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English Grammar


List of English prepositions with their meaning and an example of use.

A preposition is a word that tells you when or where something is in relation to something else.
There are over 100 prepositions in English and using them correctly can be difficult, especially for learners.
Although most prepositions are single words such as 'at', 'on', 'to', 'from', some pairs and groups of words operate like single prepositions, for example 'up to', 'out of' 'in front of' etc.
Below is a list of commonly-used propositions with their meaning and a sentence showing how they are used.

Preposition Meaning Example
about on the subject of; connected with Have you heard about the party? We're all invited.
above higher than, or over The sun is above the clouds.
across from one side to the other It's dangerous to run across the road.
after - following something; behind
- later than
- The boy ran after the ball.
- I'll phone you after lunch.
against - in opposition to
- in contact with
- Stealing is against the law.
- The sofa is against the wall.
along from one end to the other  They are walking along the street.
among surrounded by Peter was among the spectators.
around - in a circle
- near, approximately
- He walked around the table.
- It costs around 50 euros.
at - place
- age
- time
- Carla will wait for me at the cinema.
- He left home at the age of fourteen.
- Driving is more difficult at night.
away (from) at a distance from The boy ran away from home.
before - earlier than
- in front of
- The day before yesterday.
- He bowed before the king.
behind at the back of  Passengers sit behind the driver.
below lower than  His shorts are below his knees.
beneath under The pen was beneath the books.
beside next to The bank is beside the cinema.
between in the space separating two things Mary sat between Tom and Jane.
by - near, at the side of 
- not later than
- The restaurant is by the river.
- The boss wants the report by Friday.
close to near The school is close to the church.
down from higher to lower She pulled down the blind.
during through a period of time There are fewer flights during the winter.
for what is intended I bought this book for you.
from where something starts or originates The wind is blowing from the north.
in - at a point within an area
- time
- location/place
- The pen is in the drawer.
- In the afternoon, in the past/future
- She works in an office in New York.
in front of directly before The child ran out in front of the bus.
inside on the inner part of  The bird is inside the cage.
into enter a closed space He went into the shop.
near close to The school is near the church.
next to beside The bank is next to the cinema.
off down or away from He fell off the horse.
on - position touching a surface
- time 
- location/place
- The plate is on the table.
- Christmas is on December 25th.
- The offices are on 5th Avenue.
onto move to a position on a surface  The cat jumped onto the roof of the car.
opposite facing, on the other side Eva sat opposite Tom at the table.
out of - move from a closed space
- without
- He got out of the taxi.
- She's out of work.
outside - opposite of inside
- on the outer side 
The garden is outside the house.
over - above/across
- on the surface of
- The plane flew over the Atlantic.
- She put a sheet over the furniture.
past beyond She drove past the supermarket.
round in a circular movement  The earth moves round the sun.
since starting at a point in the past She's been here since September.
through from one side to the other The Seine flows through Paris.
throughout in every part of The virus spread throughout the country.
to in the direct of; towards On the way to the station.
towards in the direction of The child ran towards her father.
under beneath, below Water flows under the bridge.
underneath beneath There was dust underneath the rug.
up towards or in a higher position She walked up the stairs.
with including
as a result of
-Vegetables are served with the fish.
-The boss was annoyed with Tom for arriving late.
within inside They live within the old city.
without not have, or lack something I don't like coffee without milk.

See also: Prepositional Phrases

Try these online exercises: 

at-on-in at-for-from-in-
into-onto-off-over-up about-after-away-with
prepositions 1
prepositions 2
prepositions 3
preposition quiz

more exercises

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