Items for submitting your paper and more language – day 4: how to use prepositions for research

Items for submitting your paper and more language – day 4: how to use prepositions for research

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As we have seen before, there are a variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives which can be followed by specific prespositions.

In this lesson we will look as some useful combinations that often appear in academic articles.

Verbs followed by a preposition

to transmit

  • to send out an electronic signal, a radio signal/broadcast or a TV broadcast

E.g. The event will be transmitted live by satellite to TVs in homes around the country.

  • to pass an illness or disease from one person to another

E.g. The disease cannot be transmitted via physical contact.

  • to pass beliefs or information to others

E.g. Beliefs were transmitted from one generation to another.

Prepositions frequently used:

  • from/to (to describe transmission from one thing to another)
  • by/via/through (to describe how something was transmitted)
  • within (to describe transmission inside a group/place)

to result in (meaning: to cause something to happen)

E.g. A sudden change in diet can result in weight gain.

a (direct) result of (meaning: when something is caused by something that happened before)

E.g. The decline in patient care is a direct result of cuts to funding.

Nouns followed by a preposition

significance (meaning: the importance or meaning something has) (uncountable)

  • significance + of

E.g. The political significance of this policy is wide-reaching. 

  • significance + for

E.g. The changes will have considerable significance for students studying within the current system.

(an) insight (meaning: the opportunity to understand something)

  • insight + into

E.g. The footage gave valuable insight into their nocturnal habits. 

  • insight + on

E.g. Could you give me some insight on your current situation? 

  • insight + about

E.g. We got more insights about the candidates after interviewing them. 

displacement (the action of making someone or something move from their home or position)

  • displacement + of

E.g. The displacement of native species has numerous long-lasting repercussions.

Adjectives followed by a preposition


  • consistent + with (meaning: having the same ideas or saying the same things)

E.g. Our results were consisting with previous studies conducted in the same area.

E.g. They displayed symptoms which were consistent with pneumonia. 

  • consistent + in (meaning: keeping behaviour or attitudes the same)

E.g. We were not able to be consistent in our approach due to a multitude of factors.

widespread (when something happens in lots of places)

E.g. These plants have become widespread in rural areas.

Prepositions frequently used with this word:

  • in
  • amongst
  • within
  • throughout

relative + to + someone/something

  • in comparison or relation

E.g. The researchers collected too few samples relative to the size of the hive.

  • connected to

E.g. We may have new insights relative to barriers to reproduction.

How can I use the prepositions ‘among’, ‘within’ and ‘throughout’?

among (also: amongst)

  • used for talking about someone/something as part of larger group

E.g. There was one patient among the test subjects who developed an adverse reaction.

  • used for talking about something that happens within a group

E.g. The level of obesity among children in the UK is cause for concern. 

  • in the middle of or surrounded by something/someone

E.g. The nest was finally located among the branches.


  • during a length/period of time

E.g. We completed the study within a month.

  • no further than a certain distance (from something)

E.g. We found three dwellings within a mile of the water source.

  • inside something’s limits or range

E.g We were able to operate within our budget.

  • inside a thing or a person

E.g There was a strange odour coming from within receptacle.


  • in every part of something

Eg. There were errors throughout the report.

  • during all of a period of time

E.g. We observed their movements throughout the mating season.

  • Pronunciation: The two ‘ou’ spellings create different sounds in this word – /θruːˈaʊt/
Examples of this language in use

Examples of language from this lesson can be found in the following extract.


Many ungulates show a conspicuous nodding motion of the head when walking. Until now, the functional significance of this behaviour remained unclear. Combining in vivo kinematics of quadrupedal mammals with a computer model, we show that the timing of vertical displacements of the head and neck is consistent with minimizing energy expenditure for carrying these body parts in an inverted pendulum walking gait. Varying the timing of head movements in the model resulted in increased metabolic cost estimate for carrying the head and neck of up to 63%. Oscillations of the head–neck unit result in weight force oscillations transmitted to the forelimbs. Advantageous timing increases the load in single support phases, in which redirecting the trajectory of the centre of mass (COM) is thought to be energetically inexpensive. During double support, in which—according to collision mechanics—directional changes of the impulse of the COM are expensive, the observed timing decreases the load. Because the head and neck comprise approximately 10% of body mass, the effect shown here should also affect the animals’ overall energy expenditure. This mechanism, working analogously in high-tech backpacks for energy-saving load carriage, is widespread in ungulates, and provides insight into how animals economize locomotion.

2. Results

Accordingly, our simple model of a horse’s fore-quarters showed a distinct correlation between energy expenditure and the phase relation of vertical motion between the head and the point in which the trunk is connected to the forelimbs, i.e. the attachment area of the serratus ventralis muscle at the scapula (trunk–forelimb suspension point (SP) hereafter). Moving the head–neck unit with a considerable phase shift relative to the thorax reduced the energetic effort of the whole model in comparison to in-phase movements (figure 2). In the model, the optimum energetic phase relation was reached at a shift of 25.25%, which agrees with the observed phase shift in horses within the experimental error. Deviating from this optimal phase shift resulted in an increase of the energy expenditure share for bearing the load of the unit of head and neck by up to 63.15%.

This extract is taken from: Loscher David M., Meyer Fiete, Kracht Kerstin and Nyakatura John A. 2016, Timing of head movements is consistent with energy minimization in walking ungulates, Proc. R. Soc. B.283. 20161908. 20161908. http://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.1908

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Lesson tags: English for science, how to use prepositions, prepositions in research
Back to: English for Scientists