10.6 - Prepositions

Think about the following questions. When you are ready, click on the question to reveal a suggested answer.

What do prepositions look like?

Many of the most common words are prepositions. Prepositions are often short words (in, at, on), but they can also be longer words or short phrases (in terms of, despite). Likewise, a number of particles can be used as prepositions (concerning, given).

There are over 100 prepositions in English. The most common ones can be found here.

What do prepositions do?

Prepositions often define place, position or movement (between the doors), time (at midnight) or logical relationships (cause and effect, contrast, exemplification, exception). However, other prepositions have multiple meanings, such as by and with. Others are dependent on the forms that come before them (crazy about, happy with).

Where do they come in a sentence?

Prepositions usually occur before a noun, noun phrase or pronoun or –ing form (at the cinema, of cooking). They also often occur after a verb (listen to), adjective (afraid of) or a noun (difficulty to).  Prepositions can sometimes be used at the end of a clause (It’s a funny thing to ask about).