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What is a Preposition?

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Basics on the topic What is a Preposition?

Prepositions – Introduction

What is a preposition? What are the common preposition examples? Today we will learn the definition of a preposition, usage of prepositions in a sentence and see multiple prepositions examples. Do you know what parts of speech are? You may remember different parts of speech such as nouns, verbs or adjectives. Preposition is another part of speech that we use very often and that helps us communicate better.

Prepositions – Definition

First, let’s define a preposition.

A preposition is a connecting word in a sentence. What does a preposition mean in a sentence? Prepositions tell you where and when something is in relation to something else. Here are some examples of prepositions:

  • on the road
  • before 5 o’clock
  • around the world

Common Types of Prepositions

There are a lot of preposition words. The most common types of prepositions are: preposition of location, preposition of time and preposition of movement. These prepositions can establish a noun's location, time and movement. Let’s have a look at the examples of different types of prepositions.

Prepositions of Location

A location preposition sometimes can be called a preposition of place. We use prepositions for location to say where things and people are. Preposition of location examples are: on, behind, inside, above, below.

Have a look at this sentence:

SEO_26638_(1).svg

In this example, the word behind is a preposition of location. It connects the noun (plant) with the location (the treehouse). The preposition in this sentence helps us understand where exactly the plant is in relation to the treehouse.

The word after the preposition is called object of a preposition. In the sentence above treehouse is an object of the preposition behind.

Prepositions of Time

Prepositions of time answer the question when?. They help us understand when a certain thing happens. For example:

SEO_26638_(2).svg

In this sentence before is a preposition of time. It connects watering of the plant with the time when it should be watered. Other prepositions of time include: before, at, during, since.

Prepositions of Movement

Prepositions of movement answer the question to where? and tell us where objects and people are moving. Have a look at one of the preposition of movement examples:

SEO_26638_(3).svg

The preposition out of in this sentence is a preposition of movement. It answers the question to where? and helps us understand in which direction the plant sprouts. Other prepositions you can include in your movement preposition list are along, down and off.

Let’s practise! Which version of the sentence uses the preposition to show location?

  1. I usually play football in the park behind the cinema. //
  2. I have been playing football since morning.

Do you know which sentence includes a preposition of location? It is the sentence number 1. We use preposition behind to show where the park is located. Can you identify a preposition in the second sentence? It is the word since and it is a preposition of time.

Let’s practise more! What is a preposition of movement in this sentence?

  • Before I go to school, I take a short walk along the river.

In this sentence the word along is a preposition of movement. Can you find the second preposition? It is before, a preposition of time.

Prepositions – Summary

Prepositions are connecting words in sentences. Prepositions can establish a noun’s location, time or movement.

  • Prepositions of location answer the question where? and help us understand where objects and people are located.
  • Prepositions of time answer the question when?. They connect the words to indicate when things happen
  • Prepositions of movement answer the question to where? and help us understand the direction things and people move.

See the table below for an overview of the common types of prepositions:

Type of Preposition Question Example
location where? behind
time when? before
movement to where? out of

Now after reading the preposition definition and examples, you can recognize and use prepositions correctly. Do you want more practice? On our website you can find interactive exercises about prepositions, preposition worksheets for year 3, prepositions of movement worksheets with answers in PDF format as well as activities about prepositions.

Frequently Asked Questions about Prepositions

What's a preposition?
What are some object of preposition examples?
Is on a preposition?
Is of a preposition?
Is about a preposition?
Is into a preposition?
Is was a preposition?
Is at a preposition?
Is through a preposition?
Is when a preposition?
Is during a preposition?

What is a Preposition? exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learnt? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video What is a Preposition?.
  • What is a preposition?

    Hints

    Prepositions can establish a noun's location.

    Prepositions can establish the time.

    Solution

    Prepositions can establish a noun's location, time or movement.

  • What information do these prepositions tell you?

    Hints

    Location prepositions answer the question where, for example, The plant is growing behind the shed.

    Time prepositions answer the question when, for example, I ate breakfast at 9:00am.

    Movement prepositions answer the question of what direction something is moving, for example, The cat ran along the fence.

    Solution

    Learning the different types of prepositions helps us communicate better by making our sentences clearer.

  • What is the preposition missing in each sentence?

    Hints

    Where is the cat?

    When will I study?

    How did she move to pick up the pen?

    Solution

    Here are the correct answers:

    • The cat is inside the house.
    • We rode our bikes along the river.
    • I will study before the quiz.
    • We are watching TV at the moment.
    • She reached down to pick up the pen.

  • What information do these prepositions give us?

    Hints

    Some prepositions that show movement include down, out of and off.

    Some prepositions that show time include during and since.

    Where did the sun sink?

    Solution
    • Some prepositions that show location include behind, inside, above, below.
    • Some prepositions that show time include before, at, during, since.
    • Some prepositions that show movement include out of, along, down, off.
  • What are the prepositions used in the sentences?

    Hints

    Where is the book?

    When did school finish?

    Solution
    • Under is a preposition that shows location.
    • At is a preposition that shows time.
    • Out of is a preposition that describes movement.
  • What is the preposition missing in each sentence?

    Hints

    When did Juliet have breakfast?

    We get on a bus to travel, then get off at our destination.

    Solution

    Here are the correct answers:

    1. Juliet had breakfast before going to school.
    2. They got off the bus 10 minutes ago.
    3. The paper aeroplane flew above his head.
    4. We played outside during the lunch break.
    5. Our flat is on the second floor. Tom's flat is on the fourth floor. We live below Tom.