Grammar Lesson of the Month International Student Life San Francisco

FOR as a Dependent Preposition + Where to Shop FOR Gifts in SF

November 27, 2016

Welcome to the first Grammar Lesson of the Month for the IEC@DVC Blog! Each month, we will focus on a new grammar concept to help our students study English outside of class. We will also offer some tips on life as an international student at the IEC@DVC in beautiful Northern California!


Dependent Prepositions

We begin with a concept that is often confusing to English learners: prepositions! Prepositions work in many ways in the English language, but we are looking specifically at how they follow verbs as Dependent Prepositions. 

Dependent Prepositions use the following form:

Subject + verb + preposition + object (noun or -ing verb)

We use the term Dependent Prepositions because the meaning of the sentence changes depending on the preposition used.


To better understand Dependent Prepositions, first look at the sentences below. In each of these examples, the very APOLOGIZE is followed by a preposition, and the sentences all have different meanings depending on the preposition that is used.

  • He apologized for breaking my computer. (FOR is followed by the reason for the apology.)
  • She apologized by sending chocolates. (BY is followed by the way the person apologized. This sentence uses an -ing verb called a gerund after the preposition.)
  • They apologized with a hand-written note. (WITH is followed by the way the person apologized. This sentence uses a noun after the preposition. )
  • I apologized to my neighbor. (TO is followed by the person to whom the apology was given.)

As you can see, in each case, the preposition changes the meaning of the sentence drastically!

How can you learn Dependent Prepositions? One of the best ways is to focus on ONE preposition and learn the verbs it is often associated with. Let’s look at the preposition FOR and its associated verbs.


Verbs That Use Dependent Prepositions


Here are a few of the more common verbs we use with the Dependent Preposition FOR:

    He apologized for forgetting her birthday.
  • ASK
    We asked for the check after we ate dessert.
  • CARE
    My sister cares for the elderly.
  • EXCUSE (someone)
    Please excuse me for being late. I was stuck in traffic.
  • FORGIVE (someone)
    I forgive you for losing my favorite jacket. It’s OK.
  • PAY
    He paid for our meal. How kind!
    We studied academic English vocabulary to prepare for college in the United States.
  • SHOP
    Where do you shop for shoes?
  • THANK (someone)
    He thanked us for our donation.

Notice that the preposition is followed by a gerund (-ing) or noun.

Where to Shop FOR Gifts in SF

SHOP + FOR is a common Dependent Preposition combination, and one that we can use this holiday season! Are you planning on doing some shopping while you are a student at IEC@DVC? Check out some of these places in San Francisco where you can buy some unique gifts for friends and family!

Home goods/culinary items: Embarcadero and Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market

In addition to having over 70 stores, the Embarcadero Center has a cinema, gardens, art galleries, and a fitness center. This area is known for its restaurants, so it’s no surprise that you can also find some great (and local!) culinary treats here. The Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday: check out their list of vendors for an idea of the cheeses, jams, pickles, honeys, and more that are on sale each weekend!



California is famous for its beautiful fruits and vegetables. Check them out at a local farmer’s market!

Souvenirs: Pier 39

Shops selling everything SF-related are easy to find in this area, which is a popular tourist destination. Be sure to stop by Boudin for a clam chowder bread bowl while you’re there, and go see the adorable seals as well! Read Pier 39’s Shopping Guide for information on the area’s many shops and restaurants.


Nothing’s better than Boudin bread fresh out of the oven!

Vintage finds: Haight-Ashbury

Haight-Ashbury has maintained its 60s vibe, and the cool shops reflect this! In addition to some hip stores, the area still has many vintage boutiques hiding all kinds of treasures for your retro-loving friends. Be sure to check out the record stores, too! Visit Haight Shop for information on the stores you’ll find.


We love the way that Haight-Ashbury has retained the vibe of the 60s. Where else do you find shops like this one?


It’s cool to think that each piece of clothing in a vintage shop has a story!

High End Department Stores: Union Square

Perhaps the most well-known shopping area of San Francisco is Union Square, which is home to Westfield’s San Francisco Centre shopping mall (Macy’s! Bloomingdale’s!). Union Square is lined by large department stores such as Saks, Barney’s, and Neiman Marcus: it also borders the Financial District’s Crocker Galleria. Consult the webpage of “San Francisco’s Crown Jewel of Shopping Districts” for more information.


Trendy Boutiques: Hayes Valley-Hayes Street

Antique and modern, hip and laid-back, casual and formal . . . from the cafes to the clothing stores, there’s something for everyone in this shopping district! Vintage shops, trendy clothing stores, traditional and modern bakeries, hip bars, charming cafes, and unique clothing stores await those who visit Hayes Valley.


Check out Hayes Valley Shop online for details.

Jewelry: Union Street

Union Street is often confused with Union Square. . . but they are two very different areas. Union Street is lined with beautiful Victorian buildings that house high-end clothing stores, upscale restaurants, and many, many jewelry stores. Check out what the area has to offer on the Union Street webpage!

Happy shopping to our students! . . .

Produce photos from Ferry Market on Facebook; bread photo from Boudin on Facebook. All other photos licensed under Creative Commons.

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