- A preposition is a word that links a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to some other part of the sentence.
- Prepositions can be tricky for English learners. There is no definite rule or formula for choosing a preposition. In the beginning stage of learning the language, you should try to identify a preposition when reading or listening in English and recognize its usage.
- to the office
- at the desk
- on the table
- in an hour
- about myself
A preposition is used to show direction, location, or time, or to introduce an object.
Here are a few common prepositions and examples.
Used to express a surface of something:
- I put an egg on the kitchen table.
- The paper is on my desk.
Used to specify days and dates:
- The garbage truck comes on Wednesdays.
- I was born on the 14th day of June in 1988.
Used to indicate a device or machine, such as a phone or computer:
- He is on the phone right now.
- She has been on the computer since this morning.
- My favorite movie will be on TV tonight.
Used to indicate a part of the body:
- The stick hit me on my shoulder.
- He kissed me on my cheek.
- I wear a ring on my finger.
Used to indicate the state of something:
- Everything in this store is on sale.
- The building is on fire.
Used to point out specific time:
- I will meet you at 12 p.m.
- The bus will stop here at 5:45 p.m.
Used to indicate a place:
- There is a party at the club house.
- There were hundreds of people at the park.
- We saw a baseball game at the stadium.
Used to indicate an email address:
- Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Used to indicate an activity:
- He laughed at my acting.
- I am good at drawing a portrait.
Used for unspecific times during a day, month, season, year:
- She always reads newspapers in the morning.
- In the summer, we have a rainy season for three weeks.
- The new semester will start in March.
Used to indicate a location or place:
- She looked me directly in the eyes.
- I am currently staying in a hotel.
- My hometown is Los Angeles, which is in California.
Used to indicate a shape, color, or size:
- This painting is mostly in blue.
- The students stood in a circle.
- This jacket comes in four different sizes.
Used to express while doing something:
- In preparing for the final report, we revised the tone three times.
- A catch phrase needs to be impressive in marketing a product.
Used to indicate a belief, opinion, interest, or feeling:
- I believe in the next life.
- We are not interested in gambling.
from a certain point of time (past till now)
- since 1980
- since 2 months
over a certain period of time (past till now)
- for 2 years
- for 2 months
a certain time in the past
- 2 years ago
- 2 months ago
earlier than a certain point of time
- before 2004
- before my exam
to / till / until
marking the beginning and end of a period of time
- from Monday to/till Friday
- from 2015 to/till 2018
till / until
in the sense of how long something is going to last
Example: He is on holiday until Friday.
in the sense of at the latest
up to a certain time
- I will be back by 6 o’clock.
- By 11 o’clock, I had read five pages.
by, next to, beside
left or right of somebody or something
Example: Jane is standing by / next to / beside the car.
on the ground, lower than (or covered by) something else
Example: the bag is under the table
lower than something else but above ground
Example: the fish are below the surface
covered by something else
meaning more than
getting to the other side (also across)
- overcoming an obstacle
- put a jacket over your shirt
- over 16 years of age
- walk over the bridge
- climb over the wall
higher than something else, but not directly over it
Example: a path above the lake
getting to the other side (also over)
getting to the other side
- walk across the bridge
- swim across the lake
something with limits on top, bottom and the sides
Example: drive through the tunnel
enter a room / a building
Example: go into the kitchen / the house
movement in the direction of something (but not directly to it)
Example: go 5 steps towards the house
movement to the top of something
Example: jump onto the table
in the sense of where from