Understanding how to use the two most common prepositions, of and from, correctly in spoken English helps my clients improve their overall fluency. A preposition is a word in a sentence typically used before a noun or a pronoun to express the relationship to yet another word in the sentence. Prepositions and prepositional phrases are simple connecting words and for native English speakers and grammatical errors involving prepositions are not common. So when non-native English speakers mistakenly use the wrong preposition or misplace it in a sentence the mistake really stands out. This short guide explains the differences between of and from in English and should help you avoid English usage mistakes in the future.
How to use OF
The preposition Of is mainly used to show a possessive relation. For example,
- She is a friend of mine.
- The brand of the bike is Ibis.
Of is also commonly used with ‘all’ and ‘both’ to describe a common trait that many objects share. For example,
- All of the kittens in the basket enjoy playing with yarn.
- Both of the beer bottles are from Oregon.
Finally, a common phrase combination with of is one of the + a superlative adjective + plural noun + singular verb. This phrasing is commonly used to call attention to a specific object. For example,
- One of the most interesting things about being an accent modification specialist is the great people I meet.
- One of the best kinds of beer is an IPA.
How to use FROM
From is generally used to express that something originates from something else or that something comes from somewhere or someone. For example:
- This beautiful necklace originates from the work of Bronwen Jewelry.
- Kay came back from India with a new dress.
- This bottle of malbec comes from Argentina.
From can also be used with the prepositions to and until to mark the beginning and ending point of time of an action or state. Generally, from/to is used with past tenses, while from/until is used when speaking about future actions. For example,
- I rode my mountain bike from 6 to 8 in the evening yesterday.
- We are meeting with friends in Portland this weekend from Friday until Sunday. Go Timbers!
Thank you for your interest in English pronunciation training. I hope this quick ProTip helps further your ability to communicate better in your spoken English.