# Thread: Which preposition is correct?

1. ## Which preposition is correct?

Which preposition is appropriate in the following context?

# The coat _______ her is very expensive.
(a) in
(b) on
(c) with
(d) over
NB: The woman is supposed to be wearing a coat.

2. ## Re: Which preposition is correct?

If she is wearing the coat, then (b) on her is the correct choice. If she is not wearing the coat, then both (c) and (d) are correct. Figuratively, (a) works; i.e., the (fur) coat in her is very expensive.

3. ## Re: Which preposition is correct?

I think I need help understanding how "in" works.

I know it was a test of prepositions, but I can't imagine saying "the coat on her" instead of "the coat she is wearing."

4. ## Re: Which preposition is correct?

Originally Posted by Barb_D
I know it was a test of prepositions, but I can't imagine saying "the coat on her" instead of "the coat she is wearing."
You'd be surprised at some of the test questions I've seen over the years. Many of them have been set by non-native speakers, but a surprising number have been set by native speakers.They seem sometimes to work in a manner of thinking that goes: The job of the student is to eliminate the impossible choices; whatever remains will be correct if it is just about possible, even if no native speaker would be likely to say it.

We can put on a coat, we can say, "I've got my new coat on''' therefore, so appears to run the logic, "The coat on her is very expensive" must be a possible (and therefore natural?) English utterance.

5. ## Re: Which preposition is correct?

The question as posed does not reflect normal usage. Presumably it has been posed as a way of drawing attention to the the different usages for some prepositions, but IMO it is not helpful.
We are told that the woman is wearing a coat. Therefore only 'on her' fits the answer.
'In her' is clearly wrong as this suggests that the coat is actually inside her!
'With her' would normally refer to a person accompanying her.
'Over her' would normally mean hanging losely over her shoulders and not therefore being worn in the strict sense.

Finally, that word 'supposed'. Either she IS wearing the coat or she is NOT wearing it; there is no supposed in this case as that would imply that she may not even have a coat!

6. ## Re: Which preposition is correct?

Originally Posted by apex2000

Finally, that word 'supposed'. Either she IS wearing the coat or she is NOT wearing it; there is no supposed in this case as that would imply that she may not even have a coat!
I think that mfhaq77, in providing a context, has used 'supposed' to mean: believed to be true. I might have used assumed. Neither word is perfect, but neither necessariliy implies that she might not even have a coat.

7. ## Re: Which preposition is correct?

Originally Posted by apex2000
Finally, that word 'supposed'. Either she IS wearing the coat or she is NOT wearing it; there is no supposed in this case as that would imply that she may not even have a coat!
It should read, "We're supposed to assume..." "Supposed" is used to mean expected.

8. ## Re: Which preposition is correct?

Originally Posted by fivejedjon
You'd be surprised at some of the test questions I've seen over the years.
I doubt whether any regulars who have been here for longer than a few months are surprised by this sort of nonsense any more.

Anyhow, I think "was expensive" is necessary, because presumably she's bought it. It's no longer for sale.

9. ## Re: Which preposition is correct?

There is at least one dialect of English, Irish English, where something like, "Have you seen the expensive coat on her" would be correct and widely used. I agree about "was very expensive".

10. ## Re: Which preposition is correct?

There is no question about is or was.
As a statement made by an onlooker then 'is expensive' would be correct; if the speaker had prior knowledge of the purchase (which we are assuming as it might have been a gift) at some past time then 'was expensive' could be correct.

However, none of this was any part of the question. It is therefore irrelevant.

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