Definition: Prepositions are a class of words that indicate relationships between nouns, pronouns and other words in a sentence. Most often they come before a noun. They never change their form, regardless of the case, gender etc. of the word they are referring to.
Some common prepositions are:
Prepositions typically come before a noun:
A preposition usually indicates the temporal, spatial or logical relationship of its object to the rest of the sentence.
The book is on the table.
The book is beside the table.
She read the book during class.
In each of the preceding sentences, a preposition locates the noun «book» in space or in time.
Prepositions are classified as simple or compound.
Simple prepositions are single word prepositions. These are all showed above.
The book is on the table.
Compound prepositions are more than one word. in between and because of are prepositions made up of two words — in front of, on behalf of are prepositions made up of three words.
The book is in between War and Peace and The Lord of the Rings.
The book is in front of the clock.
The children climbed the mountain without fear.
There was rejoicing throughout the land when the government was defeated.
The spider crawled slowly along the banister.
The following table contains rules for some of the most frequently used prepositions in English:
Prepositions of Time: English Usage Example
on days of the week on Monday
time of day
after a certain period of time (when?) in August / in winter
in the morning
in an hour
at for night
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 of Place: English Usage Example
in room, building, street, town, country
book, paper etc.
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
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
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
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