Preposition Definition

Preposition  Definition: A Preposition is the word or group of words used before or after the nouns and pronouns in a sentence to establish a meaningful relationship between the words. The prepositions fall under various categories which are explained in detail below. It is grammatically incorrect to use prepositions at the end of sentences.

Preposition Meaning

Prepositions might have different meanings in varied contexts. So a lot of people are confused and question, What are prepositions? Here we will explain to you the meaning of prepositions with their types and examples.  The prepositions are divided into three categories on the basis of their usage in a sentence:

1. Prepositions of Direction

The preposition of direction can be identified when a preposition is being used to sense a movement or motion. Examples of prepositions of direction are in front of, along, among, around, across and etc.

2. Prepositions of Place

People often confuse the preposition of direction and place. The preposition of place is associated with the final destination of a particular object. Examples of prepositions of place are over, under, beside and etc. 

3. Prepositions of Time

The preposition of time is those which allow you to discuss the specific date on the calendar, time or any day of the week. Examples of prepositions of time are in (longer periods), at (the time of day), and on (days and dates).

Preposition in English Grammar

English Grammar is incomplete without the usage of Prepositions. English Grammar consists mainly of nine figures of speeches. Prepositions are also one of the major parts of speech in English Grammar. Some of the examples of Prepositions in English Grammar include besides, under, in front of, over, above, and many more. We have provided the usage of prepositions in English Grammar with the help of sentences in the article below.  People often use prepositions incorrectly, therefore it is essential to go through the examples of prepositions in English Grammar.

Preposition Definition

The definition of a Preposition is a function word that typically combines with a noun phrase to show a relationship in space or time or a logical relationship between two or more people, places or things which usually expresses a modification or prediction. 

List of Prepositions

Preposition words are again divided into single preposition words or a group of preposition words.

Preposition List (Single Word)

Some of the commonly used preposition words include in, into, inside, for, from, besides, on, onto, at, by, amongst, among, during, outside, over underneath, down, without, within, behind, since, then, via, despite and many more. 

Preposition List (Group of Words)

Some of the most common prepositions that have more than one word and form a phrase include, on top of, owing to, apart from, in addition to, in front of, on account of, thanks to, out of, up to, outside of and many more.  

Preposition Words

There are more than 120 prepositions in English Grammar.  Here is the list of some common single-word prepositions.  

  1. aboard
  2. about
  3. above
  4. across
  5. after
  6. against
  7. along
  8. amid
  9. among
  10. anti
  11. around
  12. as
  13. at
  14. before
  15. behind
  16. below
  17. beneath
  18. beside
  19. besides
  20. between
  21. beyond
  22. but
  23. by
  24. concerning
  25. considering
  1. despite
  2. down
  3. during
  4. except
  5. excepting
  6. excluding
  7. following
  8. for
  9. from
  10. in
  11. inside
  12. into
  13. like
  14. minus
  15. near
  16. of
  17. off
  18. on
  19. onto
  20. opposite
  21. outside
  22. over
  •  
  1. past
  2. per
  3. plus
  4. regarding
  5. round
  6. save
  7. since
  8. than
  9. through
  10. to
  11. toward
  12. towards
  13. under
  14. underneath
  15. unlike
  16. until
  17. up
  18. upon
  19. versus
  20. via
  21. with
  22. within
  23. without

Preposition Examples

Some of the examples of single prepositions with sentences are as follows:

  1. We were walking along the road.
  2. The cat is sitting under the table.
  3. The dog is barking at the robbers.
  4. I had lunch with my mother.
  5. She has been waiting for you in the car.

Some of the examples of a group of words prepositions with sentences are as follows:

  1. The dog slept in front of my gate.
  2. According to me, the red dress is better than the black one.
  3. Instead of finding fault with others focus on self-improvement.
  4. In addition to salt, you need other spices in the dish.
  5. We were left with guilt at the end of the day.

Preposition Rules

Lets' understand Prepositions with some shortcut rules implemented on their usage. Below are some common Preposition Rules listed, hope these help you in one way or another. 

Preposition Shortcut Rule 1

Across - On the opposite side of 

Eg- My Cousin lives across the river.✔ 

Across - From one side to another 

Eg- The boy swam across the river ✔ 

Across - both sides 

Eg- He threw the luggage across his shoulders ✔ 

Come Across - means meet accidentally / suddenly 

Eg- When I was going to market, I came across an old friend. ✔ 

I suddenly came across him  

I came across him. ✔

Preposition Shortcut Rule 2

Between- Used for two persons/things

Eg- She is sitting between Munni and Sheela. ✔ 

Among- Used with more than two persons/things

Eg- The principal distributed prizes among the winners ✔ 

Amid or Amidst- Used for more than two persons/things (groups) Amid his friends ✔ 

Eg- It was hard to hear amid all the cheering. ✔

Preposition Shortcut Rule 3

During - denotes duration

Eg- During the war, many people suffered hardship. ✔ 

We go to Darjeeling during summer every year. ✔ 

Preposition Shortcut Rule 4

From - is used with past / future tenses. 

I stayed there from Monday to Wednesday. ✔ 

I will start my preparation from Monday next. ✔ 

Preposition Shortcut Rule 5 

Of - denotes origin / cause 

She comes of a rich family (origin) ✔ 

He died of Malaria (cause) but she died in an accident. ✔ 

Off - denotes 'separation' 

A button has come off. ✔ 

He is off duty today. ✔ 

Preposition Shortcut Rule 6 

After a preposition, a pronoun under objective case should be used. 

He depends on I. ☓ 

He depends on me. ✔ 

Preposition Shortcut Rule7 

When two words are connected by 'and / or' etc., the prepositions should be mentioned clearly to be used with them. 

He was surprised at as well as pleased with her performance. ✔ 

She is conscious and engaged in her work. ☓ 

She is conscious of and engaged in her work ✔ 

Preposition Shortcut Rule 8 

No preposition should be used with the noun 'Home' except when it is followed by an adjective in the possessive case, say go to home / arrive home / reach home / get home. 

I went to his home / He went home. ✔ 

He decided to go to Krishna's home. ✔

Preposition Shortcut Rule 9 

After transitive verbs such as 'Discuss/Describe/reach/order/tell/demand/attach/resemble /ridicule etc. no preposition is used. The verbs directly take an object. 

The poet describes about the beauty of nature.☓ 

The poet describes the beauty of nature. ✔ 

He ordered for two cups of tea. ☓ 

He ordered two cups of tea. ✔ 

Preposition Shortcut Rule 10

After the verbs "Say / suggest / propose / speak / explain / reply / complain / talk / listen / write" the proposition "to" should be used if any object is used. 

He did not reply me. ☓

He did not reply to me. ✔

You never wrote me. ☓

You never wrote to me. ✔

He suggested her that she should eat less. ☓

He suggested to her that she should eat less. ✔

Preposition Shortcut Rule 11

Since - Denotes point of time

For - denotes period of time.

They should be used with present tense or the present perfect continuous tense/past perfect tense/past perfect continuous tenses.

I know her since 2011. ☓

I have known her since 2011. ✔

He is working in the bank for the past 3 years. ☓

He has been working in the bank for the past 3 years. ✔

Preposition Shortcut Rule 12

After the verb "Enter" the preposition "into" should not be used except when it is used with reference to agreement or conversation.

He entered into the premises without any permission. ☓

He entered the premises without any permission. ✔

They entered a hot discussion. ☓

They entered into a hot discussion. ✔

Preposition Shortcut Rule 13

Wait for –Await, Despite - inspite of

He is awaiting for a reply. ☓

He is awaiting a reply. ✔

Despite of his hard work, he failed in the examination. ☓

Despite his hard work he failed in the examination. ✔

This book comprises of 5 chapters.☓

This book comprises of 5 chapters. ✔

This book consists of 5 chapters. ✔

Preposition Shortcut Rule 14

Dispose of - Sell away

He disposed off his scooter. ☓

He disposed of his scooter. ✔

How to Use Prepositions?

Simply knowing the meaning of prepositions is not enough for the right usage of prepositions in a sentence. Even if you have understood the various examples of prepositions, there are a few points that must be taken into account while using prepositions in a sentence. They are as follows:

  1. Prepositions must always be followed by a noun or a pronoun.
  2. Prepositions must never be used at the end of a sentence.
  3. Never replace “have” for “of”.
  4. Don’t confuse the usage of “in” and “into”.
  5. Not to interchange “than” and “from”.

Other than prepositions, there are various other parts of speech. Have a look at other parts of the speech here.

Parts of Speech in English Grammar 
PronounAdjective
AdverbNoun
VerbConjunction

 

Prepositions: FAQs

Ans. Preposition is defined as a word or phrase that is used before a noun or pronoun to show place, time, direction, etc.

Ans. The various types of prepositions are prepositions of direction, prepositions of place and prepositions of time.

Ans. The preposition of place is associated with the final destination while the preposition of direction is the motion or movement.

Ans. The most common prepositions are at, by, for, from, in, of, on, to, and with.

Important Links