prepositions kind & type
English Grammars

Prepositions (kinds & Types) | Prepositions examples

What are prepositions?

Getting the usage of prepositions is quite complicated for ESL students of English.
They mostly get bewildered by the different usages of prepositions. Such as the difference between “at” and “on” is a bit difficult.
for example:

I am at the top of the mountain. Or I am on the top of the mountain. This kind of sentence will confuse the students and even somethings teachers.
We have gotten hundreds of prepositions in the English language, which are discussed below in detail. Over here, We study the kinds of prepositions discussed according to the word(s) the preposition contains.

What is a Preposition?

The preposition is a word that is used before nouns or pronouns to show its relation to another part of the sentence.
     

  •  The book is on the table.
  • He entered in the room. 

in the above sentence the words “on” and “in” is a preposition that demonstrates the position of nouns and pronouns. It is pretty difficult to identify the difference between prepositions even advanced learners of English find the usage of prepositions difficult and confusing.

Almost we find hardly any rule as to when/where to use which preposition. The only way to learn prepositions is by looking them up in a dictionary, reading a lot of English extracts, and learning useful phrases by heart.

The following table contains rules for some of the most frequently used prepositions in English:

Kinds of Prepositions

A) Preposition of time.
B) Preposition of Place.
C) Other important Prepositions:

A) Prepositions for Time

EnglishUsageExample
   on  days of the week  on Monday
·         in  months/seasons time of day year after a certain period of time (when?)  in August / in winter in the morning in 2006 in an hour
    at  for the night for the weekend a certain point of time (when?)  at night at the weekend at half past nine
   since  from a certain point of time (past till   now)  since 1890
    for over a certain period of time (past till     now)  for 2 years
    ago  a certain time in the past  2 years ago
    before  earlier than a certain point in time  before 2010
    to  telling the time  ten to six (5:50)
    past  telling the time  ten past six (6:10)
 to/till / until  marking the beginning and end of a     period of time  from Monday to/till Friday
till/until in the sense of how long something is going to last  He is on holiday until Friday.
    by  in the sense of at the latest up to a certain time  I will be back by 6 o’clock. By 11 o’clock, I had read five pages.

B) Prepositions – Place (Position and Direction)

     English             UsageExample
1.    inroom, building, street, town, country book, paper, etc. car, taxi picture, world  in the kitchen, in London in the book  in the car, in a taxi in the picture, in the world
2.  at  meaning next to, by an object for a table for events place where you are to do something typical   (watch a film, study, work)at the door, at the station at the table at a concert, at the party at the cinema, at school, at work
3.  on  attached for a place with a river being on a surface for a certain side (left, right) for a floor in a house for public transport for television, radiothe picture on the wall London lies on the Thames. on the table on the left on the first floor on the bus, on a plane on TV, on the radio
4.  by, next to, beside  left or right of somebody or something  Jane is standing by / next to / beside the car.
5.  under  on the ground, lower than (or covered by)   something else  the bag is under the table
6.  below  lower than something else but above groundthe fish are below the surface
7. over  covered by something else meaning more than getting to the other side (also across) and overcoming an obstacle  put a jacket over your shirt over 16 years of age walk over the bridge climb over the wall
8. above  higher than something else, but not directly over it  a path above the lake
9. Across  getting to the other side (also over) getting to the other side  walk across the bridge swim across the lake
10. through  something with limits on the top, bottom, and   the sides  drive through the tunnel
11. to  the movement to a person or building movement to a place or country for bed  go to the cinema go to London / Ireland go to bed
12. into  enter a room / a building  go into the kitchen / the house
13.  towards  movement in the direction of something   (but not directly to it)  go 5 steps toward the house
14. onto  the movement to the top of something  jump onto the table
15. from  in the sense of where from  a flower from the garden

C) Other important Prepositions

EnglishUsageExample
 fromwho gave ita present from Jane
2.  ofwho/what does it belong to what does it showa page of the book the picture of a palace
3. bywho made ita book by Mark Twain
4.  onwalking or riding on horseback entering a public transport vehicleon foot, on horseback get on the bus
5.  inentering a car  / Taxiget in the car
6. offleaving a public transport vehicle get off the train
7.  out ofleaving a car  / Taxi get out of the taxi
8. byrise or fall of something traveling (other than walking or horse riding)prices have risen by 10 percent by car, by bus
9.  atfor ageshe learned Russian at 45
10. aboutfor topics, meaning what aboutwe were talking about you

Prepositions of Time:

These are some other Prepositions of time that we use at various times such as:

  • at for a PRECISE TIME
  • in for MONTHS, YEARS, CENTURIES, and LONG PERIODS
  • on for DAYS and DATES
atinon
PRECISE TIMEMONTHS, YEARS, CENTURIES, and LONG PERIODSDAYS and DATES
at 3 o’clockin Mayon Sunday
at 10.30 amin summeron Tuesdays
at noonin the summeron 6 March
at dinnertimein 1990on 25 Dec. 2010
at bedtimein the 1990son Christmas Day
at sunrisein the next centuryon Independence Day
at sunsetin the Ice Ageon my birthday
at the momentin the past/futureon New Year’s Eve

There is one very simple rule about prepositions. And, unlike most rules, this rule has no exceptions.

Rules of Prepositions
A preposition is followed by a “noun”. It is never followed by a verb.

  • By “noun” we include:
  • noun (dog, money, love)
  • proper noun (name) (Bangkok, Mary)
  • pronoun (you, him, us)
  • noun group (my first job)
  • gerund (swimming)

A preposition can not be followed by a verb. If we want to follow a preposition by a verb, we must use the “-ing” form which is really a gerund or verb in noun form.

Subject + verb Prepositions“nouns”
The food isonthe table.
She livesinJapan.
Tara is lookingforyou.
The letter isunderyour blue book.
Pascal is usedtoEnglish people.
She isn’t usedtoworking.
I atebeforecoming.

In the below sentences, why is “to” followed by a verb? That should be impossible, according to the above rule:

  • I would like to go now.
  • She used to smoke.

In these sentences, “to” is not a preposition. It is part of the infinitive (“to go”, “to smoke”).

Prepositions with Nouns, Adjectives, and Verbs.

NOUNS and PREPOSITIONSNouns + prepositionNouns + preposition
approval of
awareness of
belief in
concern for
confusion about
desire for
fondness for
grasp of
hatred of
hope for
interest in
love of
need for
participation in
reason for
respect for
success in
understanding of
ADJECTIVES and PREPOSITIONSexamples
fond of
happy about
interested in
jealous of
made of
married to
proud of
similar to
sorry for
sure of
tired of
worried about
VERBS and PREPOSITIONSExamples
give up
grow up
look for
look forward to
lookup
makeup
pay for
prepare for
study for
talk about
think about
trust in
work for
worry about

Prepositions are sometimes so firmly wedded to other words that they have practically become one word.

This occurs in three categories: nouns, adjectives, and verbs.

The combination of verb and preposition is called a phrasal verb. The word that is joined to the verb is called a particle. Do refer to the brief section we have created on phrasal verbs for an explanation.

A) ON TIME–IN TIME

On-time means “on schedule”; in time usually means before an appointed time (often with time left over to do something).

  • Were you late for your appointment?
  • No, I was there on time. (I was there at the appointed time.)
  • No, I reached the office in time to have a cup of coffee before my appointment.

B) FROM . . . TO–FROM . . . UNTIL

These expressions have almost the same meanings and are usually interchangeable in the expression of time. However, only from … to is used in referring to place or position.

  • He works from 8:00 to 5:00. He works from 8:00 until 5:00.
  • We drove from Boston to New York in four hours.

C) AROUND–ABOUT
Around and about (sometimes preceded by and are used to indicate approximate time.)

  • I’ll pick you up around 7 o’clock.
  • It is now about 5 o’clock.

Comparison of some Prepositions:

a) IN–ON
In general, it means beneath the surface; on means touching the surface.

  • There is a grease spot on my coat and a hole in my sweater.
  • We had to drive a large nail in the ceiling in order to hang the picture on this wall.

b) ON–AT
In an address, on is used with the name of the street; at, with the house number and the name of the street.

  • He lives on Green Street.
  • He lives at 1236 Green Street.

c) AT–IN
In referring to a location, ordinarily indicates a specified location; in, a location within a house, building, city, and so forth.

  • I’ll meet you at the library.
  • I’ll meet you at the information desk in the lobby of the hotel.
  • She is in the kitchen preparing dinner.
  • It is also used in referring to a location within a country.
  • They own a house in Sweden.
  • He is in Peru, South America, now.
  • It is ordinarily used in referring to cities.
  • He lives in Quetta, Pakistan.
  • They will arrive in Sydney next month.
  • At is sometimes used in referring to the arrival of a train, and so forth.
  • The train will arrive in Brisbane at 8:10 p.m.

The ordinarily refers to motion or action, although it is often used interchangeably with situations of this kind.

  • I saw him go into (in) the director’s office a few minutes ago.
  • They went into (in) the building an hour ago.

Kinds of Prepositions

More related grammar. Transitional words.

Prepositions are of five kinds:

  1. Simple prepositions
  2. Compound prepositions
  3. Double prepositions
  4. Participle prepositions
  5. Phrase prepositions

1. Simple Prepositions

Simple prepositions are several:

for example:  in, on, at, about, over, under, off, of, for, to, by, till, up, down, after, with,  etc.

  • She sat on the chair.
  • He fell off the ladder.
  • There is some milk in the bottle.
  • She is about to go.
  • They gathered around the table.
  • The man was jumping under the tree.

2. Compound prepositions (prefixes or suffixes)

Compound prepositions are the words like 

without, within, inside, outside, into, beneath, below, behind, between, etc.

  • He fell into the water.
  • She walked between walls.
  • He sat beside them.
  • There is nothing inside the room.
  • The teacher stood behind the desk.
  • The boy ran along the road.
  • The book is below the chair.

3. Double prepositions

Double prepositions are the words like outside of, out of, from behind, from beneath, etc.

  • I waited outside of the station.
  • She was looking at me from behind the tree.
  • Suddenly he emerged from behind the tree.
  • we saw him from beneath the tree.
  • suddenly, He walked out of the room.

4. Participle prepositions
Participle prepositions are the words like concerning, notwithstanding, pending, considering, etc.

  • There was little chance of success, so they decided to go ahead.
  • You did the job well, considering your age and inexperience.
  • Pending the task, we could get relax.
  • We have to do all the plans concerning him as part of it

5. Phrase prepositions

Phrase prepositions are the phrases like:  because of, by means of, with regard to, on behalf of, instead of, on account of, in opposition to, for the sake of, etc.

  • I am standing here on behalf of my friends and colleagues.
  • The match was canceled because of the rain.
  • we did all the work perfectly with regard to him.
  • She could perform the duty well instead of them.
  • On the account of a dispute, the police arrested him.
  • Our country is the foreword for the sake of educated people.
  • He succeeded by means of perseverance.

Prepositions and Adverbs

There are some words that can be used both as prepositions and as adverbs. If a word is used as a preposition it will have a noun or pronoun as its object. Adverbs, on the other hand, do not have objects. They are used to modify a verb, adjective, another adverb, Prepositional phrase, or a whole sentence.

Compare:

  • She sat in the armchair. (In – preposition; armchair – object)
  • Please come in. (In – adverb; no object)
  • He stood before me. (Before – preposition; object – me)
  • I have seen him before. (Before – adverb; no object)
  • She put the book on the table. (On – preposition; object – the table)
  • Let’s move on. (On – adverb; no object)
  • He will return after a month. (After – preposition; object – a month)
  • He came soon after. (After – adverb; no object)

check out this grammar too.

what are an adjective and 10 kinds?

Figure Of Speech.

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