How to make proper use of preposition?

Here’s how you understand how to make proper use of preposition.

Is Preposition and it uses confusing for you????


A preposition is a word which is used to link nouns and pronouns or phrases to other words within a sentence.

Prepositions often act to connect the people, objects, time and locations of a sentence.  How to make proper use of preposition?

Prepositions are naturally placed directly in front of nouns. In some cases, you may find prepositions in front of gerund verbs as well.

A comfortable way to understand prepositions is as the words that help to stick a sentence together. They do this by expressing a position, movement, possession, time and how an action is completed in a sentence.

Some of the most frequently used words in all of the English language, such as of, to, for, with, on and at, are prepositions.

 Look, Explaining prepositions can seem complicated, but they are a common part of language undoubtedly and most of us use them often without even thinking about it.

It’s interesting to know that prepositions are regarded as a ‘closed class’ of words in the English language. It means, unlike verbs and nouns, no new words are added to this group over time.


There are two rules to know when using prepositions. Understanding Prepositions and using them correctly in sentences takes practice.

  • The first rule is that to give sentences clear meaning, specific prepositions are required.

     For example,

         The preposition in means one thing and the preposition on cannot substitute for it in all cases because their sense is different altogether. 

I want to see you in the house now, Ram! means something entirely different from I want to see you on the house now, Ram!

        In the house means Ram should go through the door, walk inside the house. On the house means Ram would need to get a ladder and climb to the roof where he would be on top of that very house.

  • The second rule is that prepositions are mostly followed by nouns or pronouns in a sentence. Like – He is seeking someone He can depend on ends with the preposition on.
  • It’s a fact that there are more than 105 prepositions in the English language. In addition to this, there are endless possibilities for creating prepositional phrases as well, phrases that begin with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun.  

Some examples of Prepositions

As you read the examples below, observe how using different prepositions or even different types of prepositions in place of the examples might change the relationship between the rest of the words in the sentence.

  • I prefer to read in the school library.
  • He climbed up the ladder to get onto the first floor.
  • Please sign your name on the dotted line after you read the terms and conditions.
  • Go down the stairs and through the right gate.
  • He swam across the river.
  • Take your sister with you.

Types of Prepositions

There are three types of prepositions, which includes time prepositions, place prepositions, and direction prepositions.

Time Prepositions are those prepositions such as before, after, during, and until.

Place Prepositions are those which indicate position, such as around, between, and against. Direction prepositions are those that indicate a direction, such as across, up, and down.

Type of Prepositions

Prepositions of Time

The basic examples of time prepositions are: at, on, in, before and after. They are used to indicate something happened, happens or will happen.

For example:

  • I was born on July 5th, 1982.
  • I was born in 1983.
  • I was born at exactly 3 am.
  • I was born two minutes after my twin sister.
  • I was born before the Great War ended.

Below is a set of guidelines that can help decide which preposition to use:

  1. In case of years, months, seasons, centuries and times of day, use the preposition in:
  • I first met Ram in 1987.
  • It’s always cold in December.
  • The Easter falls in spring each year.
  • The First World War occurred in the 20th century.
  • We eat lunch in the afternoon.
  1. In case of days, dates and specific holiday days, use the preposition on.
  • We go to school on Tuesdays, but not on Sunday
  • Diwali is on October 25th.
  • Buy me a present on my anniversary.

  • In case of times, indicators of exception and festivals, use the preposition at: Families often argue at festival time.
  • He works faster at night.
  • Her shift finished at 8pm.
  • Before I discovered this bar, I used to go straight to the park after work.
  • We will not leave before 3 pm.
  • Ram comes before Bryan in the line, but after Shyam.

Some other prepositions of time could include: During, about, around, until and throughout.

  • The concert will be staged throughout the month of March.
  • I learned how to ski during the summer holidays.
  • He usually arrives around 5pm.
  • It was about seven in the morning when we made it to bed.
  • The store is open until mid-day.

Prepositions of Place

It’s important to note that the most common prepositions to indicate time – on, at, in – are the most common prepositions to indicate position as well. However, the rules are a bit clearer as place prepositions are a more rigid concept than time prepositions in use.

For examples:

  • The dog is on the table.
  • The cats are in the kennel.
  • They can meet at the crossroads.

The concept can be understood as follows:

On is used in a sentence when we referring to something with a surface:

  • The painting hangs on the wall.
  • The pictures are on the page.
  • The dishes are on the menu, which is on the chair.

In is used in a sentence when we are referring to something that is inside or within confined boundaries. This could be anything, even a whole country:

  1. Ram is in India, visiting his aunt in the hospital.
  2. The jam is in the jar in the fridge.
  3. The children play in the garden.

And At is used when we are referring to something at a specific point:

  1. The girls are at the entrance at the movie theatre.
  2. He stood at the street at the corner of Water and High streets.
  3. We will meet at the bus stop.

Other prepositions of place, for example – under, over, inside, outside, above and below are used in sentences.

  • The cat is under the table.
  • Put the sandwich over there.
  • The key is locked inside the car.
  • They stepped outside the house.
  • Major is ranked above corporal.

Prepositions of Movement

Prepositions of movement easier to understand as they are less abstract than prepositions of place and time. Prepositions of Movement describe how something or someone moves from one place to another. The most commonly used preposition of movement is to, which highlight that there is movement of something towards a specific destination.

  • He has gone on vacation to Italy.
  • She went to Rachi every Friday last summer.
  • I will go to my bed room when I am tired.
  • They will go to the planetarium if they finish their errands.

Other prepositions of movement include: through, across, off, down and into. These prepositions may sometimes get mixed up with others as well. While they are similar, they have individual meanings that add context to the movement.

Across highlights to moving from one side to another.

  • Ram travelled across America on his motorcycle.
  • Shyam and Sohan are swimming across the lake.

Through highlights to moving directly inside something and out the other end.

  • The bullet Ram shot went through the window.
  • The metro passes through the tunnel.

Into highlights to entering or looking inside something.

  • Ram went into the room.
  • You stare into the darkness.

Up, over, down, past and around highlight directions of movement:

  1. Ram went up the hill.
  2. Shyam came tumbling down after.
  3. You will travel over rough terrain on our way to Grandma’s house.
  4. The dog runs around the track all morning.

A bus zoomed past a truck on the highway.

Prepositions are often given lesser importance in comparison to the other parts of grammar.

However, as stated earlier, it’s one of the most important parts of the English Language. This content helps you in understanding how to make proper use of preposition quite well. Under Online English Speaking Course, you get to know the grammar stuffs like this in a better way guided by our English Experts. EngConvo stands proudly in the queue having co-operative experts and its innovative approach in English Language learning.

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