Acoustic Post - Prepositions

By Priyanka Lath


  1. Define Preposition
  2. List of commonly used Prepositions
  3. Fun Facts
  4. Phrasal Preposition
  5. Prepositional Verb
  6. Rules
  7. Types

Define Preposition

Preposition in very basic terms refers to words used to establish a relationship between a noun or pronoun with other words in the sentence so that the meaning of the sentence could be comprehended.  Prepositions are also called linking words. They are short and small words in general.

 For example: The cat is in the box.

In shows the relationship of cat (noun) with the box.

Prepositions are often used to describe three things. They are:

  1. position of something


  • the cat is in the box
  • the cat is behind the tree
  1.  time of something happening


  • The interval will start at 9 a.m.
  • the movie will start in 5 minutes
  1. The way that something takes place


  • They travelled by plane
  • They reached here by car

List of some commonly used Prepositions

  • aboard
  • about
  • above
  • across
  • after
  • against
  • along
  • amid
  • among
  • anti
  • around
  • as
  • at
  • before
  • behind
  • below
  • beneath
  • beside
  • besides
  • between
  • beyond
  • but
  • by
  • concerning
  • considering
  • despite
  • down
  • during
  • except
  • excepting
  • excluding
  • following
  • for
  • from
  • in
  • inside
  • into
  • like
  • minus
  • near
  • of
  • off
  • on
  • onto
  • opposite
  • outside
  • over
  • past
  • per
  • plus
  • regarding
  • round
  • save
  • since
  • than
  • through
  • to
  • toward
  • towards
  • under
  • underneath
  • unlike
  • until
  • up
  • upon
  • versus
  • via
  • with
  • within
  • without

Fun Facts

There are few fun facts associated that very few knows:

  • There is a fixed set of words which we use as prepositions, no new addition to the existing set is made.
  • Prepositions cannot be plural, l possessive for anything else.
  • A single prepositional word has many contextual uses. Thus, it’s very confusing.
  • In rare cases, nouns and adjectives can be replaced by a preposition.

Phrasal Preposition

It is a combination of two or more words that act as a preposition.


  • in spite of
  • instead of
  • because of
  • on the side of
  • in between
  • on account of
  • on behalf of
  • by the way
  • along with
  • out of

Prepositional Verb

A preposition that follows a verb is called a prepositional verb.

The verb generally is in the Gerund form that is in the (ING)form but it can be just a normal verb as well.

Examples of Prepositional Verbs:

  • laugh at  
  • suffer from
  • agree with
  • consists of
  • worry about
  • charged with
  • approve of

Examples of  how it is used in a sentence:

  • The kids were knocking at the door.
  • She was laughing at me.
  • The government had no other choice of agreeing with the public.
  • She sent a box consisting of chocolates.


If we do not use prepositions in the right place in the sentence, the meaning of the sentence cannot be comprehended and at the same time, the sentence will be grammatically incorrect. The various rules you should focus on are as follows:

1. It’s an undying myth that prepositions are shrouded with is that they are always followed by a noun or a pronoun. It is a general phenomenon but it’s not necessarily always. 

2. In English grammar, you are taught that your sentence should not end with prepositions. I will explain with the following example where the sentence is correct even if you end it with the prepositions. The catch is that you should not use prepositions in the sentence if the sentence without it conveys the meaning. Just don’t fix it anywhere. 


  • Raghav is saying something that I cannot agree with (correct )
  • Raghav is somebody I can count on (correct)
  • Where did you get this necklace at? (incorrect )
  • Saturday you were not at home, where did you go to? (incorrect)

3. “Like” denotes similar to should be followed by the object of a noun or pronoun or a noun phrase but not by a verb and a subject. 

Tip: Refrain from using like when the verb is involved in a sentence.


  • you look like your brother. (correct)
  • you look like your brother does. (noun + verb) (incorrect)

Tip: In place of like you can use as, as if, as though, the way, following a verb.


  • you look the way your brother does. (correct)
  • you look like you are happy. (incorrect)
  • you look as if you are happy. (correct)
  • you look as though you are happy. (correct).

4. Like means similar.

As means in the similar manner that of.

Refrain  from using where there is no verb  involved in a sentence.

Reversely use as only where the verb is there in a sentence.


  •  This dress is like the dress one I saw yesterday. (correct)
  •  This dress is as the dress I saw yesterday. (incorrect)
  • This dress is as the one she was wearing yesterday. (correct)

5. Make sure you never use prepositions in place of the helping verb “have“.


  • I should have written it. (correct)
  • I should of written it. (incorrect)

6. Avoid using than with different.  Rather use from with the word different.


  • you are different than me. (acceptable)
  • you are different from me. (unchallengeable)

7. Use into to express motion towards something. Use in to tell the location.


  •  I walked into the garden.
  •  Throw the garbage into the dustbin.
  •  I will eat in the restaurant.
  •  I was walking in the garden.


On the basis of use in a particular context, the prepositions are divided into the following 5 types:

  1. For Time
  2. For Place
  3. For Direction
  4. For Agent
  5. For Devices, Machines, and Instruments.

Let’s delineate it one by one.

1. For Time

Prepositions like in, on, at are used to establish a relationship of a noun with other words in the sentence with respect to time of happening something.


  1. used to refer to a particular month or year.
    I was born in August.
    I went to India in 2013. I graduated in 2015.  
  1. used to mention a particular time of the day.
    Let’s meet in the evening.
    The show will broadcast in June.
  1. used to mention a specific time in the past or the future.
    I will graduate in 2022.
    In 1947, India got independence.


  1. used to mention a particular day.
    She will come on Sunday.
    I will go on Monday.
  1. used to mention a special day like birthdays, Independence Day, etc.
    India got independence on 15th August.
    My birthday is on the 20th of May.


  • used to mention a specified time.
    The class will start at 9 am.
    The park will close at 5 pm.

2. For Place

The same prepositions like in, on, at act as prepositions of place. Just placing them in the right place in the context of a sentence is the key.


  • used for a place where there is a physical or virtual boundary.
    I live in England.
    I was playing in the park.


  • used to mention things on the surface.
    The book is on the table.
    Kids spilled water on the table.


  • it mentions the specific place.
    I was waiting at the Railway station.
    The coin settled at the bottom of the glass.

3. For Direction

For direction, please follow rule number 7 mentioned under the rules. The various prepositions are: to into, towards, through.

Into, Towards

  • used to mention the motion towards something.
    Kids threw garbage into the dustbin.
    The frog was coming towards him.

In, To

  • used to describe a particular location.
    I was dining in the restaurant.
    The students went to the classroom.


  • used to describe feelings one is suffering from.
    Cancer is an ailment that causes one to go through lots of medical procedures.
    After her divorce, she went through a lot of stress.

4. For Agent

The various prepositions for agents are with, by. It describes the relationship between the doer (noun) and the action.

With, By

  • used to describe the relationship between the doer and the action. How it is done etc.
    I’m working with all my passion.
    The book was written by a new author.

5. For Instruments, Device, and Machines

The various prepositions for instruments are with the help of, with, by, on, etc.

On, By, With, With the help of

  • used for establishing a relationship between instruments, device (noun) to other words in the sentence.
    He is working on the computer.
    The thieves broke the wall with a hammer.
    She watered the plants with the help of a pipe.

One basic characteristic of prepositions is, they are highly contextual in nature which makes it super confusing. No matter how detailed a study you make, you can still go crazy with its concept. Sometimes even a scholar is clean bowled when it comes to proper use of prepositions. A concise and consistent effort to learn its tricks will help you master the skill. I hope this article will help you to understand the concept better.

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