In the Office

Some of the most common verb-preposition combinations found in the office.

They can often be quite far apart from each other in the sentence.

The order and delivery process

The materials were ordered from the supplier ten days ago.

They were ordered for the Smolensk Project.

The supplier says that the order was sent/dispatched to us on Monday.

It was sent/dispatched from their Helsinki depot by carrier.

Unfortunately, the order has not yet arrived(no preposition)

The order was loaded onto a truck in their yard.

The driver signed for it – I saw him take the paper and sign it.

He gave the paper back to the warehouse man.

We were looking for a supplier that we could depend on.

They were chosen for this contract because of their excellent delivery record.

We all agreed on the choice.

We all agreed that they were a good choice. (no preposition)

We agreed on the price, but disagreed on the delivery schedule.

We concentrated on finding a solution, and didn’t focus on blame.

We bought 100 packets of paper for the printer.

The paper was delivered to us yesterday, but it was the wrong quality.

The paper was delivered yesterday, but it was the wrong quality. (no preposition)

The supplier will come tomorrow with the correct paper, and take back the other.

Mary has been with us for ten years – we must buy a present for her.

Tomorrow, we can have coffee and cake and give the present to her.

Attaching and enclosing: You can’t enclose anything in an email.

I am attaching our catalogue and price list to this email (.pdf). (Always give the file extension.)

I am enclosing our catalogue and price list with this letter. (physical enclosure)

I am attaching the agenda to this letter. (physical attachment – staple or paper clip)


(‘Call’ has many other meanings – better to use ‘phone’)

I’ll call him after lunch = I’ll phone him after lunch. (no preposition with ‘call’ or ‘phone’)

I’ll call on him after lunch = I’ll visit him after lunch. (no preposition with ‘visit’)

I’m on the phone, could you wait just a minute?

Oh no! I’m on hold and the music is dreadful.


replied to them last week.

replied to their letter last week.

They replied to me/my letter yesterday.

received a reply from them yesterday.


We enter all orders in the order book, as we receive them.

The software is very simple. Write the product code in this column, the description in the next column,

the number of pieces in this column etc. The unit prices and total prices appear automatically. When everything

is ready, press ‘enter’ and the customer receipt will be printed out.

Cashing up at end of the day at the Kiosk:

(NB: The ‘float’ is the amount of money in the till before start of business.)

At the end of the day we count up the day’s takings, subtract the ‘float’ and enter the result in

this book here. The money goes in/into the safe over there. In the morning, I will count out the float, which

is exactly €500 of small coins and notes, and put it in the till. If I need more coins or notes during the day, I have

to ‘buy them’ from the safe with money from the till.”

Handover Log:

Towards the end of the shift, the outgoing supervisor enters all ongoing tasks in the log.

When the incoming supervisor arrives, they then read through the tasks together.

If there are any questions, this is the time to ask them.

When all is clear, the incoming supervisor signs the log and his colleague can go off duty.

Duty Personnel:

We can talk about ‘Duty Doctor‘, ‘Duty Manager‘ etc.

They may be present for the whole shift, or they may be ‘on call’.

‘On duty’ usually means the worker is present.

‘On call’ means that he or she can be contacted if necessary.

At an airport the TDM (Terminal Duty Manager) is fully responsible for the terminal

while they are on duty. They cannot leave before their replacement arrives and handover is complete.

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