A preposition is a word that connects one thing with another, showing how they are related. A preposition is usually followed by a noun or pronoun.

Prepositions are words that show a connection between other words. Most prepositions are little words like at, in and on. Prepositional phrases are groups of words, such as out of and on top of.

Preposition or Adverb?

Some words can be used either as prepositions or as adverbs. If the word is followed by a noun or a pronoun, it is a preposition. This noun or pronoun is called the object of the preposition.

As Prepositions

  • She put her hand inside my bag.
  • His friends walked past him without speaking.
  • John’s house is across the street.
  • Water was running down the walls.

As Adverbs

  • It was raining, so they decided to stay inside.
  • A car drove past at high speed.
  • They got into the boat and rowed across.
  • He tripped over his shoelaces and fell down.

1. Prepositions of Place

Some prepositions show where something happens. They tell you about position or place.

  • There's a big balloon in the sky.
  • Jane is jumping into the pool.
  • The books fell off the shelf.
  • Dad always keeps his wallet in the drawer.
  • There is a long mirror on the wall.
  • The school is near the park.
  • There is an old castle on the hill.
  • The horse jumped over the hurdle.

2. Prepositions of Time

Some prepositions show when something happens. They are used to talk about time.

  • Many shops close on Sundays.
  • The trees lose their leaves during winter.
  • We always wash our hands before meals.
  • We watched the World Cup game until 2:00 A.M.
  • Dad gets home about six in the evening.
  • We get up in the morning.
  • We go to bed at night.
  • It’s always hot in summer.
  • The movie starts at two in the afternoon.
  • Autumn begins in September.
  • They were married in 1990.
  • Joe arrived after me.
  • It has not rained at all for two weeks.
  • Breakfast is served at seven o’clock.
  • Kevin and Joe have been in the same class since first grade.

3. Prepositions of Direction

Some prepositions show where something is going.

  • The boys chased after each other.
  • The football rolled down the hill.
  • A man was walking his dog along the riverbank.
  • The freeway goes right through the city.
  • We were travelling towards Miami.
  • A girl went past them on a bike.
  • This road leads away from the stadium.
  • They watched the train pull out of the station.

Prepositions with Special Uses


  • I bought a bag of rice and a quart of milk.
  • Would you like a glass of orange juice?
  • Kathleen is a member of the chess club.
  • I need three pieces of paper.
  • Most of the children in my class like school.
  • There are several ways of cooking meat.


  • I made this bookmark for Mom.
  • Is there room for me on this seat?
  • I’d like a new computer for Christmas.
  • We’re going downtown for a meeting.
  • What’s this bag for?
  • This word is too difficult for me to spell.


  • He pounds nails in with a hammer.
  • Mix the flour with water.
  • She painted the picture with her new paints.
  • Would you like to come with us to the arcade?
  • I can do difficult problems with help from Mom.
  • Who is the man with the beard?
  • Michael came home with dirty hands.
  • Cross the busy street with care.

except, instead of

  • I like all kinds of food except pasta.
  • Everyone likes chocolate except Tom.
  • We go to school every day except Saturday and Sunday.
  • You should eat fruit instead of candy.
  • Dad is coming to the theater with us instead of Mom.
  • We could watch TV instead of reading our books.

like, as, than

  • The words like, as and than are used to compare things.
  • Kathleen looks like her dad.
  • Andrew smiles like his mother.
  • Peter sings like a professional singer.
  • Are these shoes the same as those?
  • Sue is nearly as tall as the teacher.
  • My backpack is bigger than John’s.
  • Dad is taller than all of us.
  • This painting is more beautiful than that one.
  • The neighborhood streets are less busy than downtown streets.