Hi, welcome to another episode of The Art of Business English. In this week’s episode you are going to learn about prepositional phrases with “at”, what they are and why you might find them useful for business.
If you are not sure what a prepositional phrase is, then here is a definition provided by Cambridge. Prepositional phrases consist of a preposition and the words which follow it (a complement). The complement is most commonly a noun phrase or pronoun, but it can also be, an adverb phrase (usually one of place or time), a verb in the -ing form.
So, as the name suggests, a prepositional phrase will always consist of a preposition and object.
You may be asking yourself, why are these important for my business English. Well, that is because, many common expressions are formed using prepositional phrases, and as such, knowing them can help with your comprehension in meetings and you can use them to be more descriptive.
Let’s jump in and see what we have got.
At a moment’s notice
Immediately after one has been told about something.
“They were prepared to help us at a moment's notice.”
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At a rate of
The speed at which something happens or changes, or the amount or number of times it happens or changes in a particular period.
“The company had a high staff turnover rate. They lost staff every month at a rate of about 20.”
At all costs/at any cost
To achieve something no matter what dangers or difficulties are involved.
“Security during the president's visit must be maintained at all costs.”
“We realized we had to fight the lawsuit at any cost.”
At an advantage/disadvantage
In a more powerful or successful position than other people or things. Or in a situation in which you are less likely to succeed than others.
“With the dollar weakening, US exporters will be at an advantage.”
“This new law places poorer families at a disadvantage.”
At a glance
When first looking.
“He could tell at a glance that he was not a suitable candidate for the job.”
Immediately or at the same time.
“You have to call the new clients at once.”
“To open and quickly move between several webpages at once, you can use tabbed browsing.”
At the outset
At the beginning.
“The proposals and ideas presented at the outset by each of us were rapidly analysed by our colleagues.”
At a standstill
A situation in which all movement or activity has stopped.
“Labour negotiations are almost at a standstill.”
For a long time.
“The conditions of the deal were discussed at length before a final agreement was reached.”
At the end/beginning of
When something finishes/starts.
“The accounts are audited at the end of each financial year.”
“The current CEO assumed her responsibilities at the beginning of September 2006.”
I hope you have enjoyed this episode and that you have discovered useful new expressions. Make sure you stay posted for future updates.
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Please feel free to share the prepositional phrases you have come across during your work experience in the comments section below, it would be great to hear from you and learn what words you use on a regular basis.
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