Preposition: Definition, Types, Examples, Exercises

Prepositions may seem like small words, but their impact on language and communication is anything but minor. From describing locations to indicating time, prepositions play a pivotal role in English grammar. Think of them as the connectors that establish relationships between words and phrases, guiding us through the complexities of language.
In essence, a preposition is a word that shows the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence. It’s what tells us where something is located, when an event occurred, or how something is being done.

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What are Prepositions?

A preposition is a word that establishes a relationship between a noun or pronoun and other elements in a sentence. This relationship is often one of direction, location, time, or manner. By indicating where, when, or how something is happening, prepositions provide the essential context that allows us to convey meaningful messages.
Prepositions are versatile and adaptable, playing a vital role in both spoken and written communication. They can be as simple as “in,” “on,” or “with,” or more complex like “beneath,” “regardless of,” or “in spite of.”

At their core, prepositions are matchmakers, revealing the relationships between different elements within a sentence. They reveal where something is in relation to something else, when an action occurred, or how an event unfolded.

Consider the sentence: “The cat is on the roof.” The preposition “on” links the noun “cat” to the noun “roof,” painting a clear picture of the cat’s location. In “She ran toward the horizon,” the preposition “toward” establishes a relationship between the verb “ran” and the noun “horizon,” indicating the direction of her movement.

Types of Prepositions:-

1. Basic Prepositions:

These are the foundation of prepositions, including words like “in,” “on,” “at,” “by,” and “with.” They establish straightforward relationships between nouns and other elements, often indicating location or proximity.

2. Compound Prepositions:

Compound prepositions are formed by combining prepositions with other words. Examples include “inside of,” “because of,” and “in front of.” These prepositions lend more specificity to relationships.

3. Prepositions of Time:

These prepositions shed light on when an action occurred or when something is happening. Words like “before,” “after,” “during,” and “until” pinpoint moments in time.

4. Prepositions of Place and Direction:

When it comes to describing where something is located or the direction of movement, these prepositions shine. “Above,” “below,” “behind,” “between,” and “across” are a few examples.

5. Prepositions of Movement:

These prepositions convey the manner or path of movement. “Through,” “along,” “over,” and “under” provide insights into how someone or something is moving.

6. Phrasal Prepositions:

Phrasal prepositions are formed by combining a preposition with an adverb. Examples include “alongside,” “apart from,” and “because of.” They often add layers of meaning to relationships.

7. Prepositions of Agent:

These prepositions attribute an action to a specific agent. “By” and “through” are commonly used in this context. For instance, “The report was written by a team of researchers.”

8. Prepositions of Source or Origin:

These prepositions indicate where something comes from. “From,” “out of,” and “off” are examples that offer insights into origins.

9. Prepositions of Purpose:

When you want to convey the reason for an action or purpose, prepositions like “for,” “to,” and “in order to” come into play.

10. Double Prepositions:

These are pairs of prepositions that work together to create more specific relationships. “In front of,” “out of,” and “up to” fall under this category.

11. Appropriate preposition

“Appropriate prepositions” refer to the correct or suitable prepositions that should be used in specific contexts to convey accurate meaning and grammatical correctness. Prepositions are essential components of sentences that establish relationships between different elements, such as nouns, pronouns, and other words. Choosing the right preposition ensures that your sentences are clear, coherent, and convey the intended message accurately.
Here are some examples of appropriate prepositions in various contexts:

1. Time:

“We arrived before the movie started.”
“The party is scheduled for Saturday night.”


“The keys are on the table.”
“The cat is hiding under the bed.”

3. Direction:
“She walked toward the park.”
“They sailed across the ocean.”

4. Possession:
“The book belongs to me.”
“This is a gift from my friend.”

5. Purpose:
“I bought this dress for the wedding.”
“She approached the problem with creativity.”

6. Comparison:
“She is taller than her brother.”
“The movie was not as good as I expected. “

7. Cause and Effect:
“He missed the train because of traffic.”
“She was happy because her team won.”

8. Accompaniment:
“The slides provided a visual accompaniment to the speaker’s points.”
“She went to the party alone.”

9. Origin:
“This dish is from Italy.”
“The book is by a famous author.”

10. Means:
“She painted the picture with watercolors.”
“He wrote the letter with a pen.”

Prepositional phrase:-

A prepositional phrase comprises a preposition, its object, and any modifiers associated with the object. These phrases furnish supplementary details about a noun, pronoun, or verb within a sentence. They can express various relationships, including location, time, direction, manner, and more.

Prepositional phrase Examples:-

  1. The cat is sleeping on the windowsill.
  2. They found a treasure under the old oak tree.
  3. We’ll meet you at 2 PM.
  4. The party starts on Friday night.
  5. They celebrate Christmas during the winter holidays.
  6. She walked toward the city center.
  7. The river flows into the lake.
  8. The bird flew over the mountains.
  9. She spoke in a soft voice.
  10. They danced with enthusiasm.
  11. The keys are in my sister’s purse.
  12. The book is of my favorite author.
  13. The house is belonging to the Smiths.
  14. They traveled to Europe for a cultural experience.

Preposition Examples Sentences:-

  1. She walked across (preposition of movement) the bridge to get to the other side.
  2. The book is on (preposition of location) the table.
  3. He’s been waiting for (preposition of time) his friend for over an hour.
  4. The cat jumped off (preposition of movement) the roof and landed gracefully.
  5. The museum is in (preposition of location) the heart of the city.
  6. They went camping by (preposition of location) the lake for the weekend.
  7. She lives above (preposition of location) the bakery on Main Street.
  8. The package was delivered to (preposition of direction) my doorstep this morning.
  9. The dog ran through (preposition of movement) the open field with excitement.
  10. He’s interested in (preposition of interest/connection) learning to play the piano.
  11. The meeting is scheduled for (preposition of purpose) 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
  12. They traveled along (preposition of movement) the coastline, enjoying the scenic views.
  13. The keys are under (preposition of location) the mat.
  14. The ballerina danced with (preposition of accompaniment) grace and elegance.
  15. We’re going to the mountains during (preposition of time) the winter break.
  16. The cat squeezed between (preposition of location) the narrow gap in the fence.
  17. The children built a sandcastle at (preposition of location) the beach.
  18. She’s been working here since (preposition of time) last year.
  19. The restaurant is beneath (preposition of location) the skyscraper.
  20. The store closes at (preposition of time) 9 PM every day.

Prepositions list with Examples:-

1.AtShe’s waiting at the bus stop.
2.In:The cat is sleeping in the basket.
3.OnThe book is on the table.
4.UnderThe keys are under the mat.
5.AboveThe bird is flying above the trees.
6.BelowThe temperature dropped below freezing.
7.BetweenShe sat between two friends at the concert.
8.BehindThe car is parked behind the building.
9.BesideThe park is beside the library.
10.In front ofThere’s a garden in front of the house.
11.Next toThe grocery store is next to the bank.
12.Across fromThe post office is across from the train station.
13.WithShe went to the party with her friends.
14.WithoutShe can’t imagine life without music.
15.ByThe book was written by a famous author.
16.ForThis gift is for you.
17.FromThe package arrived from Spain.
18.ToI’m going to the store.
19.ThroughThey walked through the forest.
20.AroundThe dog ran around the yard.
#prepositions list with examples

Over Preposition Examples:-

  1. The plane flew over the mountains.
  2. He leaned over the railing to get a better view.
  3. The bridge stretches over the river.
  4. The leaves formed a canopy over the path.
  5. We had a discussion over the phone about the upcoming project.
  6. The storm clouds loomed over the city, threatening rain.
  7. He threw the ball over the fence into the field.
  8. The bookshelf is leaning over slightly due to its weight.
  9. She ran over to catch the last train of the day.
  10. The teacher went over the lesson one more time before the test.

Fixed Preposition List:-

  1. Above: The stars are above the clouds.
  2. Across: The cat walked across the road.
  3. After: We’ll have lunch after the meeting.
  4. Against: He leaned against the wall.
  5. Along: They walked along the beach.
  6. Among: Her laughter echoed among the trees.
  7. Around: They sat around the campfire.
  8. At: She arrived at the airport.
  9. Before: Let’s finish this task before dinner.
  10. Behind: The keys are behind the door.
  11. Below: The fish swim below the surface.
  12. Beside: He stood beside his best friend.
  13. Between: The cat hid between the cushions.
  14. By: The book was written by the famous author.
  15. For: They bought a gift for their mother.
  16. From: She received a letter from her grandmother.
  17. In: The cat is hiding in the box.
  18. Inside: The company’s secrets are safe inside a secure vault.” 
  19. Into: The rabbit hopped into the hole.
  20. Near: The store is near the park.
  21. Of: The top of the mountain was covered in snow.
  22. Off: He fell off his bike.
  23. On: The book is on the table.
  24. Onto: The cat jumped onto the roof.
  25. Out: She walked out of the room.
  26. Outside: The kids played outside the house.
  27. Over: The plane flew over the city.
  28. Past: She walked past the bakery.
  29. Through: The water flows through the river.
  30. To: They went to the cinema.
  31. Toward: The ship sailed toward the horizon.
  32. Under: The cat is sleeping under the bed.
  33. Up: She climbed up the stairs.
  34. With: They went to the park with their friends.
  35. Within: The keys are within the drawer.

Preposition Exercises with Answers:-

Exercise 1: Choose the correct preposition for each sentence.

1. The cat jumped ___ the table.

Answer: onto

2. The concert is scheduled ___ 7 PM.

Answer: for

3. The keys are ___ the drawer.

Answer: in

4. She walked ___ the park and enjoyed the scenery.

Answer: through

5. They live ___ the house at the end of the street.

Answer: in

Exercise 2: Fill in the blanks with appropriate prepositions.

1. The book is ___ the shelf.

Answer: on

2. The bakery is ___ the corner of the street.

Answer: on

3. We usually go for a walk ___ the evening.

Answer: in

4. She’s been living in this city ___ three years.

Answer: for

5. The car is parked ___ front of the building.

Answer: in

Exercise 3: Identify the preposition in each sentence.

1. The train departed at midnight.

Answer: at

2. He’s been waiting for the bus for half an hour.

Answer: for

3. The kids played in the park all day.

Answer: in

4. They walked along the beach, collecting seashells.

Answer: along

5. The cat hid under the bed during the storm.

Answer: under

FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions) on Prepositions:-

1. What is a preposition?

A preposition is a linguistic element indicating the connection between a noun or pronoun and other components in a sentence. It usually indicates location, direction, time, or introduces a modifying phrase.

2. What are some common prepositions?

Common prepositions include “in,” “on,” “under,” “over,” “by,” “between,” “for,” “with,” “to,” “from,” and many more.

3. How do I choose the right preposition?

Choosing the right preposition depends on the context and the relationship between the words in the sentence. Study the meanings and uses of prepositions to make the correct choice.

4. Can a sentence have multiple prepositions?

Yes, a sentence can have multiple prepositions to indicate various relationships. For example: “The children chased butterflies through the meadow, over the hills, and around the trees.”

5. How can I improve my preposition usage?

Practice using prepositions in sentences, read extensively to see how they are used in context, and pay attention to phrasal verbs and common collocations.

6. What are phrasal verbs?

Phrasal verbs are combinations of verbs and prepositions (or adverbs) that often have unique meanings. For example, “bump into,” “outweigh,” “fill in the gaps.”

7. Can prepositions be used at the end of a sentence?

While it’s generally recommended to avoid ending sentences with prepositions in formal writing, it’s common and acceptable in everyday speech and informal writing.

8. What’s the difference between “in” and “into”?

“In” indicates location within a space, while “into” indicates movement or direction toward the inside of something. For example: “She sat in the corner of the cafe, sipping her coffee.” (location) vs. “He walked into the bustling city square, feeling overwhelmed by the noise and crowds.” (movement).

9. How can I remember prepositions?

Create associations or mnemonic devices to remember their meanings and usage. Practicing through exercises and using them in your writing and speaking will reinforce your memory.

10. Are prepositions the same in all languages?

Prepositions can vary between languages in terms of usage and meaning. Different languages might use different prepositions to express similar relationships.

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