I'm writing a passage titled "Report [] Projects for sth." I'm not sure which preposition I shall use. "on" vs "about" vs "of"? What are differences.

Moreover, it seems readily for me to get confused with this structure "noun. + prep. + none." Is there a good method to distinguish them? How can I get familiar with these? Thanks.

  • Do you want to actually use the word "Projects"? Or is it a placeholder for some specific project name? Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 16:39
  • @DamkerngT. Yes, projects each with several tasks.
    – zhangwfjh
    Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 16:40
  • As far as I know (I'm a non-native speaker too), there is no specific rule for [n1.+prep.+n2.]; it's most likely to be influenced by either [n1.] or [n2.]. Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 16:44
  • I believe that you might probably want to write A Report on X, Y, and Z, for P. If I have to choose the preposition in this specific usage, on is probably the best choice (I don't know what are those X, Y, and Z), then of, and then about. Hope this helps. Also, wait for a few more hours, there are many native speakers around here that can sort this issue out for you. Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 16:45

2 Answers 2


Specifically for the word "report", I'd use the following prepositions... (I'm assuming that the examples are the titles of the reports, so I'm using title case.)

Report on Air Pollution [report is about air pollution]

Report of/by My Research Group [report is written by my research group]

Report to/for the Environmental Protection Agency [report is written for the EPA]

These prepositions can of course be combined:

Report on Air Pollution for the EPA by My Research Group

The question of when to use prepositions in general is too broad to cover in this site's Q&A format.


You can report to someone (often your direct boss), and you can hear a report of some event or other.

A report can be about or (more usually and more formally) on something.

You can write a report for some client publication, employer or interested body.

On your specific question on the 'on' vs 'of', the most usual use of 'of' is with the noun form of 'report': "several reports have been coming in of disturbances on Clare Street." If you want to express a similar a similar meaning using the verb form of 'report', treat it as transitive verb ("the police report disturbances on Clare Street") or use a subordinate clause ("the researchers have reported that the new antibiotic is effective against Streptococcus resistant to penicilin.")

To report on an event often means to provide further information about an already identified event:

"The police had brought the violence under control by 2:30 this morning; Christina Aguirre is on the ground to report on the aftermath. ... Over to you, Christina."

To tell someone that a report deals with a particular subject, just use 'on': "The research team have just published a report on the effectiveness of the new antibiotic."

I should mention that 'of' can also be a synonym for 'by' or 'written by': "The second report of the Commission on Safety in the Workplace."

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