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What are Prepositions?


A preposition is a word that is placed or positioned before a noun or a pronoun to show the relationship of the noun or pronoun to some other word in the sentence.

  1. We walked home after the movie.
  2. Maria won prizes in the spelling bee.
  3. Kim always throws a party on his birthday.
  4. Tiffany sat beside me.

In the above sentences, the prepositions are in bold and italics.They relate the noun or pronoun to the other words in the sentence.


List of Prepositions:

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The most common prepositions are listed in the chart that follows

 about           before            during            like                through          
 above  behind  except  near   throughout 
 across   below  for  of  to
 after  beneath   from  on   toward
 against   beside  in  onto  under
 along  between   in front of   opposite   until
 among  by  instead of   out  up
 at  despite  inside  over  upon
 around  down  into  past  with

Prepositions are often used to give more information about
  1. Time
  2. Place
  3. Movement and Direction

A. Prepositions of Time

       Preposition                                  Use                                    Examples 
 months years


 period of time  

 I was born in May.

 The terrorists collapsed the World Trade Center in 2001.

 Snow storms swept through many parts of Middle East in winter.

 The roof will be fixed in an hour.
 at  specific point in a time

 part of the day

 state the age at a point of time 
 The president will arrive at 6 p.m.

 The conference starts at noon.

 My sister left to Paris at eighteen. 
 on  specific day

 days of week

 special days or occasions
 World Environment day is celebrated on 5th June.

 The team arrives on Thursday.

 My friends gave me a pleasant surprise on my birthday.
 since  point of time
 Shawn has worked here since 2005.
 for  period of time  
 It has been raining continuously for six hours.
 during  when something happens within a specific
 period of time
 We had a lot of fun during lunch break.
 Many nocturnal animals move during the night in search of prey.
 by  not later than a special time  
 The work must be completed by 15th July.

B. Prepositions of Place

      Preposition                                  Use                                                                 Examples                                              
 in   enclosed space or area   The card is in my wallet. 
 at   for point   I met Mr Lewis at the airport.
 on   surface   I found your book on the shelf. 
 above   higher than something  The lamp hung above the table.
 over   resting on the surface  Julie put a tablecloth over the kitchen table. 
 under   lower than something  The dog is sleeping under the chair.
 between   about the space separating two or
  more people, places, or things
 Jack sat between Paul and Robert. 
 among   In the group  The birthday boy distributed the sweets among his friends. 
 near   close to  Sit near the window to see the valley,
 the river flowing down the hill and the surrounding terrain.
 beside   at the side of; next to.  Don’t sit beside the burning fire as
 the wood smoke may damage your lungs.

C. Prepositions of Movement and Direction

Movement and Direction

                Preposition                                          Use                                                               Examples                                             
 across  From side to side of   
 Children climbed over the bridge which was built across the  river.
 along  By the length of, in a longitudinal  direction over or  near   
 The child was moving along the beam, and was trying to  get  her doll which had fallen from the window where it was  kept. 
 around  In every direction  
 Move around and check if the children are standing in  proper lines or not.
 into  Indicating motion or direction to a  point within  
 The ball thrown into the well could not be taken out  because nobody had the courage to go down into the well.
 off  moving away and often down from   
 The ball fell off the chair and rolled away from the child.
 onto  On top of; to a position on; upon  
 The footballer tried to jump onto the ball and was badly  injured as he slipped and  hurt his back. 
 past  to or on the further side of  
 We had to go past the field and turn left to reach our  school.
 towards  Approaching; in the direction of  
 Children were told to move towards the school bus in  proper  line to avoid any  mishap.
 (of places) from end to end or side to side of;  entering  at one side, on one surface, and coming out of the  other.
 Children playing near the building threw their ball through    the window which landed   into Mrs. Smith's bowl of soup.

Object of Preposition

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Read the following sentences:
  1. There is great news for doctors.

  2. For the sake of simplicity, it is divided into pieces.

  3. Xavier is not interested in studies.

  4. Ted always turns off lights when not in use.

Doctors, simplicity, pieces, studies, lights follow the prepositions for, of, into, in, off.

The words that follow a preposition are called the object of the preposition.


I. Match column ‘A’ with column ‘B’ having words and phrases of similar meanings underlined in column ‘A’. Match the two lists and write the answer in column ‘C’:


  1. Fanny was amazed to see the necklace. It was not different from the real one. 

 i. mature             

 1  ________ 
  2. Don’t laugh at somebody’s appearance as appearances can be deceptive.
 ii. continued 

 2  ________
  3. Instead of behaving in a childish way grow up and try to be a sensible person.
 iii. make free of  
 3  ________

  4. In spite of many distractions little kids carried on with their work.
 iv. mock
 4  ________

  5. We tried everything to get rid of the stain on the floor, but no stain remover could      remove it.
 v. not the same  5  ________

II. Fill the blank spaces with prepositions as indicated in the brackets:

  1. ________ 2 O’clock  ________ the afternoon ______ Thursday a plane flew over the tropical regions. (Prepositions of time)  

  2. The boy climbed _________ the stool to get the cookies kept ________ the jar which was hidden ___________ the two small boxes. (Prepositions of place showing location)

  3. Keep the wet papers ___________ the fan and ___________ them keep a chair for you to sit and see the papers don’t fly off. (Prepositions of place showing location)

  4. A little boy fell ___________ the pond so a brave boy rushed ____________ the pond to save him. (Prepositions showing movement)

  5. The ball fell __________ the cupboard, bounced and flew ________ the hands of the boy ___________ the window. (Prepositions showing movement)

III. Underline the prepositions and circle the object of the preposition:
  1. The Dickens have not yet recovered from their bad experience at sea.

  2. If anything could sum up the joyous, carefree and skillful aesthetics of Brazilian football in 90 minutes was lost in this world cup.

  3. The expensive painting has been offered for sale.

  4. US hardware firms have experienced a backlash in China.

  5. The Berlin Wall fell in November 1989 but there were still two Germany until October.

More topics in Preposition
Preposition of Place Preposition of Time
Preposition for Direction
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