What is preposition in English language?

What is preposition in English language?


A preposition is a noun or a group of nouns such as “in”, “of” and “about.” It usually comes before a noun, pronoun or gerund phrase in a sentence. It is used to refer to many things including direction, time, place and so on. For example, in the sentence “They live in England.” The word “in” which refers to a certain location, England, is a kind of preposition.

There are generally seven types of prepositions in English including 1) Time, 2) Place, 3) Location, 4) Direction and 5) Spatial relationships. Each type refers to a certain thing. Here, we are going to explain each kind of in details:

This type, such as “at”, “in” and on, refers to a certain point in time.

For examples)

We eat out lunch at noon. (At refers to the specific part of the day.)

The university will be open in the fall. (In refers to a certain season.)

The class will be hold on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. (On refers to the certain points of the weekdays.)

A mine worker feels extremely tired at the end of a day. (At shows a certain point in the time of a day.)


  • Place

This sort, such as “over”, “inside”, “within” and “in”, has a direct reference to a certain place or time.

For examples)

The students are in the class. (In shows the place which is a class.)

The money is locked away inside the safe. (Inside show a certain place which is “the safe” here.)

The books are put over the table. (Over shows the place of the books.)

Please look at yourself in the mirror. (In shows the place that you should look at)


  • Location

This type, such as “in” and “at”, refers to a certain location. Keep in mind they that this type does not refer to a certain place, it just mentions a certain spot or location.

For examples:

She lives in the United States. (In refers to the area or the location she lives.)

Jack mostly studies at the library. (At refers to the location that jack studies.)

We must speak English in the class. (In shows the location that speaking English is vital.)


  • Direction

This category, such as “to”, “in” and “on”, is used for referring to a certain direction.

For examples)

I decided to drive to my friend’s house. (To shows the direction I decided to drive)

We request to come in/into a room by knocking on the door. (In or into shows the direction that we want to enter.)

Please, look into my eyes! (Into shows the direction here, too.)

They were walking around the circle. (around shows the direction they are walking.)


  • Spatial relationships

This category, spatial relationships such as “along”, “near”, “off” and “through”, refers to the relationships relating to the position and space of things.

For examples)

My grandmother’s house is four hundred yards away along the main street. (Here, along shows the space between my grandmother’s house and the main street.)

Their house is near to their son’s school. (Near shows the spatial relationship between their house and their son’s school.)

Keep in mind that a certain individual preposition can play many functions in different sentences. For example, “at “has not the same function in all English sentences. “At” in the sentence “I am at work.” Refers to a certain location, while it refers to a certain time in the sentence “the party will start at night.” Another example can be “in”, as you can see in the examples above, can refer to time, direction, location and place.

As a result, if you want to tell the kind of a preposition, you must consider the thing it refers in the sentence of the text.

Learning prepositions requires a large amount of practices and hard working because they are completely idiomatic. They don’t have any fixed formula or instruction. Plus, they are followed by certain verbs, noun and adjectives to give the phrases meanings.

Take the adjective “aware “as an example; when we say “I am quite aware of the tragedy”, we mean that “I know the tragedy completely.” So, the phrase “be aware of” means “to know”. In this example, you can barely see that “of “gives a certain meaning to the sentence. The common prepositions following certain adjectives are:

Aware of, sorry for, disappointed from, thankful of, sad about, delightful of, ambitious for, worried about, anxious for, happy about, graceful of, kind to, generous with, supportive of, successful in, careful with, familiar with, famous for, bored with, amazed at/by, afraid of, scared of, thrilled at, immune to, talented at, please with, polite to, upset about, typical of,

They also give meanings to certain verbs. Some common English verbs with their certain prepositions are as follows:

Suffer from, differ from, smell of, Taste of, forget about, smile at, distinguish from, talk about, hear of, send to, think of, disagree with, lead to, result in, belong to, share with, take advantage from, mistake for, separate from, cope with, believe in, arrive in, participate in, involve in, apologize to, dream about and so on

Prepositions are sometimes used at the end of the sentences and are quite acceptable in English writings because they convey and clarify the main ideas, facts and concepts of your text such as the sentence “There is one thing that we have not talked about.” If they create any confusion or misunderstanding for your readers, then you must not bring them at the end of your sentences. This example is not true and must be revised:

Maria is a woman that I can not cope with her (It is wrong; it should be “I can not come with Maria.)

Keep in mind that you should not overuse all the mentioned types in your text. If you use them too much, then you will create wordiness in your text. Overuse of all the types makes your text seem uninteresting and herd to understand. So, try to use all the mentioned types suitably as less as you can to convey and illustrate your main ideas, facts and concepts.

In conclusion

prepositions are the words or a group of the words that come before a noun, gerund and pronoun or after some certain verbs and adjectives or at the end of a sentence. They give a certain meaning to the phrase. They can refer to many things including place, location, time, spatial relationships and directions.

There are five general classifications of prepositions as we mentioned above. It is recommended to immerse yourself in English as much as possible to know and memorize English prepositions because they paly important roles in English semantics and structures. If you don’t know them, you will never be successful to use English for your personal, educational or job purposes. We can briefly conclude that prepositions are components of sentences that play functional, semantical and structural roles in any language.

What is preposition in English language?

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