Preposition – Notes – 1

General English » Notes » Preposition

A preposition is a word that conveys a meaning of position, direction, time, or other abstraction. It serves to relate its object to another sentence element.

A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition, its object, and any modifiers of the object. In the prepositional phrase by the greatest German musician, the preposition is by, the object is musician, and the modifiers of the object are the greatest German.

The nine most commonly used prepositions are : at, by, for, from, in, of, on, to, and with. There are many more prepositions.

Common prepositions :

about before under within
above behind since toward
across below through next
after beneath throughout of
against beside till off
along between to on
among beyond from onto
around but in out
as by inside outside
at for into over

Common compound prepositions :

according to due to in front of in spite of
as well as except for in place of instead of
because of in addition to in regard to by way of
on account of out of with regard to  

(1) Prepositions of Time : In, On, At, By

YEAR: In
• I was born in 1982.

MONTH: In
• The wedding will be in April.

WEEK: In
• We are in the sixth week of the semester.

DAY: On
• The party is on Friday.

HOUR: At
• Arrive at 3 p.m.

Deadlines : No matter the time frame, use “by” with due dates :
• Your papers are due by 5 p.m./Tuesday/April/2009.

(2) Prepositions of Location : At, In, On

At : Located at a specific place
I left my homework at home.

In : Located within boundaries (enclosed)
I was in the study room.

On : Located on a surface (not enclosed)
I left my homework on the study table.

(3) Prepositions of Direction : To, Into, Onto

To : Moving toward a specific place
We are moving to Mumbai next month.

Into : Moving to the inside of an enclosed space
The dog jumped into the pond.

Onto : Moving toward a surface
The book fell onto the floor.

Frequently Misused Prepositions :

Prepositions may sometimes be confused because of slang and the general informality of talk. Here are some frequently misused prepositions.

(1) Beside & Besides
Beside means next to, whereas besides means in addition.

The comb is beside the brush.
Besides planning the trip, she is also getting the tickets.

(2) Between & Among
Generally, between is used when two items are involved; with three or more, among is preferred.

Between you and me.
He is among friends.

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