Grammar in use

  • Topic : Prepositions
  • Skills : Grammar


What is a preposition?

Prepositions are words that show the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence. Here are some common prepositions in English:

Some examples:
In: She is in the kitchen.
On: The book is on the table.
At: They arrived at the airport.
By: I’ll send it to you by email.
With: I like to eat pizza with my friends.
For: I need to study for my exam.
To: He walked to the store.
From: The gift is from my sister.
Of: The color of the sky is blue.

In each sentence, the preposition is underlined. Note that prepositions can appear before nouns, pronouns, and even phrases.

Types of prepositions

Prepositions indicate direction, time, location, and spatial relationships and other abstract types of relationships.

Direction → She walked towards the park.
Time → They’ve been working since morning.
Location → The store is next to the bank.
Space → The book is on the table.

Common time prepositions and examples of their usage:

AtUsed to indicate a specific point in timeWe’re meeting at 7 pm.
I’ll finish this task at the end of the day.
The concert starts at 9 pm.
InUsed to indicate a period of timeShe’ll be on vacation in June.
I’ll graduate from college in two years.
They’ve been living in this city for five years.
OnUsed to indicate a specific day or dateThe party is on Saturday.
My birthday is on May 25th.
We have a meeting on Monday.
BeforeUsed to indicate time preceding a specific event or timePlease finish your work before 5 pm.
You need to pay the bill before the due date.
He always wakes up before sunrise.
I have eaten lunch. Lunch has been eaten by me.
AfterUsed to indicate time following a specific event or timeStudying has been being done by her for two hours.
SinceUsed to indicate the starting point of a period of timeI’ve been learning French since high school.
They’ve been married since 2010.
He hasn’t eaten meat since last year.
Until/ TillUsed to indicate the end of a period of timeThe store is open until 9 pm.
You can stay here till tomorrow.
Let’s work together until we finish the project.

Classified by type

Prepositions of timeafter, around, at, before, between, during, from, on, until, at, in, from, since, for, during, within, of
Prepositions of placeabove, across, against, along, among, around, at, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by, down, in, inside, into, near, off, on, opposite, out, over, past, through, to, toward, under, underneath
Prepositions of direction/movementat, for, on, to, in, into, onto, between
Prepositions of manner/agency
by, on, in, like, with
Other types of prepositions:
Prepositions of purpose:
for, to, in order to, so as to

Larger list


Prepositions: group of words

 Most prepositions are single words, some pairs and groups of words operate like single prepositions.

In addition to studying for her exams, she also works part-time.
The book is on top of the table.
According to the weather forecast, it’s going to rain today.
The car is parked in front of the building.
She speaks French as well as English.

The most common that consist of groups of words are:

According toAhead ofAlong withApart fromAs for
As ofAs perAs well asBecause ofBy means of
In addition toIn front ofIn spite ofInstead ofNext to
On account ofOut ofPrior toRegardless ofWith regard to

Difference Between Prepositions And Adverbs

Prepositions and adverbs are both parts of speech, but they have different functions in a sentence. Prepositions are words that show the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence, while adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.

Here are some examples:

She sings beautifully.
In this sentence, the adverb “beautifully” modifies the verb “sings” and describes how she sings.

She spoke softly.
In this sentence, the adverb “softly” modifies the verb “spoke” and describes how she spoke.

Difference Between Prepositions and Conjunctions:

Prepositions and conjunctions are also different parts of speech, and they have distinct roles in a sentence.
Prepositions show relationships between words, while conjunctions connect words, phrases, or clauses.

Here are some examples:

I like coffee, but I don’t like tea.
In this sentence, the conjunction “but” connects the two phrases “I like coffee” and “I don’t like tea.”

I will study hard, so I can pass the exam.
In this sentence, the conjunction “so” connects the two clauses “I will study hard” and “I can pass the exam.”)

He ate the pizza and drank the soda.
In this sentence, the conjunction “and” connects the two verbs “ate” and “drank”.

Answer the following questions

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