50 common Noun + Preposition collocations
Some nouns often need a preposition, and we always use the same dependent prepositions for the same nouns. For example, when we use the word interest before a preposition, this preposition is always in. In the same way, we use the term contact with the preposition with, or we say room for:
- I have no interest in what you are saying.
- I will be in contact with you soon.
- We don’t have room for the sofa.
These word combinations are called noun-preposition collocations, and it can be challenging to know which preposition to use. One thing that we can do is check if we know an adjective or verb that is related to a noun. If we know the preposition for that adjective or verb, then we know the preposition for the noun because it’s the same one:
- Adjective: Joe had a successful career in the army.
- Verb: He succeeded in fixing the tap.
- Noun: I wished him success in his new job.
However, this is certainly not always the case, and the best way to remember these combinations of words is by doing some practice and by regularly reading and listening to English. When you read or hear something repeatedly, you’ll soon start to recognise what sounds right.
Here are some examples of the most common prepositions and some nouns with which they are often used.
*There are some nouns that can be followed by more than one preposition depending on the context, therefore having different meanings. For example, when the noun argument is followed by the preposition with, it usually refers to a person. However, when it is followed by the preposition about, it refers to the topic of the argument.
- John had an argument with Tom.
- We had an argument about my study habits.
*Some nouns can also be used with more than one similar preposition to have the same meaning.
- I read an article about the war.
- I read an article on climate change.