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Prepositions are definitely one of the most important components of English grammar. That being said if your aim is to perfect your English, then you must know their correct usage. They can be confusing at first but once you get the gist of them, you will never get even a single preposition wrong. So, let’s get to it and understand what prepositions are and how they are used. 

Quiz Your Inner Grammar Nazi With this Grammar Test

What are Prepositions?

Prepositions are those words which are placed before a noun or a noun equivalent (pronoun, adverb, etc) to show a relationship between that noun/pronoun and some other word in the sentence. This relationship that prepositions hint on could be about time, place, direction etc. These words are called prepositions because they are always placed/positioned before(pre) a noun/noun equivalent.  

Examples of a Prepositions

  1. I’ll meet you in the park next to the theatre. 
  2. I have not seen him since yesterday. 

In the above-given statements, the used prepositions are “next to” and “since”. As you can see, they are used to emphasise on a relationship between the noun/noun equivalent and the other words. In the first statement, “next to” denotes position and in the second statement,s “since” denotes time. 

Types of Prepositions

Let’s explore the main types of Prepositions in English grammar:

Prepositions of Time

The prepositions of time are those which indicate time. Few of the most commonly used examples for this type are before, after, during, in, on, etc.


  1. India got independence on 15th August 1947. 
  2. Try to come home before it starts raining. 
  3. During World War I, many civilians lost their lives

Prepositions of Place

As the name suggests, the Prepositions of time are those which indicate a place/position. The most commonly used examples of these are on, at, in, under, behind, outside,etc. 


  1. Meet me at the cafeteria next to the station. 
  2. Place the book on the table. 
  3. Jack is in a meeting now. 
  4. As a punishment, the student was asked to stand outside the classroom.

Also Read: Best English Grammar Books

Prepositions of Movement

The prepositions of movement are those prepositions which indicate some movement. The most common examples denoting movement are to, across, through, over, past, down, etc.


  1. I am moving to Tokyo next year. 
  2. After the crash, the car fell across the next street. 
  3. You need to go through the garden to enter the auditorium. 

Prepositions of Manner

The prepositions of manner are those which indicate the way or the means through which something is done. The most commonly used examples of these are by, with, like, etc. 


  1. I like to travel by car. 
  2. Always draw with a pencil. 
  3. After Riya and Disha fought, they started acting like strangers. 

Prepositions of Agent

Prepositions of agent are those which indicate the agent who has committed any action. Some most common examples of these are with and by. 


  1. Harry Potter was written by J.K. Rowling
  2. Jacob used to go to school every day with his brother. 

Prepositions of Measure

Prepositions of measure are those which indicate some quantity. The most commonly used examples of these are of and by. 


  1. A big section of the Indian population is still dependent on agriculture for survival. 
  2. The bookshops in daryaganj sell books by the kilo. 

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Prepositions of Source

The prepositions of source are those which indicate the source of something. The most commonly used examples of these are by and from. 


  1. I received this book as a Christmas present from my brother. 
  2. This painting was made by a famous British painter. 

Prepositions of Possession

The prepositions of possession are those which indicate ownership. The most common examples of prep. of possession are with, to and of. 


  1. This blue umbrella belongs to Miss Rekha. 
  2. Who is that person with the black suitcase?
  3. David is the owner of this house. 

So, from what we have seen there are some prepositions which change their type depending on the way they are used like “in” which is both a prep. of time and place. Here are two more categories you must know:

  1. Single Word Prepositions – As the name suggests, these are just one world long like on, in, under, above, etc. 
  2. Complex Prepositions – Complex prepositions are those which are not one but two or more word phrases like on account of, along with, apart from, in spite of, etc. 

Simple Prepositions

Words that are used to describe space, time & location & determining the relation between nouns & pronouns. Examples of simple prepositions are on, over, at, under, by, for, in, off,  over, and under.

  • She lost her ring in the pool.
  • We are running in the park today.
  • I live near her office.

Compound Prepositions

When two prepositions are combined to form a single word are called compound prepositions. Example – above, across, inside, within, beyond.

  • He likes to play inside.
  • Her apartment is just above mine.
  • He lives across the street.

Phrasal & Group Prepositions

When grouped in phrases including adverbs, verbs by combining two or three words. Example – in addition to, in order to, away from, in reference to, as long as.

  • In order to be eligible for the entrance exam, students must score 55% in class 12.
  • He lives 10 km away from the airport.
  • They waste a lot of time selecting the game instead of playing.

Participle Prepositions

Present participle used without nouns or pronouns are knows as participle Prepositions. Examples – Pending, considering, regarding, including.

  • I have to complete yesterday’s pending work first.
  • She hasn’t lost any weight considering her diet & work out routine
  • All team members are scheduled for the meeting including the interns.

What is the Object of a Preposition?

The noun or noun equivalent before which the preposition is placed is called the object of the preposition (OP). 


  1. The mask is on the table. (In this example, the noun table is the OP.)
  2. She is dependent on him for everything. (In this example the pronoun him is the OP.)

Here is the Complete List of Modals with Examples!


Here are some important rules regarding the use of prepositions:

Rule 1

When a relative pronoun is used in a statement, the prepositions can be placed at the end of that sentence. 

  1. Here is the book that you were looking for
  2. This is the person whom I wanted to introduce you to
preposition rule 1
Preposition Rule 1

Rule 2

In case of an interrogative sentence, a preposition could be placed at the beginning. 

  1. In which country do you parents live?
  2. To whom were you talking on the phone?
preposition rule 2
Preposition Rule 2

Rule 3

There are some words which can be used as both prepositions (P) and adverbs (A) like across, before, along, behind, besides, etc. 

  1. Before

P: Try to come home before it starts raining. 
A: He has never done skydiving before

  1. Across

P: She threw the ball across the room. 
A: This river has no bridge, we have no option but to swim across

preposition rule 3
Preposition Rule 3

Rule 4

On v/s upon

On is used to talk about things at rest whereas, upon is used to talk about things in motion.

  1. Alina sat to rest on a roadside bench. 
  2. The dog sprang upon the running cat. 
preposition rule 4
Preposition Rule 4

Rule 5

A preposition will always have an object. 

  1. I’ll meet you after a month. 
  2. Here is the pen that you were looking for
preposition rule 5
Preposition Rule 5


  1. Adya went to Tokyo (at/in) the age of 3. 
  2. You will receive the payment (within/during) 20 days of joining. 
  3. In the absence of professional experience, you will be (in/at) a disadvantage here. 
  4. I have not seen her (for/since) the last six months. 
  5. You must travel by the train to reach (on/in) time. 
  6. I have been going to this cafeteria (for/since) a long time. 
  7. He is struggling (with/from) a heartbreak.
  8. We drove (along/through) the coastline Flores..


  1. At
  2. Within
  3. At
  4. For
  5. On
  6. For
  7. From
  8. Along

Practice Questions on Prepositions

  1. My mother will be here ____  (within/for) a week.
  2. Take this home remedy & you will get rid___ (of/with) fever.
  3. It gives me immense pleasure in welcoming you______ (Aboard/ to)
  4. He wanted to go out ___  (for/to ) ice cream after lunch.
  5. The result ____ (of/for)  kavya will come around 2 week of march.
  6. There are total 15 students _____ (in/for) maths class.
  7. She comes to office _____ (by/in) her car.
  8. Students have to go ______ (through/within) the whole process before applying.
  9. There is a cockroach _______ (under/over) my bed.
  10. The pen is ____ (on/of) the table


  1. Within 
  2. Of
  3. Aboard
  4. For
  5. Of
  6. In
  7. By
  8. Through
  9. Under
  10. On


What is the difference between simple and compound prepositions?

Simple prepositions determine the relationship between nouns & pronouns, while compound prepositions are formed by combining two.

When is a preposition used at the end of a sentence?

When there is a relative pronoun used in the sentence, prepositions are used at the end of the sentence.

When is a preposition used at the beginning of a sentence?

In interrogative sentences, prepositions are used at the beginning of a sentence.

What is the difference between prepositions of time & place?

The preposition that indicates time are prepositions of time & prepositions that indicate place are prepositions of place. Example of prepositions of time, I will be home before Christmas. Example of prepositions of place- Meet me in the cafe before you leave for home.

What are some examples of simple prepositions?

Single words like on, in, under, above are its examples.

I got this dress from my sister for this Christmas, What kind of preposition is used in this sentence? 

The preposition of the source is present in this statement. It indicates that she received that dress from the source i.e. her sister.

Thus, we hope that this blog provided you with a comprehensive guide on English prepositions. Gearing up for English proficiency exams like IELTS or TOEFL? Sign up for a demo session with our Leverage Live experts and we will help you plan the right exam strategy and equip you with the best study materials, resources and mentorship you need to achieve your target score!

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