I was writing this one sentence and confused with prepositions. Additionally, I would like to know if there are other grammatical errors besides these two prepositions.

....They are always helpful for reminding me of what to focus on in order to improve my English.

Thank you for your help.


Looking at the Oxford Dictionary definitions for the two prepositions that you proposed:

in meaning 8 - As an integral part of (an activity)

for meaning 4 - Having (the thing mentioned) as a purpose or function

Both prepositions are correct: in would focus on their involvement in your studies, and for would focus on their purpose.

If you look at the entry for remind in the Cambridge dictionary, you will see that one of the possible usages is (+ that), for example

Remind me that I have to go to the dentist at 3pm.

that is a relative pronoun here, and you can substitute other relative pronouns: what, who why, which, etc. so it's OK to say

...reminding me what to focus on...

It is not necessary to add of before what in this sentence. It's not wrong to include of, but it sounds a little strange.

  • Thank you for the thorough answer, this was very helpful! – Takine Apr 16 '18 at 0:38
  • But to me, "in reminding" sounds a little odd because it reads like "They are always helpful only when reminding me of what to focus on..." For this reason, I think "for reminding" would be better. – GKK Oct 17 '18 at 3:00
  • @EvaristeGalois "There's a fly in my soup", doesn't mean that the only place you'll find a fly is in my soup. it's just one place where you will definitely find one. – JavaLatte Oct 17 '18 at 4:42

I wouldn't use either for or of in this sentence, but use commas instead :

They are always helpful, reminding me what to focus on, in order to improve my English.

  • I like this approach as well, thank you so much for your answer! – Takine Apr 16 '18 at 0:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.