What is a preposition?

There is a dog on the road.

She is fond of chocolate cakes.

The cat jumped off the chair.

Here, in the first sentence, the word ondenotes the relationship between two things i.e. dog and road.

In the second sentence, the word of denotes the relationship between the attribute expressed by the adjective fond and cakes.

In the third sentence, the word off denotes the relationship between the action expressed by the verb jumped and the chair.

The words on, of and off, are used as Prepositions.

A preposition is a word which is placed before a noun or a pronoun to display in what relationship the person or thing signified by it stands in regard to something else.

It simply means that which is placed before – pre – position. It provides information to the readers.

Here, from our example, we can clearly state that,

From the first sentence, the preposition connects a Noun to another Noun.

From the second sentence, the preposition connects a Noun to an Adjective.

From the third sentence, the preposition connects a Noun to a Verb.

To get things more clear about prepositions, let’s consider some more example.

The book is on the table.

The book is under the table.

The book is behind the table.

The book is about the table.

The book is near the table.

Kinds of Prepositions:

Prepositions can be arranged in the following classes:

  • Simple Prepositions

Some of the commonly used and known prepositions are:




  • Compound Prepositions

These are generally formed by prefixing a preposition to a noun, an adjective or an adverb.


  • Phrase Prepositions

Prepositions are always found in prepositional phrases. Phrases are a cluster of words which acts as a single part of speech without subject or the verb.

Prepositional Phrases are made up of the objects of the preposition and prepositions itself.

The word (or words) that follows a preposition is basically called as the object of the preposition.

If there is a preposition in the sentence then it is bound to have the object of the preposition. Prepositions cannot act as stand-alone sentences.

Back to prepositional phrases, they are a group of words used with the force of a single preposition.

Some of the commonly used Prepositional Phrases are:

According toIn accordance withIn place of
Agreeably toIn addition toIn reference to
Along withOn(in) behalf ofIn regard to
Away fromIn case ofIn spite of
Because ofIn comparison toInstead of
By dint ofIn compliance withIn the event of
By the means ofIn consequence ofOn account of
By reason ofIn course ofOwing to
By virtue ofIn favor ofWith a view to
By way ofIn front ofWith an eye to
Conformably toIn lieu ofWith reference to
For the sake ofIn order toWith regard to


To get a better understanding of these prepositional phrases, study below the jotted examples.

He died while fighting on behalf of his country.

In the course of time, he realized his mistake.

In case of an emergency, dial 12345678.

Why don’t you go along with her?

On account of his heavy loan, he committed suicide.

By the way of introduction, he made some appropriate remarks.

He won in spite of difficulties and struggles.

There is a huge mansion in front of his garage.

By means of ladders, they climbed the high wall effortlessly.

 Sometimes, Prepositional Phrases acts like an adverb or an adjective. A word is a preposition when it governs a noun or a pronoun; it is an adverb when it does not.

In simpler terms,

When a prepositional phrase is describing a noun, then the phrase is working as an adjective.

The spare and broken wheel came off.

When a prepositional phrase is describing a verb, an adverb or an adjective, then it’s working as an adverb.

Take this courier over to the post-office.

Relations expressed by Prepositions:

The following are some of the most common relations indicated by prepositions:

  • Place

The place prepositions are those indicating positions such as above, below, around or between etc.

Some of the place prepositions are:

Ran across the road; fell among thieves; traveled towards Mumbai; lies upon the desk; the cliff hangs over the sea; in the sky; tour around the world; put pencil to paper;  lay under the chair;

Sat beside me; leaned against a wall; stood before the stage; stand by me; fell into the well.

  • Time

The time prepositions are those indicating time such as before, until, after, within etc.

Some of the time prepositions are:

Fifteen minutes to eleven; within a year; since two days; in the evening; after his birth; at an early age; behind time; arrived before him; towards afternoon; until his arrival; rise with the sun; throughout the month; wait till tomorrow; pending his return; lasted through the day; on Wednesday; lived under the tree; sat watching far on into the night; from 1st May; for many days; during the whole year; by seven o’clock.

Learning prepositions is a tedious task as it involves other parts of speech in it. To get through prepositions, you need to study the other parts of speech deeply as well. This can be a dainty and time-consuming task but we are at your aid.

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