Where can you find prepositions? Are they under a rock? Around the corner? Over a hill? The easiest place to find them is right here! Prepositions are important to sentences because they provide added and essential details. There are hardly any rules as to when to use which preposition. The only way to learn prepositions is looking them up in a dictionary, reading a lot in English literature and learning useful phrases off by heart .

The main work of prepositions is to create relationships between words. It gives information about location, direction, space, or time. Prepositions are usually part of a phrase because they often have a noun or pronoun after them. Prepositions play a big part in making the English language colourful and interesting.

What are Prepositions

Prepositions are little words that never change in form; they are pronounced softly, in unstressed syllables. The word preposition has a straight forward definition: a word placed before a noun or a pronoun to define its relationship with another word in the sentence. 

Prepositions are difficult, if not impossible lets check the below example:
  • 'under' the desk
  • 'during' the lecture
  • 'across' the yard
  • 'after' dinner
  • 'behind' the bush
Rule: A preposition is followed by a "noun". It is never followed by a verb.

Prepositions and its uses:
  1. First, they are used with time words
  2. Second, they are used to show where something or someone is
  3. Third, they are used after some adjectives
  4. Fourth, they are used after some verbs
  5. Fifth, they are used after some nouns
  6. Finally, they are used in certain phrases
Prepositions don't stand alone. They work in groups of words that we call prepositional phrases.

Roles of the Prepositions

  • A prepositional phrase begins with a preposition and ends in a noun. That noun is called the object of the preposition.
  • Many Preposition words can also be adverbs which describe verbs (actions and being) or conjunctions.

    • She walked down the hill. – the preposition down
    • He put the book down. – the adverb down 
    • She took a nap after lunch. – the preposition after
    • She went outside after she put the book down. – the conjunction after
  • Many prepositions can indicate more than one meaning or relationship.
Example of after:
    • Later than – We rested after lunch. 
    • In pursuit of – The cat is after the mouse. 
    • Because of – He was angry after the way she acted.
    • In the style of – This is a painting after Picasso. 
    • Continuously – She worked night after night. 
  • Two or more prepositions can have the same meaning. Sometimes these prepositions are interchangeable.
    • She is disappointed in her new job. 
    • She is disappointed with her new job.
Sometimes they are not interchangeable. 

    • He is fascinated with his new job. (but not in)
    • He is interested in his new job. (but not with)
    • He is bored by his new job. (by or with, but not in)
  • Many prepositions are also used in expressions where their meaning is entirely different from any of their predictable meanings. Expressions like this do not follow any pattern or logic, and do not allow for substitutions. They must be learned as vocabulary units.
    • Its about time
    • They are never on time
    • She got here in time to see the whole show. 
  • A preposition in combination with another word may have multiple meanings.
    • Make up your bed – arrange 
    • Make up your face – paint
    • Make up your mind – decide 
    • Make up a story – invent 
    • Make up a list – write down 
    • Make up the difference – equalize
    • Make up last week’s homework – do overdue work
    • Make up for lost time – compensate 
    • Make up with your girlfriend – re-establish a relationship 
  • Different prepositions can follow the same verb to change its meaning completely.
    • Break down – collapse 
    • Break in – enter by force 
    • Break off – remove 
    • Break out – erupt 
    • Break out of – leave by force
    • Break through – establish a successful idea
    • Break up – end a relationship 
  • Preposition words are sometimes “made into” other parts of speech. 
    • Prepositions as nouns – I want to learn the ins and outs of photography.
    • Prepositions as adjectives; they describe nouns and pronouns (ideas, people, places, and things). 
      • The hospital has only a few in patients.
      • There is a down side to his idea
    • Preposition as Verbs – I heard they were upping the price. 

Preposition Examples

Mentioned below are a few examples of Prepositions:
    • The sun is above the clouds.
    • The boy ran after the ball.
    • Their boat came alongside our boat.
    • I have some questions concerning your decision.
    • I couldn’t hear her amid the noise.
    • The sofa is against the wall.
    • Peter was among the spectators. 
    • The pen was beneath the books.
    • Passengers sit behind the driver. 
    • The bank is beside the cinema.
    • Mary sat between Tom and Jane. 
    • The restaurant is by the river. 
    • The wind is blowing from the north. 
    • The child ran out in front of the bus.
    • The school is near the church. 
    • He fell off the horse. 
    • The bank is next to the cinema.
    • Eva sat opposite Tom at the table. 
    • The cat jumped onto the roof of the car. 
    •  The garden is outside the house. 
    • The plane flew over the Atlantic.
    • She drove past the supermarket. 
    • Water flows under the bridge. 
    • There was dust underneath the rug. 
    • I put an egg on the kitchen table.
    • There is a party at the club house.
    • She always reads newspapers in the morning.
    • I think I must be going, considering the time.
    • Regarding John, let’s talk later.
    • He drove off toward(s) the mountain.
    • He is in very good health, given his age.
    • We open every day excluding Christmas Day.
    • The song was written by Madonna.

List of Prepositions

There are approximately 80 to 100 prepositions in the English language. Prepositions are words that introduce information to the reader. This information can include where something takes place , when or why something takes place, or general descriptive information.

Here are some examples of commonly-used prepositions:

     about          behind           down          off    till  with   as       despite   
 above   below  during on   to  within   at  into
   across   beneath   except  onto   toward      without     before  like
 after  beside  for       opposite     under  amid  beyond  near
 against   besides  from   out      underneath     among   but  over
 along   between   in   outside  until  around      through     since

Types of Prepositions

The types of preposition are as follows:
  1. Preposition for Time
  2. Preposition for Place 
  3. Preposition for Direction
  4. Preposition for Agent
  5. Preposition for Instrument
  6. Prepositional Phrase

Prepositions used for TIME are:


    • Month or Year. 
    • Particular time of day or month or year
    • Century or specific time in past etc
    • Day
    • Date
    • Particular day
    • Time of clock
    • Short and precise time 

Examples of Preposition of Time:
  1. He was born in 1985.
  2. She will go to New York on 25th of March.
  3. I will call you at 12 A.M

Prepositions used for PLACES:

Prepositions “in, on or at” are usually used for different places.

“In” is usually used for place which have boundary 

    • In school
    • In a building
    • In a box
    • In library
    • In garden
    • In America
    • In cupboard
“On” is  used for surface of something

    • On a table
    • On blackboard 
    • On a page
    • On the wall
    • On the roof
    • On a map
“At” is used for specific place.

    • At the entrance
    • At the bottom of glass
    • At front of the chair
    • At bus stop
    • At the edge of roof

Preposition for Direction:

Prepositions like to, towards, through, into are used to describe the direction. 

    • She went to the super market.
    • He jumped into the river.
    • He ran away when he felt that someone was coming toward him.

Preposition for Agent:

Preposition for agent is used for a thing which is cause of another thing in the sentence. Such prepositions are by, with etc. 

    • This book is written by Shakespeare. 
    • The work was completed by her.
    • The room was decorated by him.
    • The drum is filled with water.

Preposition for device, instrument or machine:

Different preposition are used by different devices, instruments or machines. e.g. by, with, on etc.

    • She comes by bus daily.
    • He opened the lock with key.

Prepositional Phrases:

Prepositional phrases are groups of words containing prepositions and end with a noun, pronoun, gerund, or clause, the "object" of the preposition.

    • The rabbits hopped through the perfectly manicured garden.
    • For one hundred years the chair sat mouldering in the attic.
    • The cupcake with colorful sprinkles is yours.
    • I will climb up the highest mountain tomorrow.
    • His is only one voice among many, but it will be heard.
    • Tell me the story about the dragon slayer.
    • Against all odds, our team won the tournament.