on the floor. But I say, “I say Sarah a the club last night. She was getting down!” What I mean to say is, she was dancing like no one was watching.
  4. Prepositions are not the most important part of the sentence and it is because of this that they are hard to hear.

This week we worked on several of the most commonly used prepositional collocations (with both verbs and adjectives) but you will find a more complete verb list here.

So how can we learn and remember these darned things? I would recommend learning the verb with the preposition, as if it were part of the same word.

For example don’t just learn the verb depend because depend is always followed by on.

ie: You can really depend on Frank. If he says he will be there at 10, he will be there at 9:55. 

So, here is a little example:

I always dream about traveling, never dream with, and I am always famous for my cooking and never famous about. When I loose something I always search for it and when I can’t find it I worry about where it might be. I am always addicted to and and never addicted by and if you ask me what I am afraid of I will say snakes. In fact, I am terrified of them, though I am quite fond of animals in general. I am fairly accustomed to living abroad, never accustomed with, and even though I don’t always agree with some of the cultural habits, I would never argue with anyone. Arguing about ideas is useless. Because when you argue, you do not listen to the other person.

If you would like to see more collocations in context, you can click here to read this month’s short story.