Prepositions in English Grammar

Prepositions in English Grammar

Preposition - Preposition is made of two words - Pre + Position. Pre means before and Position refers to status or place. In other words, A Preposition is a word placed before a Noun or Pronoun to indicate place, direction, source; such as -

1) The cat is on the table.

2) The cat is in the box.
3) The cat is under the table.
4) The cat is behind the box.

The underlined words show the position of the cat. We call them Prepositions.

Prepositions in English Grammar
Prepositions in English Grammar

Types of Prepositions - There are main three types of Prepositions i.e Prepositions of Time, Prepositions of Place/ Position and Prepositions of Direction/ Movement.

1) Prepositions of Time - Prepositions of Time include the prepositions such as at, on, in, within, since, for, from, before, after, during, till (untill), through, throughout, by.

(a) 'At' is used for a point of time, e.g:
1) Ram reached here at 6 p.m.
2) I met Mr. Sharma at 5 o'clock.
3) They reached their house at sunset.
4) Our school starts at 7 a.m.
5) He heard a horrible voice at midnight.

(b) 'In' is used with months and years and also used to express approximate time,e.g:

1) India got freedom in 1947.
2) He went to Shimla in June.
3) We wear warm clothes in winter.
4) He was born in the month of November.
5) The train will reach Mumbai in three hours.
6) I have eaten my breakfast in the morning.
7) He plays cricket in the morning.

(c) 'On' is used with days and dates, e.g:

1) I shall go to Calcutta on Monday.
2) His interview falls on 15 Oct.
3) I shall return to Delhi on Friday.
4) We do not go to school on Sunday.


(d) Both 'Before' and 'After' are used for point of time or period of time, e.g:
1) December comes after November.
2) I will reach the station before 5 o'clock.
3) He started working again after three hours rest.
4) He reached home after four hours.


(e) 'During' is used for a situation that continues throughout a given period, e.g:
1) He keeps reading during the day.
2) We shall go to Shimla during summer vacations.
3) He didn't go anywhere during his examinations.


(f) 'In' is used for the end of a period of time whereas 'within' denotes before the end of a period of time, e.g:
1) I will give you money within ten days.
2) He will come back home in a week.
3) He will return within a week.


(g) 'Since' is used with a point in time at which an action started, and the action is considered to continue to the time of speaking.
'For' shows a period of time : as, for three years, for two months, for a few hours.
'From' can be used for time and place both. When denoting a point of time, it must be followed by 'to' or 'till', e.g:
1) He has been here for five years.
2) He has been here since 4 o' clock.
3) I have been reading in this school since last April.
4) I have been watering the plants for one hour.
5) She has been busy from morning till evening.
6) You are not allowed to attend the college from today.
7) He plays from dawn to dusk.


(h) Both 'Through' and 'Throughout' express the action from beginning to the end, e.g:
1) The child kept crying all through the day.
2) I I kept waiting for you throughout the day.


'Till' or 'Until' means 'up to a point of time', whereas 'by' is used to denote 'not later than', e.g:
1) Wait here till I come.
2) He will reach Delhi by next week.
3) I will come to your house by 8 o' clock.
4) She worked till twelve.

2) Prepositions of Place/Position - The prepositions which tell the place/position of someone or something, are called Prepositions of Place. They include - at, in, between, among, over, below, above, behind, ahead etc.

(a) 'In' is used before the names of countries and large cities, or before the name of the place in which one is at the time of speaking, e.g: in a country, in a town, in a street.
'At' is used for small villages or towns. When we refer to small towns or villages, we use 'at'. 'At' means inside, just outside or just beside the building or place.
1) He settled in Ludhiana.
2) He was educated in London.
3) I live at Charik.
4) I was waiting for you at the station.


(b) 'In'  is used to tell the usual place of living or work and also denotes position of rest.
'On' also shows position, e.g:
1) The fish live in water.
2) Mohan works in the bank.
3) The book is lying on the table.
4) He is sitting in the class.

(c) 'Between' is used for two persons or two things only whereas 'Among' is used for more than two persons or things. e.g:
1) This is between you and me.
2) Distribute these books among the students.
3) Property was divided between two brothers.
4) Sweets were distributed among the school children.


(d) 'Over' is the opposite of 'Under' and 'Above' is the opposite of 'Below', e.g:
1) The sky is over our head.
2) He is over head and ears in debt.
3) This area is above sea level.
4) The plane flew above the clouds.
5) My books are lying under the table.
6) He lives below the stairs.

(e) 'Behind' is used for position, means to say something 'at the back'
'Ahead' is used to refer to a thing in front, e.g:
1) He stabbed me from behind.
2) Our house is behind the school.
3) Look ahead while driving.
4) There is a tree behind our house.

3) Prepositions of Direction/Movement - These type of Prepositions tell us that an object is in motion or moving. They include - into, upon, up, down, to, towards, along and across.

(a) Both 'Into' and 'Upon' denote motion or direction, e.g:
1) He went into the room.
2) The teacher came into the class.
3) The ball fell into the well.
4) The cat jumped upon the wall.
5) The lion sprang upon the deer.

(b) Both 'Up' and 'Down' are used for movement or direction, e.g:
1) He climbed up the tree.
2) He went down the hill.


(c) Both 'To' and 'Towards' are used for direction, e.g:
1) This road leads to Delhi.
2) He is going to school.
3) He is coming towards me.

(d) 'Along' means 'parallel' whereas 'Across' refers to 'on the other side', e.g:
1) He was walking along the road.
2) He lives across the river.

Some Other Uses of Prepositions:

'At' is used for rate.
Sugar is sold at Rs. 45 a kilogram.
I bought the book at a low price.

'At' means just on the side, near.
He is sitting at the dining table.

'At' is used to refer to some skill.

He is good at Mathematics.
My brother is good at Drawing.

'At' is used for a location Spot.

He met me at the airport.
He was waiting for the train at the station.

'At' is used for Institution.
He is a teacher at the University.

'For' is used if the actual amount is given.
I bought the book for Rs. 50/-
The shopkeeper sold the ball point pen for Rs. 10/-

'With' is used as a tool or it relates to instrument. It also indicates company. 'By' relates to the agent or the doer, e.g:
She beat the baby with a stick.
He killed a snake with a stick.
I opened the lock with a key.
I cut an apple with a knife.
She went to the market with her mother.
I go to the school by bus/ by train / by car.
This book has been written by Mr. Henry.
The letter was typed by the typist.

'Beside' means 'at' or 'by the side of', whereas 'Besides' means 'in addition to'.
He sat beside me.
My house is beside the temple.
Besides books, he was given fee concession also.
Besides this car, he has another car also.


'From' is also used for place, e.g:
Apples come from Himachal.
He has come from Mumbai for doing his job.

Appropriate Use of Prepositions:

1) Ashamed of : He is ashamed of his conduct. (sorry for)
2) Accused of : He was accused of murder. (charge with)
3) Aware of : I am aware of my limitations. (conscious)
4) Beware of : Beware of Pick-Pockets. (take heed)
5) Blind of : He is blind of one eye. (unable to see)
6) Come of : He comes of a noble family. (belongs to)
7) Consist of : The building consists of ten rooms. (is made up of)
8) Died of : He died of Cholera. (died because of)
9) Fond of : He is fond of reading novels. (interested in)
10) Hope of : I have no hope of success.(chance, wish for)
11) Appetite for : I have no appetite for food. (hunger)
12) Affection for: Parents have affection for their children. (love)
13) Eligible for : You are eligible for this post. (qualified)
14) Hope for : Always hope for the best. (wish for)
15) Look for : I'm looking for my missing dog. (to search)
16) Wait for : I shall wait for you. (await)
17) Agree with (someone) : I agree with you. (accept or consent)
18) Agree to (something) : He agreed to my proposal. (accepted)
19) Angry with (someone) : I'm angry with you. (displeased)
20) Angry at (something) : I'm angry with him at his misconduct. (disappointed)
21) Born in : He was born in a rich family. (take birth)
22) Busy in : He is busy in learning his lesson. (involved)
23) Deal in : He deals in cloth. (trades)
24) Trust in : Trust in God and do the right. (have faith)
25) Proficient in : He is proficient in English. (good at)
26) Addicted to : He is addicted to drinking. (given)
27) Blind to : He is blind to his shortcomings. (ignorant)
28) Close to : My school is close to my house. (near)
29) Injurious to : Smoking is Injurious to health. (harmful)
30) Superior to : This book is superior to that. (better)
31) Inferior to : This wheat is inferior to that. (low-quality)
32) Key to : Hard work is a key to success. (lead to)
33) Astonished at : I was astonished at his behavior. (surprised)
34) Knock at : Who is knocking at the door? (striking at)
35) Look at : Look at the blackboard. (see)
36) Broke into : The thief broke into the house at night. (to enter by force)
37) Broke out : Cholera has broken out in the city. (spread)
38) Got into : He has got into serious troubles. (to be involved)
39) Look into : Please look into the matter. (to inquire)
40) Look after : Parents look after their children. (to take care of)
41) Deaf to : He is to deaf to all our requests. (does not listen to)
42) Give up : Please give up smoking. (to stop)
43) Get up : I get up early in the morning. (to awake)
44) Take off : Take off your shoes before you enter the room. (remove)
45) Turn down : He turned down my request. (rejected)
46) Famous for : Agra is famous for its historical buildings.
47) Hatred for (someone) : I have no hatred for him. (hate)
48) Hatred of (something) : I have hatred of drinking.
49) Interest in : I have no interest in Physics. (enthusiasm)
50) Expert in : He is expert in Photography. (specialist)
51) Need of : I am in need of some money. (want)
52) Pride in : She takes pride in her beauty. (pride in oneself)
53) Pride of : I'm proud of you. (dignity)
54) Taste for : I have no taste for novels. (liking)
55) Jealous of : He is jealous of my success. (envious)
56) Made of : This chair is made of wood. (composed of)
57) Beneficial to : Fresh air is beneficial to health. (useful)
58) Junior to : He is junior to me in service. (lower - ranking)
59) Preparation for : He is making preparation for the examination. (training or planning)
60) Complain against : He complained against me to the Principal. (find fault)