Podcast 49 - Prepositions
In this week's podcast, Rich and Jack talk about Leicester City winning the Premier League and an interesting story about the word 'nutmeg', which has its roots in the nineteenth century import and export business. The language focus is on dependent prepositions, which are prepositions such as 'for', 'about', 'in' and 'on' that follow specific verbs, nouns and adjectives.
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some vocabulary that might be new for you. Try the activity below to see how much you understand:
"Norwich and Sunderland have a game in hand on Newcastle."
"It's embarrassing when a player puts the ball through your legs. This is called a nutmeg."
An example of a nutmeg, which is when one player puts the ball through anopther player's legs.
Language - Dependent Prepositions
In the podcast, Jack and Rich used a lot of dependent prepositions, which are verbs, adjectives and nouns that naturally use specific prepositions. Take a look at these examples from the podcast:
"There are a few possibilities but, according to a newspaper article I read, the use of nutmeg, in football, is probably connected to the nutmeg trade in the 1800s."
"I'm really interested in where words come from."
There aren't many general rules for learning dependent prepositions so it can be a bit difficult to remember them. One idea is to use Google to help you, type in the word and preposition and put it in speech marks (" "). If you get millions of possibilities for one result and only a few thousand for the other you can probably safely choose the first word you typed in. It also helps if you make a note of the preposition when you are learning a new word. If you learn the preposition at the same time as the noun or verb, and in context, it should help you remember it and then use it later. If you want to know more about dependent prepositions, have a go at the activity below, then, take a look at our LearnEnglish website for more activities and advice.
Some common dependent prepositions:
|Verbs and Dependent Prepositions||Adjectives and Dependent Prepositions||Nouns and Dependent Prepositions|
|depend on||according to||on purpose|
|argue with someone/ argue about something||interested in||decrease in|
|apologise to someone/apologise for something||afraid of||difference between|
|believe in||based on||advantage of|
|agree with someone/agree about something||frightened of||reason for|
|rely on||excited about||at risk|
|comment on||good at||in theory|
|speak to someone/speak about someone/speak for someone||keen on||in trouble|
|talk to someone/talk about something||similar to||under guarantee|
|worry about||famous for||without doubt|
Wes Morgan, the Leicester captain, celebrates his equaliser against Manchester Utd at Old Trafford.
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast.
Jack: Hi everyone. I’m Jack and every week we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: This week, we’re going to talk about the latest news in the Premier League, the history of a strange football word and the language focus is on dependent prepositions.
Jack: And later, Rich will make this week’s Premier League prediction and we have another football phrase for you to guess in our football vocabulary game.
Rich: We had a new football phrase for you to guess last week. There were lots of guesses. Some of you got it wrong but lots of you got it right.
Jack: Well done to KopHG from South Korea, MS Aboelsafa from Egypt, Elghoul from Algeria, Kwesimanifest from Ghana, SalvaGH from Spain and AssemJuve from Palestine.
Rich: All of you correctly told us that last week’s football phrase was ‘suspended’. ‘To suspend’ is similar in meaning to ‘to ban’ and is used in the same way in football. Jamie Vardy was banned for two matches after his red card against West Ham and Dele Alli has been suspended for three matches after hitting an opponent against West Brom.
Jack: More generally, ‘to suspend’ means to stop something for a specific amount of time like 2 weeks or 6 months but ‘to ban’, in addition to this meaning, can also mean to stop something forever. So you can say, smoking is banned in public places in the UK.
Rich: Did we ask our listeners anything else in last week’s podcast?
Jack: Have you forgotten? That’s a bit embarrassing!
Rich: Of course. We asked you about embarrassing or awkward moments that you can remember. Aragorn1986 from Montenegro had a good one. He remembers two players fighting on the pitch.
Jack: That happens quite often, too often but is it that embarrassing?
Rich: Well, it is if they’re teammates! It happened quite a few years ago at a Newcastle match. I imagine it was awkward in the dressing room after the match.
Jack: You spoke about a few more embarrassing moments on the football pitch. Elghoul from Algeria said that players are often embarrassed when they score against their former clubs.
Rich: Yes, it can be embarrassing for them but I think it depends on the relationship they had with their old club. Sometimes it’s the exact opposite. I remember one player scoring a goal for his new club and running to celebrate in front of his old fans. They weren’t very happy.
Jack: HakanUslu1881 from Turkey said that in a recent match in his country the referee sent off the wrong player. That is definitely a little bit awkward.
Rich: It happened in an Arsenal match a couple of seasons ago. Yes, very embarrassing.
Jack: My favourite story is from HassanRaja447 from Pakistan who says that it’s embarrassing for a player when an opponent puts the ball through your legs. This is called a nutmeg and I think it’s a great word. It’s also a spice used in cooking, and is often used when making cakes.
Rich: I wonder why it’s used in football?
Jack: I was wondering the same thing, so I did a little bit of research and it’s very interesting. There are a few possibilities but, according to a newspaper article I read, the use of nutmeg in football is probably connected to the nutmeg trade in the 1800s.
Rich: Really? How strange. Tell us why.
Jack: In the 1800s, nutmeg was very expensive and a very valuable commodity and there was a lot of trade or business in exporting nutmeg from America to England at this time.
Rich: Go on.
Jack: Well, some of the exporters, the people who were buying and sending the nutmeg to England wanted to make as much money as possible and some of them tried to trick the buyers.
Rich: How did they trick them?
Jack: When filling the bags or sacks with nutmeg they would mix wooden replicas or copies in the bags to make it look like there were more nutmegs than there really were. This trick became very common and it became known as nutmegging. The phrase implied that the buyer was a little bit stupid and the seller was clever.
Rich: And this is where the connection is to football?
Jack: Exactly. The player who performs the nutmeg is seen as clever and talented whereas the other player is made to look, well, a bit stupid.
Rich: I’m really interested in where words come from. We’ll have to look at the history of a few more phrases in a future podcast. Did you know that the word hat trick comes from cricket?
Jack: No, I didn’t. Maybe we should look at that next week? Let’s move onto the next section.
Rich: What’s the latest from the Premier League, Jack?
Jack: It’s all over. Leicester City are Premier League Champions! After a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford against Manchester Utd, Tottenham needed to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge but they couldn’t do it, which means Leicester City are Champions for the first time in their 132 year history.
Rich: It’s an amazing story.
Jack: But there isn’t just the Premier League title to play for. We don’t yet know who is going to finish in the top 4 or who is going to be relegated. West Ham and Manchester Utd still have a chance of a top 4 place.
Rich: Newcastle got a great win against Crystal Palace and are out of the relegation zone. But Sunderland and Norwich both have a game in hand on Newcastle and will be fighting all the way.
Jack: Game in hand? That’s an interesting phrase. Can you tell us what it means?
Rich: Ah yes. We say a team has a game in hand if they have played a game less than another team. Norwich and Sunderland have played 35 games but Newcastle have played 36, so we say that Sunderland and Norwich have a game in hand on Newcastle.
Jack: And we use the preposition on with this phrase. We say that one team has a game in hand on another team. We don’t say a game in hand ‘of’ or ‘in’. We call this a dependent preposition and that’s the language focus of this week’s podcast.
Rich: When speaking about nutmeg earlier, Jack said ‘according to a newspaper article I read’ and ‘nutmeg, in football, is probably connected to the nutmeg trade’. In both of these examples, Jack used dependent prepositions. In these cases, the preposition is ‘to’.
Jack: A dependent preposition is a preposition that follows specific nouns, verbs and adjectives. There aren’t really any rules that tell you which preposition to use, so it’s probably best to try to learn them when you are looking at the word in a sentence.
Rich: Sometimes it’s possible to use more than one preposition. For example, a few week’s ago we spoke about saying sorry and apologies. We said ‘Manchester Utd had to apologise to Tottenham for being late’.
Jack: This is because the verb ‘apologise’ uses two dependent prepositions; ‘to’ and ‘for’. You apologise ‘to’ someone but you apologise ‘for’ something.
Rich: One good way to check that you are using the correct preposition is to use Google or another web browser. A common mistake I hear my students make is with the verb ‘depend’. I might say; ‘Are you going to the beach this weekend’ and they say ‘It depends of the weather’. They should say ‘It depends on the weather’ because ‘on’ is the dependent preposition here. If you type ‘depend on’ putting speech marks (“) around the words, Google gives you over 242 million results. If I type in ‘depends of’ you get half a million and if you look at the first results they are all about English language learning!
Jack: So, it’s sometimes easy to find out which preposition to use. But sometimes it’s not so easy so it’s probably a good idea to make a note. Let’s look at some more examples.
Rich: The most common prepositions we use are; for, from, in, of, on, to and with. We’ve already said that you can use apologise with ‘to’ or ‘for’, according and connect go with ‘to’ and depend goes with ‘on’. In this next section, Jack’s going to ask me some quick questions and we’d like you to notice the prepositions that we use.
Jack: Do you believe in ghosts?
Rich: Believe in ghosts. No, not really but I do want to see the new ghostbusters movie.
Jack: What was the last film you saw?
Rich: The Hunger Games, it was really good. I know that it is based on a book and I want to read that now, too. I’m not sure who it was written by but, I’ll have to check that out.
Jack: Did you always agree with your teachers at school?
Rich: I hardly agree with anyone, to be honest. I think I do it on purpose. If someone says Liverpool will win easily I always say the opposite. I always end up arguing with them.
Jack: Are you afraid of anything?
Rich: No, I’m not afraid of anything. Nothing. Oh maybe, when my mum gets really angry then I’m afraid of her!
Jack: Does anybody rely on you?
Rich: My family rely on me, but I rely on my family, too.
Jack: Can you comment on this season’s Premier League?
Rich: It’s been the most exciting for years, I can’t remember so many people being interested in it. And it’s not over yet!
Jack: Right. I think that’s enough questions. Did you notice all the prepositions?
Rich: That brings us to this week’s questions and we are going to ask you to use prepositions in all of your answers. Question 1: Can you comment on this season’s Premier League? How would you describe this season?
Jack: Question 2: Do you usually agree with people? Who do you argue with? What do you argue about?
Rich: Question 3: Earlier we spoke about the history of the word ‘nutmeg’. Do you know the history of any other football words, either in English or your own language?
Jack: And remember, if you want us to correct your comments just write ‘correct me’ at the beginning of your message.
Rich: Right, do you have a new football phrase for our listeners to guess, Jack?
Jack: Yes, I do. This week it’s a word, the word is * *******. It is a noun which is used to describe a fantastic goal, usually a free-kick or a powerful shot from outside the penalty box. Andros Townsend scored * ******* for Newcastle Utd last weekend. To give you a little more help; * ******* is also a special Christmas item that is used in the UK. It is made of a tube of paper, and two people pull it and it makes a loud bang. Inside the tube, there is usually a paper hat, a small toy and a bad joke. The word is more commonly used to describe a type of biscuit or savoury snack.
Rich: That’s a pretty difficult one let’s see if anybody can get it right.
Jack: Have you got a prediction for us this week, Rich?
Rich: This week’s big match is Manchester City against Arsenal. Both teams have had a disappointing season by their high standards. Both will have wanted to win the Premier League but instead are fighting to make sure they are in the top 4 and in the Champions League next season. I think City are generally in better form so I am going to go for a City win to guarantee them Champions League football next season. It will mean Arsenal might need a point or a win on the final day to join City, Tottenham and Leicester in next season’s Champions League. Final score: Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal.
Jack: It’s going to be tense and exciting for some clubs up to the final match of the season.
Rich: Right, anyway that’s it for today - we’ve run out of time! Thanks for listening. And don’t forget to write your answers to our questions, your predictions and anything you want to say about the website or football English in the comments below.
Jack: Don’t forget if you sign in, you can score points to see if you can get your club, your country and your name to the top of our leaderboard.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
What do you think?
In this week’s podcast, we spoke about the word 'nutmeg' and dependent prepositions. Can you try to use some dependent prepsitions in your answers to these questions.
Can you comment on this season’s Premier League? How surprising is Leicester's Premier League win?
Do you usually agree with people? Who do you argue with? What do you argue about?
Do you know the history of any other football words, either in English or your own language?
Rich predicts that Manchester City will beat Arsenal 2-1 this weekend. Do you agree?