Prepositions [id] [ww]


Prepositions are words that show the relationship or position to other words in a sentence. Many prepositions define place, time, and direction.

Here is a brief list of some common prepositions:

  • about
  • above
  • across
  • after
  • against
  • along
  • among
  • around
  • at
  • before
  • behind
  • below
  • between
  • beneath
  • by
  • concerning
  • down
  • during
  • except
  • for
  • from
  • in
  • like
  • near
  • of
  • on
  • over
  • through
  • to
  • with

Prepositions can never be used alone; they are always followed by nouns or pronouns. The groups of words that contain the prepositions and their objects (nouns or pronouns) are called prepositional phrases.

  • according to the text
  • amid the confusion
  • as a result
  • at a standstill
  • for instance/for example
  • from experience
  • in a minute
  • into the woods
  • up the hill
  • to the class
  • within limits
  • without an excuse

Many prepositions form set expressions and idioms:

  • at a glance
  • at night
  • by bus/car/train/plane
  • for example/instance
  • from here to there
  • in terms of
  • in tune
  • in/on time
  • in the morning/afternoon/evening
  • without a doubt


Errors with prepositions occur when the wrong preposition is used, when prepositions are deleted (or added unnecessarily), or when words that are part of a prepositional phrase are misidentified as the subject or verb of a sentence, causing subject-verb agreement problems. 

Incorrect: He arrived to China at  May 6th.

Correct: He arrived in China on  May 6th.

Incorrect: We emphasized on the importance of following directions.

Correct: We emphasized the importance of following directions.

Incorrect: The rules of the game is explained here.

Correct: The rules of the game are explained here.


Practice 1 - Recognizing preposition errors in sentences
Practice 2 - Recognizing preposition errors in paragraphs


For more information on prepositions, follow these links: