Grammar Patterns

V at n

Structure information: Verb with prepositional Object

The prepositional phrase is the prepositional Object. This structure has a passive, with the pattern be V-ed at. However, not all verbs with this structure are used in the passive. The following verbs are the ones which are most frequently passive.
  • fire
  • guess
  • hint
  • laugh
  • look
  • marvel
  • scoff
  • shoot
  • sneer
  • sniff
  • stare
  • swear
  • wonder
  • work
  • Sniff occurs in the passive in the expression not to be sniffed at, and wonder in the expression not to be wondered at.
    The rewards for those who reach the chief executive's office are not to be sniffed at.
    Phrasal verb patterns are the same except that there is a particle, P, which comes after the verb. The passive pattern, be V-ed P at, very rarely occurs.

    See related content

    English Dictionary
    English Dictionary
    NEW from Collins!
    NEW from Collins!
    English Word Lists
    English Word Lists
    Easy Learning English Grammar
    Easy Learning English Grammar
    Word Lover's Blog
    Word Lover's Blog
    Online Scrabble Checker
    Online Scrabble Checker
    The Paul Noble Method
    The Paul Noble Method
    Create an account and sign in to access this FREE content
    Register now or login in to access