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What is a Preposition? Definitions, Examples, and Comprehensive List

A preposition is a part of speech (POS), and parts of speech are incredibly important in writing. Each part of speech fulfills a purpose in a sentence, and not all parts of speech are created equal. Some parts of speech make our writing stronger while others make it weaker. So we must be careful using them.

In this blog post, we will discuss the definition of a preposition, provide examples, and list them so that you can start using them in your own writing.

So, what exactly is a preposition? Let's find out!

Prepositions Definition

A preposition is a word that shows the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence. A preposition isn't always easy to spot. Sometimes, a preposition is disguised as an adverb. Unfortunately for non-native English speakers, there are no hard rules about when and how to use prepositions. Understanding of prepositions comes from reading.  

Prepositions usually come before a noun or pronoun. For example:

  • The book is on the shelf.
  • I'm going to the store.
  • They're at the movies.

But prepositions can also come after a verb:

  • The cat slept through the storm.
  • I looked all over for my phone.
  • He's been working on that project for weeks.

Prepositions usually convey concepts such as time, place, or direction. Here are some common prepositions:

  • about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, at, before
  • behind, below, beneath, beside, between beyond by (down) in front of
  • inside into off on (out) outside over through throughout till to toward under
  • up with within without

Why Are Prepositions Important to Understand?

Prepositions are some of the most frequently used words in the English language. It's important to understand how to use prepositions correctly because they can change the meaning of a sentence and cause confusion if they're not used properly.

Like conjunctions, prepositions are function words, which indicate the relationship between content words. While prepositions do not carry content, they do clarify the meaning of the content by expressing the relationship.

What are Prepositions of Time?

Prepositions of time are used to show when an event happened, is happening, or will happen. Here are some common prepositions of time:

  • before
  • after
  • by
  • on
  • in
  • at

For example:

  • I'm going to the movies after I finish my homework.
    • The preposition "after" shows when I'm going to the movies in relation to when I finish my homework.

What are Prepositions of Place?

Prepositions of place are used to show where something is located. Here are some common prepositions of place:

  • in
  • on
  • at
  • next to
  • under
  • over

For example:

  • The cat is on the mat.
  • The preposition "on" shows where the cat is located in relation to the mat.

What are Prepositions of Direction/Movement

Prepositions of DirectionPrepositions of direction are used to show movement from one place to another. Here are some common prepositions of direction:

  • to
  • through
  • into
  • toward
  • from

For example:

  • We're going to the park.
    • The preposition "to" shows the direction of movement from our current location to the park.

What are Prepositions of Agent?

Prepositions of agent are used to show who or what is doing something. Here are some common prepositions of agent:

  • by
  • with

For example:

  • The project was completed by John.
    • The preposition "by" shows who completed the project.

What are Prepositions of Instrument?

Prepositions of instrument are used to show what something is done with.

Here are some common prepositions of instrument:

  • with

For example:

  • I'm going to write the letter with a pen.
    • The preposition "with" shows what I'm going to use to write the letter.

Prepositions List

  • About
  • After
  • Ago
  • Around
  • At
  • Before
  • By
  • Circa
  • During
  • Following
  • For
  • From
  • In
  • On
  • Past
  • Prior to
  • Since
  • Until/till
  • Up to
  • Up until
  • Aboard
  • Above
  • Across
  • Against
  • Alongside
  • Amid
  • Among
  • Apart from
  • Astride
  • At
  • Atop
  • Behind
  • Below
  • Beneath
  • Beside
  • Between
  • Beyond
  • By
  • Close to
  • Far
  • Far from
  • Forward of
  • From
  • In
  • In between
  • In front of
  • Inside
  • Into
  • Minus
  • Near
  • Near to
  • Next to
  • Of
  • Off
  • On
  • On top of
  • Onto
  • Upon
  • Out
  • Out of
  • Outside
  • Outside of
  • Over
  • Round
  • Through
  • Throughout
  • To
  • Together with
  • Toward/towards
  • Under
  • Underneath
  • Up against
  • With
  • Within
  • Without
  • Above
  • Across
  • Against
  • Ahead
  • Along
  • Along with
  • Amid
  • Around
  • Away
  • Away from
  • Behind
  • Below
  • Beneath
  • By means of
  • Down
  • Further to
  • In between
  • Into
  • Off
  • Off of
  • On
  • Onto
  • Over
  • Out of
  • Past
  • Round
  • Through
  • Toward/towards
  • Under
  • Up
  • Via
  • About
  • According to
  • Anti
  • As
  • As for
  • As per
  • As to
  • As well as
  • Aside from
  • But for
  • By
  • Less
  • Like
  • Notwithstanding
  • Of
  • On behalf of
  • Other than
  • Pending
  • Per
  • Plus
  • Preparatory to
  • Pro
  • Re
  • Regarding
  • Regardless of
  • Save
  • Save for
  • Saving
  • Thanks to
  • Unlike
  • Versus
  • With