As a non-native English speaker, prepositions can be tricky to understand and use correctly. They are small words that can make a big impact on the meaning of your sentence. In this reference, we will provide you with a list of prepositions, their types, and examples of their use.
List of Preposition Types
Prepositions are words that show relationships between a noun or pronoun and other words in your sentences. They indicate location, time, direction, manner, or purpose. There are three main types of prepositions:
- Simple prepositions: These are the most common prepositions, and they include words like on, in, at, by, to, from, for, with, and about. Simple prepositions are used to indicate location, time, and direction. Example: "The book is on the table."
- Compound prepositions: These are formed by combining two or more words to create a new preposition. Examples include inside of, out of, in spite of, and because of. "Example: In spite of the rain, we went for a walk."
- Phrasal prepositions: These are made up of two or more words that work as a single preposition. Examples include according to, ahead of, in front of, and in addition to. “Example: According to the weather forecast, it will rain tomorrow.”
Prepositions of Time and Place
Prepositions of time and place are used to indicate when and where something is happening. Here are some examples of prepositions of time and place:
- At: used for specific times (at 5 o'clock), holidays (at Christmas), and locations in a city (at the airport)
- In: used for months (in March), seasons (in winter), and longer periods of time (in the 21st century)
- On: used for days (on Monday), dates (on June 1st), and specific occasions (on New Year's Eve)
- By: used for a specific time (by 6 pm), to indicate a deadline (by Friday), and to mean near or beside (by the river)
- Near: used to indicate proximity (near the park), approximate time (near midnight), and similarity (near the truth)
Example: “I will meet you at the coffee shop near the park by 3 pm.”
Prepositions of Direction and Movement
Prepositions of direction and movement help indicate the direction of motion. Here are some examples of prepositions of direction and movement:
- To: used to indicate movement towards a specific destination (to the beach)
- From: used to indicate movement away from a specific location (from the airport)
- Into: used to indicate movement towards the inside of something (into the house)
- Out of: used to indicate movement away from the inside of something (out of the car)
- Across: used to indicate movement from one side to another (across the river)
Example: “He walked across the bridge from the city to the countryside.”
Prepositions of Location and Position
Prepositions of location and position are used to indicate where something is located or positioned. Here are some examples of prepositions of location and position:
- On: used to indicate something is located on a surface (on the table)
- In: used to indicate something is inside a container or enclosed space (in the box)
- At: used to indicate a specific point or location (at the intersection)
- Under: used to indicate something is located beneath something else (under the bed)
- Behind: used to indicate something is located at the back of something else (behind the chair)
Example: “The keys are in the drawer under the bed.”
Prepositions of Manner and Purpose
Prepositions of manner and purpose are used to indicate how something is done or why something is done. Here are some examples of prepositions of manner and purpose:
- With: used to indicate the tool or instrument used to perform an action (with a hammer)
- For: used to indicate the purpose or reason for an action (for the sake of)
- Like: used to indicate a similarity between two things (like a bird)
- As: used to indicate the role or function of something (as a teacher)
- By: used to indicate the means or method by which something is done (by car)
Example: “She wrote the letter with a pen for her friend, who lives in Italy, like a true poet.”
Prepositions in Idiomatic Expressions
Prepositions are also used in idiomatic expressions, which are phrases that cannot be translated literally. Here are some examples of idiomatic expressions that use prepositions:
- In the end: finally or ultimately
- On the other hand: in contrast or as an alternative
- At first: initially or in the beginning
- By heart: from memory or without reading
- In spite of: despite or regardless of
Example: “In the end, he decided to quit his job and travel the world.”
Prepositions vs. Adverbs
Prepositions and adverbs are often confused because they can have similar meanings. However, the main difference is that prepositions are followed by a noun or pronoun, while adverbs are not. Here are some examples of prepositions and adverbs:
- Preposition: She walked on the beach.
- Adverb: She walked quickly.
- Preposition: He jumped over the fence.
- Adverb: He jumped over it.
Commonly Used Prepositions in English
Prepositions are essential to the English language, and understanding their usage can greatly improve your writing and speaking skills. We have also provided you with a comprehensive list of commonly used prepositions in English. With this knowledge, you can take your English language skills to the next level and handily master using this part of speech in your life!