Learning the prepositions in English can be a little different because, although there are some rules to use them. The majority of preposition usage relies on fixed expressions. You might find it challenging, but GlobalExam can help facilitate it.

So, in this article you will learn:

  • The meaning and types of prepositions;
  • What are prepositions and how to use them?
  • Nouns and prepositions;
  • Verbs and prepositions;
  • Adjectives and prepositions;
  • Unnecessary prepositions in our daily life;
  • Is it correct to end a sentence with a preposition?
  • Learn mandatory english grammar rules with GlobalExam.

Let’s begin!

Test My Level For Free

Dedicated grammar sheets for revising every aspect of English grammar  specific to any English exams such as the IELTSTOEICTOEFLCAEFCEBRIDGEBULATS (Linguaskill) or even BRIGHT ENGLISH. Indeed, we have gathered a complete list of grammar worksheets on numerous topics:

What Is The Meaning Of A Preposition And The Types?

The preposition is a word that connects a noun or pronoun to other words to express a specific relationship. They are necessary for almost every sentence in the English language, and there are many, including of, in, on, at, for, with, by, onto, about, etc.

There are six types of prepositions:

Prepositions of Time

Prepositions of Direction

Prepositions of Place

Prepositions of Instruments

Prepositions of Agents

Prepositional Phrases

In English, there are many nouns, verbs, and adjectives that are followed by one specific preposition. In the case of verbs + prepositions, this is different from phrasal verbs where a verb can be followed by a number of different complex prepositions or adverbs which may change the original meaning of the verb. Phrasal verbs are discussed on another grammar information page.

man reading a book

Prepositions Of Time: What Are They And How To Use Them?

The preposition of time allows you to express a specific time period like dates on the calendar, days, and the actual time. You can easily determine the propositions of time as they always discuss times, and never places.

However, there are a few words that express dates but should NEVER have a preposition of time, and they are called No Preposition.

The Preposition
When To Use
Examples
InTo discuss seasons, months, years, centuries, and long periods of time.
  • In July, we will go camping.
  • We got married in 2000.
  • People were different in the stone age.
AtTo discuss clock times, festivals, holidays, and other specific time frames.
  • I have school at 10 AM.
  • I will see you at Christmas.
  • I like to drink at sunset.
OnTo discuss days or portions of days of the week, special days (like New Year's Day), and specific dates.
  • I will be free on Sunday.
  • I have a meeting on January 6.
  • I can’t wait to meet everyone on my birthday.
ForTo discuss a period of time.
  • I have been working for 10 hours.
  • I need to travel for 2 weeks.
Sinceto refer to a specific point in time.
  • I haven’t eaten since this morning.
  • I have lived here since 1996.
No prepositionSome words that express time don’t need any preposition, like Yesterday, Tonight, Tomorrow, This week, Last night, Last week, Every day, Every night, Next year, etc.
  • I went to the movies Last Night.
  • I will meet you Tomorrow.
  • I will travel This Week.
  • I will get married Next Year.

Prepositions Of Place: at, on, and in

The prepositions of place allow you to express WHERE things are.

The Preposition
When To Use
Examples
InTo discuss inside.
  • I watch TV in the living room.
  • Your brother is in the car.
  • The best school in the country.
  • I live in Paris.
AtTo discuss a specific point or where you do something exactly.
  • I am waiting at the bus stop.
  • He is sitting at the table.
  • I meet them at the movies.
OnTo discuss the surface of someplace.
  • The bug is standing on the wall.
  • Your phone is on the table.
  • Read what’s on the menu.

Preposition Of Movement: How To Use Them?

The prepositions of movement allow you to show movement or direction from one place to another. They are often used after verbs of motion in sentences.

However, there are some words that you should never use prepositions with when describing movement, like upstairs, outside, inside, etc. An example of list of prepositions:

  • ‘I am going to upstairs’ is not correct.
  • ‘I am going upstairs’ is correct.

And

  • ‘The race starts from downtown’ is not correct.
  • ‘The race starts downtown’ is correct.
The Preposition
When To Use
Examples
ToTo indicate a direction or destination.
  • I am going to my room.
  • You can’t drive to the beach today.
  • She is heading to the restaurant.
FromTo discuss when something starts.
  • The flight is coming from China.
  • I ran from work to here.
  • He is from Italy.
ThroughTo discuss a movement from one side to another.
  • She is walking through the crowds.
  • The river flows through Boston.
  • Bugs can go through walls.
IntoTo discuss a movement that enters a space.
  • Look straight into my eyes.
  • The car crashed into a wall.
  • Don’t pour water into this bottle.
OverTo discuss a movement that goes higher than something else.
  • I jumped over the wall.
  • The ball went over the fence.
  • Put the wire over the office.
UpTo discuss a movement to a higher position.
  • The house is up the hill.
  • I climbed up on the mountain.
DownTo discuss a movement to a lower position.
  • You should go down the hill.
  • Let’s put these items down the stairs.

NOUNS And PREPOSITIONS: How Does It Work?

There are many nouns in the English language that need to be followed by prepositions in order to give a precise meaning. Reading English books/novels will help save the majority of them automatically in your mind, which will allow you to spot those prepositions easily with time and even use them. Here are a few examples:

  • I have the solution to your problem.
  • You should have some respect for the elders.
  • The employees have the responsibility for the office’s hygiene.

This following table includes the most common nouns and their prepositions:

TOFORWITHON, IN/OF
an alternative toa demand fora contrast withan agreement on
an introduction toa substitute forsome dealings witha ban on
a solution tosome responsibility fora relationship witha tax on
some damage toa need forsome involvement witha constraint
some resistance toa bid forsome sympathy witha curb on
a threat tosome respect for
a reference toan exception foran increase in,off
a fall in, of

Of course, there are more that exist, but if you learn these, that’s a very good beginning! Words which refer to increases and decreases can be followed by ‘in’ or ‘of’. ‘In’ refers to something that has gone up or down; ‘of’ refers to a quantity or amount.

  • There has been a large increase in unemployment since the beginning of the crisis.
  • There has been an increase of about 40%.

VERBS And PREPOSITIONS: What To Do?

In the English language, there are many prepositions that follow verbs, and the meaning of these two classes of words together is often very similar to the meaning of the verb alone. However, it makes the meaning more precise and specific. For example:

  • You are allowed to worry = this phrase gives a general meaning.
  • You are allowed to worry about your kids = this phrase is more specific.

You will find a list to the most common prepositional verbs in the following list:

TOFORWITHOF
to amount toto apologize forto sympathize withto consist of
to refer toto opt forto comply with
to object toto account forto associate with
to lead toto pay forto supply with
to relate toto aim for, atto agree with,on
FROMINONABOUT
to stem fromto result into rely onto complain about
to profit fromto succeed into bet on
to benefit fromto invest into concentrate on
to depend on

Here are some example sentences:

  • The new product fully complies with European safety standards.
  • We do not rely on rail transport, so our delivery will not be affected by the strike.
  • The goods must be paid for no later than 60 days after receipt.
  • She succeeded in passing her TOEIC with flying colors!

Other rules to remember when using a verb and a preposition

Some verbs can be followed by an object and a preposition:

FROMFORWITH
to borrow something fromto ask someone forto provide someone with
to protect someone fromto thank someone forto supply someone with
ONINTOAGAINST
to congratulate someone onto divide something intoto insure something against
to spend something on

Example sentences:

  • The couple borrowed money from the bank to buy their new house.
  • Don’t forget to thank him for offering to drive you to the airport.
  • She asked him for a raise.

There are also verbs that don’t take prepositions (whereas in French, they do!):

to phone someoneto discuss something
to enterto ask someone something
to answerto tell someone something

Example sentences:

  • I’ll phone the company tomorrow morning.
  • They met to discuss the new smoking ban.
  • She entered the room very quietly.
  • He always asks his boss a lot of questions.
  • His boss always patiently answers him.
  • They told the unions that they wouldn’t sign the agreement.

ADJECTIVES + PREPOSITIONS: What Is The Form?

You can find some adjectives followed by prepositions sometimes, and so you know, there are no grammatical rules when it comes to which adjective goes with which preposition. Therefore, it’s best to learn them together by strengthening your vocabulary. Here are a few examples:

  • She is still afraid of the dark.
  • I am terrible at organizing my time.
  • My wife is allergic to nuts.
  • You should be excited about your new job.

You will find a list of the most common adjectives + preposition in the following table:

WITHTOOF & FORON & IN
satisfied withacceptable torepresentative ofintent on
familiar withaccustomed toguilty ofreliant on
compatible withalternative tocapable offocused on
pleased withvulnerable toaware ofdependent on
filled withessential to
contingent toto ask someone forinterested in
opposed toto thank someone forlacking in
parallel toinvolved in

Example sentences:

  • Let me know if you would be interested in meeting with me. (The preposition ‘in’ is followed by a gerund).
  • He is intent on finding the best deal even if he has to shop around.
  • I’m not aware of anyone who knows how to cook as well as I do.

To remember all these different prepositions you need to memorize and read as much as possible in English. When you notice a verb/noun/adjective + preposition combination, take note of it and add it to your own personal lists.

Examples Of Unnecessary Prepositions In Daily Speeches

Unnecessary prepositions often appear in everyday speech or by advanced English learners. They follow some active verbs, nouns, or pronouns. It is not a problem for these prepositions to be used, but it is best to eliminate them completely when writing/speaking in formal, academic prose. Here are a few examples of unnecessary prepositions:

  • Where did the kids go to?
  • The phone fell off of the table.
  • Where is your house at?
  • Don’t let the cat inside of the house.

Is It Correct To End A Sentence With A Preposition?

You can end your sentences with a preposition. In fact, there are many cases when a sentence will not make sense without a preposition. To make it easier for you, we will give you a little guide to help you distinguish when to do it and when to never do it.

Don’t end a sentence with a preposition

In formal writing: Grammatically speaking, it is not an error to end a sentence with a preposition, but it will make your sentence less formal.

  • Which website was your work published in? Casual.
  • On which website was your work published? Formal.

End a sentence with a preposition

Informal writing/conversation: You can use the preposition at the end of your sentence, which will help it flow more smoothly. Unless you want to impress your friends with your flawless, precise sentence construction, it’s best to stick to the prepositions.

  • What are you waiting for?
  • This is what I was telling you about.
  • That outfit is just to die for.
  • This is the person I was talking to.

Learn Mandatory Grammar Rules Online With GlobalExam

You can be confused and at a loss when learning the mandatory English rules for the first time, but with the right tools and ongoing motivation, you will find yourself mastering this new language in no time.

GlobalExam offers everything you need to become an english speaker. It is the first platform that is 100% dedicated to teaching English (and 16 other languages) and helping candidates get great scores on international language tests. It includes TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC, DELF, and more tests. Regardless of your current language proficiency, GlobalExam will provide the right lessons, exercises, and mock exams for guaranteed great results.

Don’t wait any longer! Join us today.

Test My Level For Free