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A Look at English Prepositions

By: Sarah Folega - Updated: 25 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
A Look At English Prepositions

An English preposition is a word that usually appears in front of a pronoun or a noun. The preposition will express a relation with another word or an element within a sentence. Also, prepositions will link elements of a sentence together.

  • He was beside himself
  • He left before dinner

Rules When Using English Prepositions

There is one rule that needs to be adhered to when using English prepositions; and, unlike many other grammar rules within the English language, this one has absolutely no exceptions.

The rule is: a preposition can never be followed by an English verb, but has to be followed by a noun, pronoun, proper noun, gerund or a noun group.

  • Nouns – dog, cat, love, money
  • Proper Nouns – Sarah, Richard, England, France
  • Pronouns – us, you, her, him
  • Gerund – swimming
  • Noun Group – my first job

If a preposition has to be followed by a verb, it must be changed into a gerund or a verb in noun form, which means adding ‘–ing’ as a suffix.

Roughly, there are around 150 prepositions in English. This may seem like a small number when you compare to the amount of verbs and nouns in English; however, prepositions play a very important part in the English language.

We use individual prepositions more often than other, individual words in the English language. This is because prepositions help us tell the listeners and readers specific information.

Prepositions Of Place

Examples of prepositions that describe a place are: at, on and in. As a general rule, the preposition ‘at’ is used to describe an exact point; the preposition ‘in’ describes an enclosed space; and, the preposition ‘on’ describes a surface.

English Preposition ‘At’

  • At the entrance
  • At the shops
  • At the end of the road
  • At the door
  • At the corner

English Preposition ‘In’

  • In the bedroom
  • In the garden
  • In England
  • In Devon
  • In my pocket
  • In my car
  • In the bus
  • In a building

English Preposition ‘On’

  • On the carpet
  • On the side
  • On the wall
  • On the menu
  • On a table
  • On the floor

The prepositions ‘of’, ‘to’ and ‘in’ are the most commonly used words in the English language. That is because they are simple ways of giving specific information to the reader or the listener. Some prepositions have more than one meaning.

Prepositions Of Time

The prepositions that describe time are: ‘in’, ‘at’ and ‘on’.

The preposition ‘at’ is used to show an exact time; the preposition ‘in’ is used to show months, centuries, years and extended periods; and, the English preposition ‘on’ is used to depict days and other dates.

English Preposition ‘In’

  • In the next Century
  • In the next ten years
  • In the winter
  • In the summer
  • In December

English Preposition ‘At’

  • At 2am
  • At 3 o’clock
  • At suppertime
  • At bedtime

English Preposition ‘On’

  • On her birthday
  • On our anniversary
  • On Christmas Eve
  • On Wednesday

Here is a list of one-word prepositions that are commonly used in the English language.

  • Aboard
  • Along
  • Across
  • At
  • As
  • After
  • Behind
  • Before
  • Concerning
  • Except
  • Like
  • Near
  • Outside
  • Past
  • Regarding
  • Underneath
  • Under
  • With
  • Without
  • Within

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I hope to learn very good English language
baraka - 5-Jul-11 @ 11:00 PM
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