What’s a preposition?

No doubt you’ve come across prepositions before, they’re one of the eight parts of speech. However, remembering all of them could be such a drag, even if you’re a native English speaker. To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a preposition list and preposition examples for you to use and practice.

Prepositions, in short, are the words used to link nouns, pronouns and phrases of words in a sentence. They’re connector words that indicates the relationships between a noun or a pronoun and the rest of the sentence.

Example: “Jerry went TO the mall.”

In the example, the preposition ‘TO’ describes Jerry (Noun) and his role in the sentence. The point of this preposition list is to help you familiarize with the different prepositions out there and how to use them.

Prepositions are one of the most common used words in the entire English language. In fact, words like of, to and in are among the top 10 most frequently used words in the English language.

Common prepositions and their uses

Here is a list of the most common preposition. There is an example for how they’re used as a preposition of time as well as a preposition of space.

Common prepositions Preposition of Time Preposition of Space Other Examples
Aboard   They’re aboard the ship.  
About He’s about to finish his work. The next city is about five miles away.  
Above   The bat flew above the cave.  
According To     According to this map, we’re going the right way.
Across   He threw the ball across the field.  
After It gets dark quick after 5 p.m.    
Against   She’s standing against the fence. The people revolted against their government.
Ahead of We finished our work ahead of time. The man went ahead of the crowd. We’re way ahead of you in terms of progress.
xAlong   She walked along the river. My brother came along.
Alongside     She was sitting alongside him.
Amid A lot of people were injured amidst the disaster. There’s a big rat amid the hamsters.  
Among   Among the many children, few were able to pass. Jerry is popular among her peers.
Anti     She is completely anti-meat, she hates the taste of it.
Around Let’s meet around 4 p.m. We’re playing around the park. He’s just fooling around.
As     He worked as my boss in my first job.
As far as   He threw the ball as far as a mile.  
At Let’s meet at 3:30 p.m. He’s at the library.  
Because of     She cried because of her low score.
Before We always finish our work before sunset. He stood before the judge and court.  
Behind We’re five minutes behind schedule. The squirrel hid behind the tree.  
Below   The people below cheered for their hero.  
Beneath   The earth beneath the city shook for hours.  
Beside   The kind old man sat beside me. She was beside herself with fury.
Besides     Besides his mom’s cooking, he hates all food.
Between She eats her snacks between meals. The pretty girl sat between the two popular boys  
Beyond She sang into the night and beyond. Drake swam beyond the shallow end. Tiffany changed beyond my expectations.
But     He ate nothing but peanut butter and jelly.
By Come back home by ten. I walked by the river. He rode the train by himself.
Concerning     He has a problem concerning my family’s situation.
Considering     Considering he’s 12, he’s smart.
Contrary to     Romeo and Juliet fell in love contrary to their family feud.
Despite     Despite the good weather, everyone stayed home.
Down   He walked down the alleyway. I’m down for some tacos.
During Dad works during the day.    
Except     I work everyday except Sunday.
Excepting     Excepting some criminals, the people are innocent.
Excluding     Excluding Timothy, we have five people.
Following The police became more alert following the recent murder.    
For     Broccoli is good for you.
From The show runs from 12 till 3. She ran away from her boyfriend. He’s suffering from cancer.
In She came in time for the show. My dog is in its house sleeping. He’s interested in the girl next door.
In front of   Tom was in front of the station all day.  
Inside   Come inside the house.  
Instead of     Sally went to the concert instead of me.
Into   The ball flew into the lake. The peaceful rally turned into a violent protest.
Like     He looks like my cousin.
Minus     I had a perfect score, minus the trick question.
Near Our imminent fate draws near. She sat the near swimming pool.  
Next   He’s next to the school.  
Of     Here’s a cup of water.
Off   He got off the train.  
On   The stapler is on the table. The news is on TV.
On account of     He had to quit on account of his sickness.
On top of   There’s a bell on top of the building. Stay on top of your work.
Onto   The cat jumped onto the tree. He’s onto his next project.
Opposite   They sat opposite of each other. The actor played opposite of the main heroine.
Out   The hamster fell out the window. The lights are out.
Out of   The man flew out of the building. I’m out of money.
Outside   Some kids left their bikes outside the store.  
Over My coworker explained over lunch break. The horse jumped over the fence. It’s over 20 degrees out here.
Past It’s already past 9 p.m. He drove past the courtyard. I’m past trying to convince him.
Per     He charges 10 dollars per box of apples.
Plus     He ate a hamburger plus fries.
Regarding     I’ve looked at your letter regarding your proposal
Round She’s coming round 5. Everyone went round the table.  
Save     No one needs to know save herself.
Since I haven’t been to the party since 4 years ago.    
Than     That man is faster than me.
Through He struggled through the difficult times. He drove through the tunnel. She went through all the documents in minutes.
To It’s ten to five. He went to the park. He was smashed to smithereens.
Toward Toward the end of may. He ran toward the finish line. My cat was hostile toward my girlfriend.
Towards Towards winter, the night gets dark earlier. Our seats faced towards the theater. She showed mercy towards her enemies.
Under Finish your work under the time limit. My bag was under the desk. The country is under the king’s rule.
Underneath   The monster growled underneath the bed. You look calm, but I know you’re terrified underneath.
Unlike     It’s unlike you to be quiet.
Until We didn’t arrive at our place until midnight. You can walk until you reach the library.  
Up   He went up the stairs. It’s up to you to decide.
Upon The end times are upon us! He placed a crown upon her head.  
Versus     World war 2 was about the allies versus the axis.
Via     You can send me your work via E-mail.
With     Kate is always with her best friend.
Within We have to finish peeling the potatoes within the next hour. Everyone is within 2 meters of the nearest exit. I am acting within the law.
Without     You won’t be able to see him without his phone.

Common Misconceptions of Prepositions

There are some words in the English language that may seem like prepositions but aren’t. We’re here to clarify what’s a preposition and which isn’t.

Is the word ‘THE’ a preposition?

One of the most common misconceptions in the English language surrounds the word ‘THE’. Considered the most frequently used word in the English language, the word ‘THE’ is used very often in everyday speech. However, is the word THE a preposition?

To answer the question, no it isn’t. It’s a determiner. To be precise, it’s a definite article. You’ll want to check out the article regarding determiners to truly understand how THE is used in a sentence.

Is the word ‘AND’ a preposition?

Is the word AND a preposition? No, it is not. It is a conjunction, a word that connects words, sentences, and clauses. The function of ‘AND’ is to introduce an additional comment or interjection in a sentence. You can read up on how to use them in our conjunctions page.

Is the word ‘IT’ a preposition?

If you haven’t studied grammar before, it may be a bit difficult to understand which specific words prepositions. However, if you’re wondering if the word IT is a preposition, then the answer is no. The word IT is in fact a pronoun.

IT is used in the beginning or at the end of a sentence as part of a subject or object. To get a better understanding of how to use IT, you’ll want to take a look at our pronoun page.

Is the word ‘IF’ a preposition?

Is the word IF a preposition? No, the word IF is a conjunction that is used in conditional sentences. The word IF has many different meanings, but none of which are used as a preposition. The best way to learn about prepositions would be to read up about them on the Verbs page, under conditional sentences.

Is the word ‘THROUGH’ a preposition?

Yes, the word THROUGH is indeed a preposition. You’ll be able to see the example of how it is used in a sentence from the list above. The word THROUGH can be used in several other situations, you’ll be able to read up on how to use it properly by taking a look at prepositions.

Is the word ‘DURING’ a preposition?

Yes, the word DURING is a preposition. It is a preposition of time, the purpose of during is to describe the course of the duration of an action or event. There are several ways to use DURING, so it’ll be a good idea to review prepositions and practice using them in a sentence.

Is the word ‘UNDER’ a preposition?

Yes, the word UNDER is a preposition. UNDER is a very versatile word that can be used as a preposition of Time or Space. For example, the cat is hiding UNDER the rug. This sentence describes the subject (the cat) and its relationship with the rest of the sentence (hiding under the rug). The examples of how it is used can be found on the list above.

Is the word ‘SO’ a preposition?

No, the word SO is not a preposition. It can either be a conjunction or an adverb. As a conjunction, the word ‘SO’ can link two sentences or clauses together.

For example: “I came late to the party, so I missed the big surprise.”

In this sentence, the word SO links two clauses together to join two situations and create a complete idea. As an adverb, the word SO can be used to amplify or strengthen the following verb.

For example: “He ate so fast!”

This sentence shows how the word SO describe the speed at which the subject did something.

Is the word ‘BETWEEN’ a preposition?

Yes, the word BETWEEN is a preposition. It can be used as a preposition of space which describes the location of something that lies in the middle of two different other objects.

For example: “The ball was between the two cars.”

This sentence describes how the subject (ball) is in the middle of two objects (the car). As a preposition of time, you can use BETWEEN as interval gaps.

For example: “He takes a break between work hours”

In this situation, the word BETWEEN describes the time interval that is not within work hours.

Is the word ‘HAS’ a preposition?

No, the word HAS is not a preposition. It is a verb that means possession or to experience. HAS is one of the most complicated and most versatile words of the English language. To have a better understanding of how it works, it would a good idea to review verbs.

Bottom Line

To further build your mind dictionary, check out another vocabulary list. If you’re a teacher, take a look at the other resources guides we have prepared for you at ESL Workshop.

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