In this exercise you can see what happens when you move elements, particularly Direct Objects, earlier in the clause.


  • Identify some examples of preposing.
  • Build on example preposed sentences to build parallel sentences that are not preposed.
  • Discuss some of the contexts in which preposing is useful.

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will look at some examples of preposing in sentences. Preposing refers to the movement of an element of a sentence to a position earlier in the sentence than where it would usually appear. In the examples in this lesson, we will see preposed Direct Objects, as in the example below. The first sentence contains a preposed Direct Object. The second sentence is not preposed in any way.

  • Some things I can remember without writing them down. → I can remember some things without writing them down.

The Activity page appears in the menu entitled 'This Unit' in the upper right of this page. The first slides in the activity include examples of preposed sentences, all of which come from our corpus of real language in natural use. Look at the first example and ask students the following questions:

  • Is this the way you think you would commonly write or say a sentence like this?
  • What might be the more typical way?
  • What is different between this version and the more typical version? What exactly has changed?
  • What would this sentence look like without preposing?

Work through each example by looking at the preposed sentence that is given, asking the questions above, and then constructing a non-preposed version.

To understand how speakers use these structures, it helps to see the context. The next slides show several of the same examples with some context added. Look at these extracts, and discuss how the preposed examples link to other ideas in the context.

  • Well it helps to get some things down I find. Some things I can remember without writing them down but the best way to remember things is to write them down. [S1A-059 #10–11]
  • I mean OK I go in Waterstones or wherever and buy paperbacks and read them and probably cast them aside or lend them to someone else and forget who I’ve lent them to. But hardbacks I wouldn’t lend to anyone. [S1A-013 #86–87]
  • When I was at home, more often than not it was my mother that cooked or sometimes my father. I did cook occasionally, when they were out. And so a few lunches, I cooked for myself. [S1A-059 #169–172]


Englicious is totally free for everyone to use!

But in exchange, we ask that you register for an account on our site.

If you’ve already registered, you can log in straight away.

Since this is your first visit today, you can see this page by clicking the button below.


Englicious (C) Survey of English Usage, UCL, 2012-21 | Supported by the AHRC and EPSRC. | Privacy | Cookies