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The Preposition

Related Topics:
More Lessons on English
English as a Second Language, IELTS, TOEFL

In these lessons, we will learn

  • what is a preposition?
  • preposition of time
  • preposition of space
  • preposition of location and direction
  • difference between prepositions and adverbs

A preposition is a word that shows the relationship of a noun or pronoun to some other word in the sentence. The relationships include direction, place, time, cause, manner and amount.

A preposition always goes with a noun or pronoun which is called the object of the preposition. The preposition is almost always before the noun or pronoun. The preposition and the object of the preposition together are called a prepositional phrase.


I walked to the car. (preposition – to, object of the proposition – car, prepositional phrase – to the car)

I walked around the car. (preposition – around, object of the proposition – car, prepositional phrase – around the car)

The pen is on the table. (preposition – on, object of the proposition – table, prepositional phrase – on the table)

I read the book during class. (preposition – during, object of the proposition – class, prepositional phrase – during class)

Some of the commonly used propositions are:

aboard behind during
about below except
above beneath for
across beneath from
after besides in
against between inside
along beyond into
among but (meaning except) like
around by near
at concerning of
before down off
on throughout until
out till up
over to upon
past toward with
since under within
through underneath without

Prepositions of Time: In, At, On

The preposition in is used for

Months in July
Years in 1960
Centuries in the 19th century
Long Periods in the mornings
Seasons in summer

The proposition at is used for

A precise time at 7.00 a.m.
The weekend at the weekend
Night att night
Festive Periods at Christmas

The preposition on is used for

Special Days on my birthday
Days of the Week on Tuesday
Dates on the 24th of December


in the past
at present
in the future

There is NO preposition of time if the day/year has each, every, last, next before it.

each year
every Monday
last week
next day

Prepositions of Space: At, On, In


Used for



a specific location or point in space

at the door
at home


a horizontal or vertical surface

on the table
on the blackboard


enclosed area

in New York
in the car

Prepositions and Adverbs

A preposition is followed by a noun, pronoun or noun phrase, which forms the object of the preposition.

Some words can be a proposition or an adverb, but an adverb does not have an object.


I walked up the stairs. (up is the proposition and stairs is the object)

I walked up. (up is the adverb and there is no object)


Many students have problems with prepositions in English. The following video explains how three prepositions -- 'at', 'on', and 'in' ֠are used in relation to time. There is no preposition of time if the day/year has each, every, last, next before it. The following video gives examples of the 3 prepositions: 'at, on, in,' in relation to space. Prepositions of location and direction.
Part 1: At, In, On Part 2: Near or By, Next to or Beside, Across from or Opposite. Below, Under, Above, Over, Between, Among, In front of, Behind, On the left/right of, at the top/bottom of, in, inside, outside Part 3: Prepositions of Direction. Difference between Prepositions and Adverbs.

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