About - English Preposition

Prepositions - Lesson #7

We can use the preposition "about" in a few different ways. We will cover all of the different ways that we use the preposition "about". "About" is also sometimes used as an adverb. In this lesson, we will cover all of the ways that the word "about" is used in the English language.

First, let's study the different ways that we use "about".

1. We use "about" to say a number or quantity could be a little more or a little less. Or that a time could be a little before or a little after. Some synonyms are "around" and "approximately". When we use "about" this way, it is actually considered an adverb, not a preposition.
  • The game will start at about 3 pm.
  • It costs about $100.
  • The price of gas increased by about 25%.
2. "About" can mean nearly or very close to. This is similar to the meaning of #1.
  • I am about ready.
  • She is about to cry.
  • We were just about to eat.
3. We use "about" to show the topic of something.
  • This book is about World War II.
  • We talked about our future.
  • We heard a lecture about the future of robots.
4. We can also use "about" to mean in many directions or here and there.
  • The kids were running about the playground.
  • The stockbrokers were running about screaming.
5. "About" can also show that there is no particular order. It is usually used to show that something is messy.
  • The clothes were lying about the room.
  • The books were lying open about the table.
Now, let's look at the most common adjectives and verbs that are often used with "about".

Verb + about

talk aboutread aboutknow about
tell (somebody) abouthave a discussion aboutcare about
dream abouthear aboutthink about
remind (somebody) aboutcomplain aboutwarn (somebody) about
  • We talked about many things.
  • I like to read about history.
  • I don't know anything about art.
  • I told her about what you did.
  • We had an interesting discussion about politics.
  • I don't care about her.
  • I dream about winning the lottery.
  • I have never heard about it.
  • What do you think about our plan?
  • I will remind you about it tomorrow so you don't forget.
  • He always complains about his job.
  • She warned me about him, but I didn't listen.
Adjective + about

angry aboutfurious aboutmad at
upset aboutexcited aboutworried about
nervous aboutsad abouthappy about
sorry aboutcrazy aboutanxious about
  • She was angry about her test score.
  • They were furious about your quitting the company.
  • He was mad about what you did.
  • She was upset about how you handled the situation.
  • We are excited about the party.
  • He is worried about getting fired.
  • I am nervous about asking her to marry me.
  • We are sad about not being invited to the wedding.
  • He is happy about going to Europe for business.
  • I am sorry about being late.
  • I am crazy about these cookies. I love them!
  • We are anxious about the hurricane.
Prepositions are one of the hardest things for people who are learning English to master. But you should not worry about prepositions too much. Most times, if you make a mistake with a preposition, the other person can still understand what you are saying. However, if you want to be an excellent or fluent English speaker, then you must know how to use prepositions correctly. It will take time to master English prepositions, but if you study these lessons and come back to review them often, then you will gain a better understanding of how and when to use each English preposition.