HUNTER COLLEGE READING/WRITING CENTER

GRAMMAR AND MECHANICS
Prepositions: Using Prepositions (Exercise A)

Many prepositions have been removed from the following passage from Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings." Fill in the blanks with the most appropriate preposition. You can check your answers against the completed passage on the next page.

_____ the third day _____ rain they had killed so many crabs _____ the house that Pelayo had to cross his drenched courtyard and throw them _____ the sea, because the newborn child had a temperature all night and they thought it was due _____ the stench. The world had been sad _____ Tuesday. Sea and sky were a single ash-gray thing and the sands _____ the beach, which _____ March nights glimmered like powdered light, had become a stew _____ mud and rotten shellfish. The light was so weak _____ noon that when Pelayo was coming back _____ the house _____ throwing away the crabs, it was hard _____ him to see what it was that was moving and groaning _____ the rear _____ the courtyard. He had to go very close to see that it was an old man, a very old man, lying face down _____ the mud, who, _____ spite _____ his tremendous efforts, couldn't get up, impeded _____ his enormous wings.
Frightened _____ that nightmare, Pelayo ran to get Elisenda, his wife, who was putting compresses ____ the sick child, and he took her _____ the rear _____ the courtyard. They both looked _____ the fallen body _____ mute stupor. He was dressed like a ragpicker. There were only a few faded hairs left _____ his bald skull and very few teeth _____ his mouth, and his pitiful condition _____ a drenched great-grandfather had taken away any sense _____ grandeur he might have had. His huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked, were forever entangled _____ the mud. They looked _____ him so long and so closely that Pelayo and Elisenda very soon overcame their surprise and _____ the end found him familiar. Then they dared speak _____ him, and he answered _____ an incomprehensible dialect _____ a strong sailor's voice. That was how they skipped _____ the inconvenience _____ the wings and quite intelligently concluded that he was a lonely castaway _____ some foreign ship wrecked _____ the storm. And yet, they called _____ a neighbor woman who knew everthing _____ life and death to see him, and all she
needed was one look to show them their mistake.

"He's an angel," she told them. "He must have been coming _____ the child, but the poor fellow is so old that the rain knocked him down."

On the third day of rain they had killed so many crabs inside the house that Pelayo had to cross his drenched courtyard and throw them into the sea, because the newborn child had a temperature all night and they thought it was due to the stench. The world had been sad since Tuesday. Sea and sky were a single ash-gray thing and the sands of the beach, which on March nights glimmered like powdered light, had become a stew of mud and rotten shellfish. The light was so weak at noon that when Pelayo was coming back to the house after throwing away the crabs, it was hard for him to see what it was that was moving and groaning in the rear of the courtyard. He had to go very close to see that it was an old man, a very old man, lying face down in the mud, who, in spite of his tremendous efforts, couldn't get up, impeded by his enormous wings.
Frightened by that nightmare, Pelayo ran to get Elisenda, his wife, who was putting compresses on the sick child, and he took her to the rear of the courtyard. They both looked at the fallen body with mute stupor. He was dressed like a ragpicker. There were only a few faded hairs left on his bald skull and very few teeth in his mouth, and his pitiful condition of a drenched great-grandfather had taken away any sense of grandeur he might have had. His huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked, were forever entangled in the mud. They looked at him so long and so closely that Pelayo and Elisenda very soon overcame their surprise and in the end found him familiar. Then they dared speak to him, and he answered in an incomprehensible dialect with a strong sailor's voice. That was how they skipped over the inconvenience of the wings and quite intelligently concluded that he was a lonely castaway from some foreign ship wrecked by the storm. And yet, they called in a neighbor woman who knew everything about life and death to see him, and all she needed was one look to show them their mistake.
"He's an angel," she told them. "He must have been coming for the child, but the poor fellow is so old that the rain knocked him down."

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