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Prepositions are mostly small single words used before a noun (at home), a noun phrase (across the river) or a pronoun (for you). They may also consist of two or more words acting as a single preposition called compound preposition. The prepositions are used to form relationships between the nouns and other words in a sentence by linking them.

 

There are many prepositions, most of which are single-word such as above, along, behind, from, near, of, on, since, to, until, and with.

See List of Prepositions

 

A preposition is followed by a noun, noun phrase, or pronoun, each of which becomes the object of the preposition. Only the noun can be the object; other parts of speech such as verb, adjective, or adverb cannot be the object.

 

Examples:

  • We woke up before sunrise.
    (The noun sunrise is the object of the preposition before.)
  • We often stroll along the beach
    (The noun phrase the beach is the object of the preposition along.)
  • She waved to him
    (The pronoun him is the object of the preposition to.)

 

Sentence without preposition is meaningless

Prepositions are one of the eight parts of speech. It plays an important role in forming relationship between words in a sentence. Without it, sentences become meaningless.

 

Examples:

  • With preposition: Her mother is in the hospital.
  • Without preposition: Her mother is the hospital.
  • With preposition: I'm flying to London tomorrow.
  • Without preposition: I'm flying London tomorrow. (London is a kite?)

 

Removal of preposition
Sometimes a preposition does not form a necessary part of a sentence. It can be removed without affecting the meaning of the sentence

 

Examples:

  • You can go if you want to.
  • You can go if you want.
  • There is nothing to be afraid of.
  • There is nothing to be afraid.

 

Different types of prepositions
The different types of prepositions are used to provide us with different information with regards to time (prepositions of time), place (prepositions of place), and direction (prepositions of movement). Besides these three, there are others: prepositions of manner and prepositions of cause and reason. The same preposition however can be used for the different divisions into time, place and direction.
 

Different prepositions used to show time or place or direction

Examples:

  • I shall meet you at 2 o’clock tomorrow. (Indicates time: at 2 o’clock)
  • The kettle is on the table. (Indicates a place or position: on the table)
  • We walked to/towards the cinema. (Indicates direction: to/towards the cinema)

 

Same preposition used to show time or place or direction

Examples:

  • I shall meet you at 2 o’clock on Sunday under the railway bridge (Indicates time)
  • We will wait for you at the entrance to the stadium. (Indicates place)
  • A stranger pointed at (Indicates direction)

 

The next three parts of this lesson will focus on prepositions of timeprepositions of place, and prepositions of direction respectively.