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Common Prepositions: Definition, Examples, and Tips

April 15, 2020

Common Prepositions List And Recommendations By Experts

Trying to come up with prepositions to make your speech or essay sound good? You are not alone! These words can be rather tricky, especially if you have never dealt with them before. Luckily, you are in the right place: we have collected the most popular prepositions and supplied them with examples.

After reading these guidelines, you’ll know what prepositions are, where to include them, and how to become a guru of writing. Are you ready? Then let’s start with the definition.

A preposition is a word or a set of words, which explains the relationship between the word before it and the word that follows it. For example, in the sentence ‘Emma was sitting on the couch,’ the proposition is ‘on’ and explains the relationship between ‘Emma’ and ‘couch.’ Where was the girl in relation to the couch? She was ‘on’ it. When changing the preposition, we can change the meanings of sentences. For example, ‘Emma was sitting by the couch’ or ‘Emma was sitting near the couch.’

The word, which follows the proposition, whether it is a noun or a pronoun, is called a preposition object. Along with the proposition, it makes the prepositional phrase. This phrase functions either as an adverb or an adjective. When the preposition occurs, this adverb/adjective will always be a part of the phrase.

Based on the example above: ‘Emma was sitting on the couch,’ ‘on’ is the preposition, ‘the couch’ is the preposition object, and ‘on the couch’ is the preposition phrase.

The English language is rather rich in prepositions: there are hundreds of them in the vocabulary, and they all show relationships between issues. One of the tricks to remember these words is to think about where a mouse can run: up, down, over, under, from, and to. These are prepositions. And even though this trick may not indicate all prepositions, it surely helps to identify several of them.

Common prepositions list with examples

Below you will find the list of common prepositions with sentence examples. Include these words and phrases to your text, and you’ll see how vivid and diverse the assignment will look like. Try to be creative and search for synonyms to enrich the language.

  1. Aboard. He climbed aboard without permission.
  2. About. Tell us about the concert last night.
  3. Above. There is always something above the clouds; you just need to see it.
  4. According to. According to the weather forecast, we’ll stay indoors during the weekend.
  5. Across. The quarantine has stopped any activity across continents.
  6. After. After the classes, she used to go to the park and feed ducks.
  7. Against. No matter where we go, Amanda always has arguments against meeting John and his new girlfriend.
  8. Ahead of. My mother was ahead of the time with her modern outlooks on democracy.
  9. Along. Along the way, we saw beautiful parks and rivers untouched by people.
  10. Alongside. Will you sit alongside me at the Thanksgiving dinner?
  11. Amid. It’s so great to grab a cold lemonade amid the summer heat.
  12. Among. Being among friends makes me relaxed and confident.
  13. Around. Real-life is waiting for us just around the corner.
  14. As. I will love you as long as I breathe.
  15. As far as. You can go as far as you want: nothing’s stopping you!
  16. As well as. Understanding the principles behind chemistry, as well as biology, may help us survive.
  17. At. My dog is always waiting for me at the door.
  18. Atop. Have you ever stood atop the mountain, as if the whole world is at your feet?
  19. Before. How did people communicate before smartphones were invented?
  20. Behind. There is always a strong woman behind a successful man.
  21. Below. The temperature outside is still below zero; I prefer staying indoors.
  22. Between. I don’t want to have any secrets between us, tell me what’s on your mind.
  23. But. Everyone has seen the movie but for me.
  24. By. This novel is written by my mother, and you should definitely read it!
  25. Considering. Considering the state of current affairs, we can’t plan vacations overseas.
  26. Down. Sit down, and I’ll tell you a story from my childhood.
  27. During. During the session, I was interrupted by a sudden knock on the door.
  28. Except. Everyone was ready to help except Maggy: she was frightened to death.
  29. Excluding. My family, excluding Jack, was self-isolating; it seems he’s not taking the situation seriously.
  30. Following. The following month will be one of the most difficult in my life.
  31. For. I will always find time for John: he’s my soul brother and my closest friend.
  32. From. I couldn’t see her from where I was standing.
  33. In. Please, bring me my phone; it’s in the bag.
  34. In addition. In addition to the main course, she has also prepared desserts.
  35. In case of. You can always count on me in case of emergency.
  36. Inside. My wife is beautiful both inside and outside.
  37. Into. One of my hobbies is getting into trouble.
  38. Like. I look like my mother at that age.
  39. Mid. Is it a habit of yours to interrupt everyone mid-phrase?
  40. Near. There is a great coffee shop near the campus.
  41. Next. Next, just confirm the purchase and indicate bank card details.
  42. Next to. See the guy next to India? She’s head over heels in love with him.
  43. Of. She will always remind me of the days that I can’t return.
  44. Off. Will you turn the lights off and go to bed? I have to wake up early in the morning!
  45. On. There’s presently waiting for you on the table.

As you see, prepositions are an essential part of the sentence, and it’s impossible to create a text without using them. Below you’ll find tips on identifying and using prepositions! Just save them or learn by heart, and you’ll see your future texts bloom.

How to identify common prepositions

If you are puzzled about how to find prepositions or they are not obvious, read the three tips below. You’ll be surprised how simple it actually is!

  • Usually, they are short

In most of the cases, prepositions are short words and contain one syllable. For example, by, up, out, from, in, etc. While there are longer prepositions, as you have seen in the examples above, you should always start with searching for short words. Most likely, these will be the prepositions you are looking for.

  • They are not followed by a verb

Another simple way to detect a preposition is to look at the word after it: prepositions are always followed by the preposition object (a noun or a pronoun), not a verb. Remember: any word followed by a verb is not a preposition!

However, some words may look like a verb, but it’s actually a gerund (a verb acting as a noun). For example, ‘I finished the essay before falling asleep.’ ‘Falling asleep’ is a gerund, and ‘finished’ is the verb.

  • They are a part of a prepositional phrase

When looking at the prepositions list above, you may notice that even though the words are prepositions, they’re not always prepositions! In some cases, they are adverbs and are not followed by the preposition object.

Remember: preposition is always a part of the preposition phrase and is followed by the object. Thus, it’s easy to detect whether you are dealing with a preposition or an adjective. If you are not sure whether the word is used as a preposition, search for a preposition phrase. If the word you’re trying to figure out starts the phrase, then it is the preposition. If it’s not a part of the phrase, this word is another part of speech.

Final thoughts

Reading the common prepositions list above, you can get a better picture of what these words are and where to find them in a sentence. Here are only some of the common prepositions that we use even without noticing: by, on, at, with, of, of, and others.

Just remember that prepositions are always a part of the prepositional phrase and are not followed by a verb. Sticking to these rules will help you to find a preposition in the text or to make your own assignment clear and interesting.

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