Last Updated: May 31, 2024


We use different types of words in our everyday communication and conversations, each with its intricate uses and interpretations. One of the most common and important types of words we use every day is called prepositions.

What is a Preposition? – Definition

A preposition is a word that links nouns, pronouns, or phrases to other words within a sentence. It typically indicates the temporal, spatial, or logical relationship of its object to the rest of the sentence as in “The book is on the table” or “She lives near the school.” Prepositions are essential for providing additional details and context in sentences, such as location, direction, time, and manner. They help to create clear and concise sentences by showing how different parts of a sentence are related to each other

Types of Prepositions

Prepositions are versatile words that link nouns, pronouns, or phrases to other parts of a sentence, indicating relationships like time, place, direction, and more. Here are the main types of prepositions:

1. Prepositions of Time

These prepositions indicate when something happens. Common examples include at (precise times), on (days and dates), and in (months, years, centuries, and long periods).

  • Example: We will meet at 5 PM, on Friday, in October.

2. Prepositions of Place

These prepositions show the location or position of something. Key words are at (point locations), on (surfaces), and in (enclosed spaces).

  • Example: The book is on the table in the library at the university.

3. Prepositions of Direction/Movement

These indicate the direction in which something or someone moves. Examples include to (towards a place), from (origin of movement), and through (passing from one side to the other).

  • Example: She walked from the store to her house through the park.

4. Prepositions of Agent

These prepositions connect a noun to the doer of an action, usually following passive voice constructions. The most common is by.

  • Example: The novel was written by the famous author.

5. Prepositions of Instrument

These indicate the tool or means by which something is done, often including with and without.

  • Example: He cut the paper with scissors.

6. Prepositions of Manner

These prepositions describe how something is done and include words like with, in, and on.

  • Example: She speaks with enthusiasm.

7. Prepositions of Possession

These show ownership or possession and include of.

  • Example: The cover of the book is blue.

Difference Between Prepositions and Postpositions

Difference Between Prepositions and Postpositions

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Aspect Prepositions Postpositions
Definition Prepositions are words placed before their objects to indicate relationships of time, place, direction, etc. Postpositions are placed after their objects, serving a similar grammatical function to prepositions but following rather than preceding the noun or pronoun.
Position in Sentence Precede their objects (e.g., on the table, in the car). Follow their objects (e.g., the table on, the car in, in languages that use postpositions).
Common Languages Common in English, French, Spanish, and many other Indo-European languages. Common in languages like Japanese, Turkish, and Finnish.
Examples In English: at, in, on, by, for. In Japanese: -に (ni) for location, -へ (e) for direction.
Function Indicate various relationships including location, time, manner, direction, and agency. Serve the same functions as prepositions but are structurally different due to their position relative to the noun.
Usage Prepositions are used to form prepositional phrases which act as adjectives or adverbs. Postpositions also form phrases that modify nouns or verbs, providing contextual information.

Common Mistakes with Prepositions

Prepositions are small words with significant impact on the clarity and correctness of your sentences. Here are some common mistakes people make when using prepositions:

1. Incorrect Preposition Choice

  • Mistake: Interested on learning.
  • Correct: Interested in learning.

Choosing the wrong preposition can change the meaning of a sentence or make it grammatically incorrect. Each verb, noun, or adjective is often followed by a specific preposition.

2. Using Unnecessary Prepositions

  • Mistake: Where are you at?
  • Correct: Where are you?

Sometimes, especially in spoken English, extra prepositions are added where they aren’t needed. This can make sentences sound informal or incorrect in written form.

3. Omitting Needed Prepositions

  • Mistake: She is married with a doctor.
  • Correct: She is married to a doctor.

Leaving out a necessary preposition can lead to confusion or a sentence that sounds incomplete or awkward.

4. Confusing Prepositions with Similar Meanings

  • Mistake: She arrived to the airport late.
  • Correct: She arrived at the airport late.

Words like “in” and “on,” or “at” and “to,” have similar meanings but are used in different contexts. Mixing them up is a common error.

5. Using the Wrong Preposition in Phrasal Verbs

  • Mistake: Look after the meaning.
  • Correct: Look up the meaning.

Phrasal verbs (a combination of a verb and a preposition or adverb) are tricky because their meanings can’t always be guessed from the meanings of the individual words. Using the wrong preposition changes the verb’s meaning entirely.

6. Prepositions in Idiomatic Expressions

  • Mistake: At one’s wits’ end.
  • Correct: At one’s wit’s end.

Prepositions often appear in idiomatic expressions, where their use does not align with their standard meanings. Learning these expressions as whole phrases is necessary to avoid mistakes.

7. Confusing Prepositions of Time and Place

  • Mistake: I have been waiting since three hours.
  • Correct: I have been waiting for three hours.

Prepositions of time (like “at,” “on,” “in”) and place (like “at,” “in,” “on”) follow specific rules. Mixing them up is a common source of error.

Prepositions – Place

Preposition Usage Example
at Indicates a specific point or location. She is at the entrance.
on Used for surfaces. The book is on the table.
in Indicates an enclosed space. They are waiting in the room.
above Higher than something else, but not directly over it. The picture hangs above the fireplace.
below Lower than something else. The village is below the mountain.
beside Next to or at the side of. The bank is beside the supermarket.
between In the space that separates two points or objects. The park is between the two buildings.
under Directly below something else. The cat is sleeping under the table.
behind At the back of. The parking lot is behind the building.
in front of The area before or ahead of something. The car is parked in front of the house.
near Close to. The restaurant is near the museum.
across from On the opposite side of. She lives across from the school.

Prepositions – Time

Preposition Usage Example
at For precise times We will meet at 5 PM.
on For days and dates The meeting is scheduled on Monday.
in For months, years, seasons, and parts of the day She was born in July, in 1990, in the morning.
for Duration of time He studied for two hours.
since A point in time in the past until now I have been waiting here since 3 o’clock.
by A deadline or the latest time by which something should be completed The project needs to be finished by Friday.
before Earlier than a specific time Please call me before you leave.
after Later than a specific time We decided to go for a walk after dinner.
during Throughout the entire duration or in the course of They will be on vacation during the summer holidays.
until/till Up to a certain point in time We waited until midnight.

Preposion of Direction

Preposition Usage Example
to Direction towards a specific point She is going to the office.
from Origin of a movement He traveled from New York to Los Angeles.
into Movement to the inside of a place The cat jumped into the box.
out of Movement from the inside to the outside She walked out of the room.
toward(s) Direction in the general vicinity of something He walked towards the park.
onto Movement to the top of a surface The bird landed onto the branch.
off Movement away from a surface The cat jumped off the counter.
through Movement from one side to the other side They drove through the tunnel.
across Movement from one side to the opposite side She swam across the lake.
around Movement in a circular direction The dog ran around the tree.
over Movement directly above something The plane flew over the mountains.
under Movement beneath something The cat crawled under the bed.
along Movement following the length of something They strolled along the beach.
past Movement beyond something He walked past the library.
up Movement in an upward direction She climbed up the ladder.
down Movement in a downward direction He walked down the stairs.
between Movement from one point to another, passing two or more others She moved between the parked cars

100+ Preposition Examples

1. Preposition Template

2. University Preposition

3. Preposition Chart

4. Grammar Preposition

5. Standard Preposition

6. College Preposition

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8. Preposition Basics

9. Commonly Used Prepositions

10. Subjects, Verbs, And Prepositions

11. Preposition Notes

12. General Preposition

13. Common Preposition Combinations

14. Preposition Phrases

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16. Prepositions in PDF

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37. Grammar Prepositions in English

38. Prepositions with Examples

39. Preposition Information Sheet

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43. Individual Prepositions

44. Simple Prepositions

45. Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases

46. Prepositional Phrase Worksheet

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50. Noun and Preposition

51. Distributional Models of Preposition

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54. English Prepositions in PDF

55. Idiomatic Preposition

56. Preposition and Adjective Clauses

57. One Word Prepositions

58. Time Prepositions

59. Preposition of Place or Position

60. Little Preposition Words

61. Functional Prepositions in Acquisition

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82. Preposition Word Bank

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84. Students Preposition in PDF

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86. Preposition Detective

87. Common Preposition in PDF

88. Idiomatic Use of Preposition

89. Prefixes as Prepositions

90. Preposition and Their Phrases

91. Difficult Preposition

92. Common and Compound Prepositions

93. Preposition Phrase in DOC

94. Preposition Template in DOC

95. Preposition Lesson Plan

96. Modifiers Preposition

97. Prepositional Phrase Map Worksheet

98. Preposition Football Game

99. Preposition Acquisition

100. Structure of Preposition

101. Vocabulary Preposition

How to Use a Preposition in One’s Sentence

Well-used prepositions can increase the overall quality of the sentence you will use them on. Be sure to use the proper preposition as each of these modifiers have different meanings and uses.

Step 1: Select a Sentence Structure

Begin by selecting a sentence structure you will use the preposition on. These sentence structures range from simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences.

Step 2: Outline the Sentence

Outline the overall structure of the sentence by listing down the individual parts of the whole sentence. This outline will help provide a salient direction you can easily follow.

Step 3: Choose a Preposition

You must choose a preposition that will establish the connection or status of the two nouns or pronouns the preposition will refer to. If you need a reference you may use any list of prepositions you can find on the internet.

Step 4: Create the Sentence

You must now create the sentence using the outline and the preposition you have chosen for your sentence. If you want to create more sentences, you may follow steps one to four until you are satisfied.


What Are the 8 Most Common Prepositions?

The 8 most common prepositions are at, by, for, from, in, of, on, and with. These prepositions are fundamental in expressing relationships of place, time, cause, and possession in sentences, making them essential for daily communication.

How Do You Find a Preposition in a Sentence?

To find a preposition in a sentence, look for a word that connects a noun or pronoun to another word, indicating relationships such as time, place, direction, or manner. Prepositions usually precede a noun or pronoun, forming a prepositional phrase.

How Do You Know if TO is a Preposition?

To is a preposition if it precedes a noun or pronoun to show direction, destination, position, or purpose, forming a prepositional phrase (e.g., “go to the store”). If to is followed by a verb, it serves as part of an infinitive (e.g., “to run”), not as a preposition.

What Is Simple Preposition?

A simple preposition is a single word that shows the relationship between two elements in a sentence, typically indicating time, place, direction, or manner. Examples include at, by, for, in, of, on, and with. These prepositions are straightforward and lack the complexity of compound or phrasal prepositions.

What Is the Golden Rule of Prepositions?

The golden rule of prepositions is that they should always precede a noun or pronoun to indicate a relationship, never ending a sentence with a preposition in formal writing. However, in everyday speech and informal writing, ending sentences with prepositions is commonly accepted.

What Is Appropriate Preposition?

An appropriate preposition is the correct preposition needed to convey the intended meaning in a phrase, based on standard usage and idiomatic expressions. Choosing the right preposition is crucial for clarity and accuracy, as the wrong preposition can change the meaning of a sentence or make it grammatically incorrect

What are common everyday examples of prepositions we use in our day-to-day communications?

We use many prepositions in our day-to-day communications, primarily when we are referring to the locations of various common nouns, plural nouns, proper nouns, and other entities and objects. People commonly use these examples of prepositions, which are above, across, among, behind, below, against, down, from, in, on, off, up, under, within, and with. 

Is the word “by” an example of a preposition?

The word “by” can fill in two roles depending on the context, theme, and tone of the situation. One of the most popular and common forms of the word “by” is its usage as a preposition, which denotes a specific location that is beside or at the side of a specific object, landmark, or place. People can also use the word “by” as an adverb when it has a different context. Therefore the word “by” is an example of a preposition.

Is the word “during” an example of a preposition?

Yes, the word “during” is an example of a preposition. Unlike most prepositions, people use the word “during” before a pronoun or a noun to relate to space and time rather than a specific location.

Prepositions are specific words that people use in their writing and speaking to establish a connection between various elements in a single output, When the person properly uses a preposition, the target audience will have little to no room for misunderstanding the connection between two words, elements, or pronouns. 

Preposition Generator

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