Prepositions of Direction


Prepositions of direction are words or phrases that provide information about the course, path, or method by which a subject moves or is moved. They express the motion or direction of an action, connecting them to the rest of the sentence. The key is to remember that they often describe physical movement in space. In this tutorial, we will delve into the usage, rules, and examples of prepositions of direction to make your grammar game stronger.

Commonly Used Prepositions of Direction

Before we dive into the rules and examples, let’s first understand the commonly used prepositions of direction:

  • Into
  • Onto
  • Off
  • Around
  • Over
  • Through
  • Under
  • Across

Usage of Prepositions of Direction


The preposition 'into' denotes movement that results in an enclosed place or suggests change. For example:

  • He walked into the room.
  • She transformed the room into a study area.


'Onto' expresses movement toward a surface. For instance:

  • The cat jumped onto the table.
  • She placed the books onto the shelf.


'Off' indicates movement away from a surface. It's used to show that something is no longer attached to or covered by something else. For example:

  • He took the hat off his head.
  • The leaves are falling off the trees.


'Around' shows movement in a circular path. It could also indicate the presence of something in the surrounding area. For instance:

  • She walked around the lake.
  • There are many shops around this square.


'Over' is used to show movement from one point to another, crossing an obstacle or covering something. For example:

  • The plane flew over the city.
  • She wore a coat over her dress.


'Under' refers to being beneath something and in some cases, it can suggest less than or younger than. For instance:

  • The cat is under the table.
  • Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.


This preposition indicates movement from one side to another or along a certain line or direction. For example:

  • He swam across the river.
  • We walked across the road.


'Through' signifies movement from one point to another in an enclosed space. For instance:

  • She is walking through the door.
  • We drove through the tunnel.

Rules for Prepositions of Direction

Here are some key rules to keep in mind:

  • Prepositions of direction are used before a noun (or pronoun) to show in which direction the action of the verb is directed.
  • Do not use prepositions of direction with verbs that do not indicate movement.
  • Some prepositions of direction can also be used as prepositions of place, but their use changes the meaning of the sentence.
  • Some verbs require specific prepositions to be used. Memorizing these combinations is key to natural English use.


Prepositions of direction play a vital role in English grammar. They impart critical meaning and context about direction and movement. Although their correct usage may seem complex due to the multifaceted nature of English prepositions, continual practice can make their application automatic.

Remember: prepositions usually come before a noun and tell you something about location or time, but with direction, they also indicate movement. Perfecting their usage can add much-needed flair to your writing and verbal communication skills.

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