A preposition connects the relationship between a noun, pronoun and phrase to other parts of the sentence. Whatever object or phrase the preposition is introducing is called the object of the preposition.

Each bold word in the following sentences are examples of prepositions:


  • The box is on the desk.
  • The box is under the desk.
  • The box is beside the desk.
  • He held the box over the desk.
  • He looked at the box during
  • The box is leaning against the desk.

In each sentence a preposition is used to locate the box in time or space. People use prepositions every day without even realizing it. Think of a preposition as a way to relate the object to the rest of the sentence.

Some Commonly Used Prepositions

about before down of throughout
above behind during off to
across below except on toward
after beneath for onto under
against beside from out underneath
along between in outside until
among beyond inside over up
around but into past upon
as by like since with
at despite near through Without

Compound Prepositions

according to except for in response to
as well as in accordance with in spite of
because of in addition to inside of
by means of in place of instead of
by way of in relation to on account of

Object of the Preposition

The object of the preposition is always a noun, a pronoun or a noun equivalent.




  1. With poise, Gwyneth Paltrow walked to the stage and accepted her Academy Award. (The noun poise is the object of the preposition with.)


  1. The Palace welcomed the Prince of Monaco and scheduled a sightseeing tour for him. (The pronoun him is the object of the preposition for.)


  1. The director asked about proposing the summer programs for the University. (Proposing the summer programs for the University is a group of words functioning as noun or is a noun equivalent. It is the object of the preposition about.)

Prepositions Indicating Time

  • Use during to refer to a period of time.
  • Use since to refer to a period of time from the past to the present.
  • Use for to refer to a period of time stating the number of hours, days or weeks.
  • Use in to indicate year, before months not followed by the day or before the month and year without the day.
  • Use on before days of the week, before months followed by the day or before the time indicating the day, month and year.

Prepositions – Time

English Usage Example
•                   on •                     days of the week •                     on Monday
•                   in •                      months / seasons

•                      time of day

•                      year

•                      after a certain period of time (when?)

•                     in August / in winter

•                     in the morning

•                     in 2006

•                     in an hour

•                   at •                      For night   

•                      for weekend

•                      a certain point of time (when?)

•                     at night

•                     at the weekend

•                     at half past nine

•                   since •                     from a certain point of time (past till now) •                     since 1980
•                   for •                     over a certain period of time (past till now) •                     for 2 years
•                   ago •                     a certain time in the past •                     2 years ago
•                   before •                     earlier than a certain point of time •                     before 2004
•                   to •                     telling the time •                     ten to six (5:50)
•                   past •                     telling the time •                     ten past six (6:10)
•            To / till / until •                 marking the beginning and end of a period of time •                    from Monday to/till Friday
•              Till / until •                  in the sense of how long something is going to last •                     He is on holiday until Friday.
•                   by •                      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.

Prepositions Indicating Place or Position

  • Use in when something is already inside.
  • Use in when the given location is more specific.
  • Use on in an address with only the name of the street.
  • Use between when you speak of two persons, places or things.
  • Use at when referring to places which indicate the general location.
  • Use among when you speak of three or more persons, places or things.
  • Use into when there is movement involved in the placement of something.

Prepositions – Place (Position and Direction)

English Usage Example
•                   in •                     room, building, street, town, country

•                     book, paper etc.

•                     car, taxi

•                     picture, world

•                     in the kitchen, in London

•                     in the book

•                     in the car, in a taxi

•                     in the picture, in the world

•                   at •                      Meaning next to, by an object

•                      for table

•                      for events

•                   place where you are to do something typical

(watch a film, study, work)

•                     at the door, at the station

•                     at the table

•                     at a concert, at the party

•                     at the cinema, at school,

at work

•                   on •                      attached

•                      for a place with a river

•                      being on a surface

•                      for a certain side (left, right)

•                      for a floor in a house

•                      for public transport

•                      for television, radio

•                     the picture on the wall

•                     London lies on the Thames.

•                     on the table

•                     on the left

•                     on the first floor

•                     on the bus, on a plane

•                     on TV, on the radio

• by, next   to, beside •                     left or right of somebody or something •               Jane is standing by / next to /

beside the car.

under •                     on the ground, lower than (or covered by) something else •                        the bag is under the table
below •                     lower than something else but above ground •                  the fish are below the surface
over •                      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

above •                        higher than something else, but not directly over it •                     a path above the lake
across •                      getting to the other side (also over)

•                      getting to the other side

•                     walk across the bridge

•                     swim across the lake

through •                  something with limits on top, bottom and the sides •                     drive through the tunnel
  through •                  something with limits on top, bottom and the sides •      drive through the tunnel
•                   to •              movement to person or building

•              movement to a place or country

•              for bed

•                      go to the cinema

•                      go to London / Ireland

•                      go to bed

•                   into •             enter a room / a building •                     go into the kitchen / the house
•                   towards •             movement in the direction of something

(but not directly to it)

•                go 5 steps towards the house
•                   onto •             movement to the top of something •                   jump onto the table
•                   from •              in the sense of where from •            a flower from the garden









Other important Prepositions

English Usage Example
•                   from •                 who gave it •                     a present from Jane
•                   of •                 who/what does it belong to

•                 what does it show

•                     a page of the book

•                     the picture of a palace

•                   by •                 who made it •                     a book by Mark Twain
•                   on •                 walking or riding on horseback

•                 entering a public transport vehicle

•                     on foot, on horseback

•                     get on the bus

•                   in •                 entering a car / Taxi •                     get in the car
•                   off •                 leaving a public transport vehicle •                     get off the train
•                   out of •                 leaving a car / Taxi •                     get out of the taxi
•                   by •                 rise or fall of something

•                 travelling (other than walking or horse-riding)

•                     prices have risen by 10 percent

•                     by car, by bus

•                   at •                 For age •                     she learned Russian at 45
•                   about •                 for topics, meaning what about •                     we were talking about you


























This part of a speech basically refers to words that specify location or a location in time.

Examples of Prepositions: above, below, throughout, outside, before, near, and since


Sample Sentences:


  • Micah is hiding under the bed.

The italicized preposition introduces the prepositional phrase “under the bed,” and tells where Micah is hiding.


  • During the game, the audience never stopped cheering for their team.

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The italicized preposition introduces the prepositional phrase “during the game,” and tells when the audience cheered.

Sentence correction: prepositions


  • Incorrect: He married with an Indian woman.
  • Correct: He married an Indian woman.


  • Incorrect: He accompanied with his friends.
    Correct:    He accompanied his friends.


  • Incorrect: We discussed on the matter.
    Correct:    We discussed the matter.


  • Incorrect: I pitied on him.
    Correct:    I pitied him.


  • Incorrect: He is clever, but he lacks of experience.
    Correct:    He is clever, but lacks experience.


Some verbs are normally followed by direct objects without prepositions. Examples are: discuss, enter, marry, lack, resemble, approach, accompany, pity etc.


  • Incorrect:This is a comfortable house to live.
  • Correct:This is a comfortable house to live in.


  • Incorrect:This is the road to go.
  • Correct:This is the road to go by.


  • Incorrect:He gave me a gun to shoot.
  • Correct:He gave me a gun to shoot with.


  • Incorrect:He gave me a chair to sit.
  • Correct:He gave me a chair to sit on.


Some infinitive complements take prepositions with them.


  • She needs other children to play with.

(NOT She needs other children to play.)


  • Incorrect: He asked a holiday.
  • Correct: He asked for a holiday.


  • Incorrect: Don’t ask me money.
  • Correct: Don’t ask me for

We use ask for to ask somebody to give something.


Ask without for is used to ask somebody to tell something.


  • Ask him his name. (NOT Ask him for his name.)
  • Ask for the menu. (NOT Ask the menu.)

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