Common Errors In English: about vs on, across vs over, across vs through, according to vs by, after vs afterwards

about vs on,  across vs over,  across vs through,  according to vs by,

 after vs afterwards
The usages of these prepositions are so similar  to other that student often confused when to use what. In this post, we try to find out the main differences in these prepositions.


about vs. on
Q. a book on history or a book about history
Correct answer is a book on history
Q. a book about plants or a book on plants
Correct answer is a book about plants
 We use about and on to mean "of this issue or relating to". 
The only difference between about and on is based on formality: on is used as a formal way, e.g. to describe a formal textbook on a subject: a textbook on chemistry; 
while about is used a informal way: a book about plants, a book about animals, humans.

across vs. over
Choose the correct word-
Q. The river is wide; we can't swim across/over.
Correct answer is across.
The prepositions across and over are used to mean "from one side/end to the other side/end", for example "Our new building is across/over the river".
Across is used to describe movement through water: "They swam across the river". (Not over)
Over is not used for large areas, like Company is laying 5G network across India (not over). 
However, we say over a wall or a fence (Not across). 


across vs. through
Through means "to move from one side to the other"of a hole, a pipe or something covering around, like dense forest, tunnel, etc. 
  1. We moved there through the forest.
  2. If robbers want to move out, the only way they moved out through tunnel.
While across is used for open and large area, like across the desert, across the river, across the field, etc.
With noun, like park, stadium, ground, we can use either across or through.
  1. Children are playing across or through the park. (In this sentence, both the prepositions are correct.)

according to vs. by
According to is used to refer to information coming from other people or sources, like according to the book, according to my father.
With ourselves, we say, "in my opinion not 'according to me'"
In those above cases, we don't use By
By is used when we refer to a timetable, like By my timetable, we should meet at 4 pm. In this type of sentence, we can also use according to, like According to my watch, it is 6 am.

after vs. afterwards
Students should use a noun or pronoun with after, like after a break, after a meal, after lunch. 
  1. We shall leave after lunch.
  2. After winning the prize she became famous.
We use afterwards on its own, for example: We watched cinema and eat afterwards.
We had a swim in the river. Afterwards we walked along the river.
Afterwards means after an event that has already been mentioned; at a later time.

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