Whether it is writing an email or just simply speaking to colleagues, we all know how important grammar is for effective communication. By using the proper words and structure, we are able to convey our messages clearly. In addition, good grammar establishes professionalism and respect in the workplace.
With that said, it is imperative that we are knowledgeable with the various rules in English grammar. However, we also have to recognize that it can get confusing. Debates on whether a phrase is correct or not often occurs. An example of those cases is whether the prepositional phrase “consult about” is grammatically correct or not.
What Is A Prepositional Phrase?
A preposition is the word that is combined with a noun, pronoun, and verb to give clarity to the statement. It shows the details such as direction, place, time, relationships, and more. Common examples of a preposition are: “at,” “on,” “in,” “of,”, “to”, and “about.”
Whereas, a prepositional phrase refers to the combination of the preposition and the noun, pronoun, or verb. Some prepositional phrases are:
“Behind the door”
“On top of”
“Marie caught the bus on time” is an example of a sentence that has the prepositional phrase “on time.”
Is “Consult About” Grammatically Correct?
Given what we know about prepositional phrases, can we consider the phrase “consult about” correct or not? Although “consult” is a verb and “about” is a preposition, the sentences stated above sound off-putting. It expresses a complete thought, but is somehow missing a detail. The verb “consult” needs to have a direct object. The object that it is pertaining to or referring to. Whether it does have one or not, the person or thing that the subject is consulting to must come after it.
Are we certain that “about” is the most appropriate one to use out of all the prepositions or are we just using it incorrectly? Let us go over these examples:
I would like to consult about the discussion yesterday.
She has promised to consult about her injuries with the school doctor.
Hera will consult about the project tomorrow.
He consulted about the homework.
Take a look at these re-written sentences:
I would like to consult with you regarding the discussion yesterday.
She has promised to consult with the school doctor about her injuries.
Hera will consult with her boss about the project tomorrow.
He consulted with his professor about the homework.
In conclusion, “consult about” can be used in an informal setting. It is clear and concise enough to communicate a message, but it is not grammatically correct because it is missing details. Moreover, the improper place of “about” can cause confusion and dangling sentences in some cases.
Mastering English grammar is not easy, and this is one of the most common mistakes. So if you have committed it, then do not worry because you are definitely not alone. Take this lesson and be cautious in using prepositional phrases. Whether it is a small or big interaction, remember that good grammar is always a must.
Martin is the founder of Grammarhow.com. With top grades in English and teaching experience at university level, he is on a mission to share all of his knowledge about the English language. Having written thousands of articles, he is an expert at explaining difficult topics in a simple language.
Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.