July 6

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8 Verbs Commonly Used With the Preposition About

Good day everyone and welcome to Prepare to Pass Your Cambridge Exam by Cambridge Exam Coach, the podcast where you can listen to tips and advice for passing the Cambridge exams at the same time as improving your English.

I’m Kristian, your host, today it’s Tuesday 7 July 2021, and in this episode we’re going to be talking about 8 verb preposition combinations, sometimes also called prepositional verbs.

Does this topic sound familiar to you? If yes, I’m delighted to hear that, because it means you’re a regular listener to this podcast. If no, not a problem, I’m delighted you’re listening to me right here, right now at this very moment.  

Ok, enough intro. Are you ready? All right then, let’s kick this off!

Hello dear dear listeners, how are you doing? I hope you’re looking forward to learning a bit of English today. This is another episode of the podcast in which we’re going to be practicing together, and as usual the aim here is to improve your English as well as preparing for your Cambridge exam.

In this episode you’re going to learn 8 verbs that are commonly used with the preposition “about”.

Just a quick reminder: a prepositional verb is a verb that is followed by a preposition. The meaning of these two words together is usually very similar to the original meaning of the verb. For example,

To worry
To worry about (someone or something)

On the other hand, the meaning of a phrasal verb is often different to the original meaning of the main verb. For example,

To get
To get on (a bus)
To get on (well with somebody)

To go onto a bus, train, aircraft, or boat: I think we got on the wrong bus.

To have a good relationship: He doesn’t get on with his daughter.

OR: 

To manage or deal with a situation, especially successfully: How are you getting on in your new home? 

You see how one phrasal verb can have completely different meanings? Phrasal verbs also use adverbs as well as prepositions, whereas prepositional verbs do not.

Alright, that’s clear then.

We all know that prepositions are one of the most difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary. That’s also why they are hard to teach. They don’t conform to easy-to-teach rules, like many other aspects of grammar. Instead, it’s about patterns and collocations.

So, often the best way to learn these verb preposition collocations is to see them as chunks of vocabulary, and try to notice them as they are used naturally. In this episode the idea is to give you a chance to do that, by listening to real sentences taken from the several dictionaries online as well as Google news.  

OK, now here’s the plan. I’ve prepared a list of eight verbs that are commonly used with “about”. You can find this list in the transcript of this episode, if you like. And the link to the transcript you can find, as always, in the description of this episode.

I’ll start reading from the list, give you examples, and also share short anecdotes about what I found when doing research into these verb prepositions patterns. 

So without further ado, let’s go. 

The list

To be about (something)

Meaning: You can say that a book, film, etc. is about something.

Example: That book is about his experiences in Africa.

We also have: be about to do something 

Meaning: If someone is about to do something, or if something is about to happen, they will do it or it will happen very soon 

Example: I was just about to leave when my date finally showed up.

Argue about (doing) something

Meaning: to speak angrily to someone, telling that person that you disagree with them.

Example: The kids are always arguing about /over something.

Another example: I argued with my wife about /over which flight to take. 

Be concerned about (doing) something 

Meaning: to be worried about (doing) something

Example: I’m concerned about / for  your health.

Another example: She is concerned about traveling to Brazil  

Be worried about (doing) something  

Meaning: to feel nervous and upset because you keep thinking about a problem that you have or could have in the future.

Example: I’m worried about my health.

Another example: She’s worried about her Cambridge exam.  

Boast about (doing) something

Meaning: This is used to say that someone talks too proudly about what they have done or what they own. Boast is used in a disapproving way.

Example: I don’t mean to boast, but I got a promotion well ahead of schedule. Another example: The Prime Minister boasted that clean energy investments had increased by 20%.

Decide about (doing) something

Meaning: to choose something or someone after careful thought

Example: I’ve decided on orange for my new iMac.
Another example: We decided on Serbia for our holiday this year.

Dream about (doing) somethingMark dreams about becoming a ballet dancer.

Meaning: to experience things in your mind while you are sleeping

Dream about: I was dreaming about a black cat.

Dream (that): He dreamt that he saw Rosa.

Meaning: to think about something that you hope to have or achieve

Dream of doing something: She had always dreamed of going to Africa.

Dream of: I dreamt of a career in music.

Dream about: They had the kind of house we could only dream about.

Protest about (doing) something

If you protest against something or about something, you say or show publicly that you object to it. In American English, you usually say that you protest it.

protest against: Workers are protesting against high unemployment and inflation.
protest at/about/over: Prisoners began a hunger strike to protest at their conditions.

Example: Students held a protest march against the war.
Example: Five thousand employees came out on strike in protest at the poor working conditions.

Example American English: They were protesting soaring prices.

OK over to you: when was the last time you boasted about something to somebody? What was the last vital decision you made? And what are you currently worried about?  when was the last time you protested about something?

Try to answer these questions and create some examples sentences on your own. You’ll see that you’ll memorize these verb + about collocations much better!

Alright, that’s a wrap! As ever, I hope this has been both useful and interesting for you and that you’ve enjoyed listening to this episode.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or feedback, you can respond via email or in the comment section of the transcript. I read and respond to every email or comment. 🙂

OK, that’s it. As always, take care of yourself, and each other, alright?

Speak to you soon, bye bye!

P.S. If you want to be completely confident and fully prepared for your Cambridge exam, visit our website: https://cambridgeexamcoach.com. There’s helpful guidance and advice on how to pass your Cambridge English exam. We’ve got articles and podcasts transcripts with exercises.

About the author 

Kristian

Kristian is from The Netherlands, but he lives in Prague, Czechia. He is a CELTA qualified teacher who passed the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam with grade A. When he's not working, he likes to chill out with music, podcasts or an audiobook.


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