Sunday, 08/05/2023


Prepositions are very common words. Seven of them are in the top 20 words in English. Prepositions link a word to another part of the sentence and tell us what the relationship is, for example in space or time.

What is a Preposition?

preposition (noun): a part-of-speech usually coming BEFORE a noun phrase and connecting it to another part of the sentence

A preposition is one of the nine parts of speech.

The name preposition (pre + position) means "place BEFORE". A preposition typically comes BEFORE another word—usually a noun phrase. It tells us about the relationship between the noun phrase and another part of the sentence. Some very common prepositions are: in, of, on, for, with, at, by

Look at these example sentences:

  • The book is on the round table. (relationship in space)
  • We will meet in November. (relationship in time)
  • I sent the information by email. (relationship of method)

Several other relationships are expressed by prepositions. In addition, more metaphorical ideas can be expressed such as: in love, beyond doubt, under investigation

If a preposition does not come BEFORE another word, it is still closely linked to another word: 

  • Who did you talk to?
  • To whom did you talk?
  • I talked to Jane.

Prepositions have no particular form. The majority of prepositions are single words, but some are two- or three-word phrases:

  • one-word prepositions (before, into, on)
  • complex prepositions (according to, but for, in spite of)

When we say that a preposition comes before a noun phrase, we include:

  • noun phrase (the tall man)
  • noun (rice)
  • pronoun (them)
  • gerund (verb in -ing form: fishing)


Preposition List

There are about 150 prepositions in English. Yet this is a very small number when you think of the thousands of other words (nouns, verbs etc). Prepositions are important words. We use individual prepositions more frequently than other individual words. In fact, the prepositions oftoand in are among the ten most frequent words in English. Here is a short list of 70 of the more common one-word prepositions. Many of these prepositions have more than one meaning. Please refer to a dictionary for precise meaning and usage.

  • 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

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