Study Notes on Preposition: Types, Rules, Usage and Examples

English Language section is one of the most important sections and is part of almost every Government Examination be it SSC, Bank, Railway or any other exams. English is an important part not just of our professional but also of our indigenous life. Due to various reasons, a large number of aspirants are afraid of this mandatory subject when the truth is, it is just a subject with few grammar rules and a collection of vocabulary. In this article, we’ll cover all the important rules, types and different aspects of an integral part of English grammar i.e Preposition.

What is a Preposition?

A preposition is part of speech in English grammar that is a word or set of words that indicate the location or some other relationship between a noun or pronoun and also other parts of a sentence. A preposition shows the relationship between a word in the sentence and the word that is the object of the preposition. Preposition is known as “the biggest little words” in English because of its important functions.

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Types of Prepositions

There are some prepositions that are common in every type of preposition as they function in a versatile way. Those types of prepositions are given below in the table

Prepositions of time: after, around, at, before, between, during, from, on, until, at, in, from, since, for, during, within
Prepositions of place: above, across, against, along, among, around, at, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by, down, in, inside, into, near, off, on, opposite, out, over, past, through, to, toward, under, underneath
Prepositions of direction/movement: at, for, on, to, in, into, onto, between
Prepositions of manner: by, on, in, like, with
Other types of prepositions: by, with , of, for, by, like, as

 

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Rules of Preposition

Rule 1 A preposition cannot be followed by a verb. Verb placed immediately after preposition must be in gerund form.

Examples (a) He prevented me from drinking hot water.
(b) He insists on trying once again.

Rule 2 When ‘object’ of the preposition is an Interrogative Pronoun What, Who, Whom, Which, Where etc., the preposition usually takes end or front position.

Examples (a)  May I know who were you talking to?
(b) What are you thinking of?
It used to be thought as ungrammatical, to end a sentence with a preposition, but it is now well accepted.

Rule 3 When ‘object’ of the preposition is a relative Pronoun ‘that’, the preposition takes end position.

Examples (a) Here is the magazine that you asked for.
(b) This is the dish that she is fond of.

Rule 4 When the ‘object’ of the preposition is infinitive (to + verb), preposition is placed after infinitive.

Examples (a) This is a good hotel to stay at.
(b) I need a pencil to write with.

Rule 5. In some sentences, preposition is attached with the verb.

Examples (a) I hate being laughed at.
(b) This I insist on.

Rule 6. In interrogative sentences preposition comes in the beginning.

Examples (a) By which train did you come?
(b) For whom was instructions given?

Use and examples of Some Important Prepositions

At/In/On

In reference of ‘Time’

  1. At is used for a precise time.
  2. In is used for months, years, centuries and long periods.
  3. On is used for days and dates.

In reference of ‘Place’

  1. At is used for a point.
  2. In is used for an enclosed space.
  3. On is used for a surface.

(A) At shows stationary position or existing state while In shows movement.
Examples i. She is at home.
ii. The train is in motion.

(B) At for small place, town etc. while In for big place, town, city, country etc.
Examples i. He lives at Alwar in Rajasthan.
ii. A temple is situated at Madurai in Chennai.

(C) At is used for Point of time, and In is used for Period of time.
Examples i. The train will arrive at six in the morning.
ii. He will meet you in the morning.

(D) In/Into In shows the existing state of things, while Into shows movement.
Examples i. He jumped into the river.
ii. There are three students in the class.

To/Into/To

  1. In the direction of Turn to the right.
  2. Destination I am going to Jaipur.
  3. Until From Monday to Friday; five minutes to ten
  4. Compared with They prefer hockey to soccer.
  5. With indirect object Please give it to me.
  6. As part of infinitive I like to ski; he wants to help.
  7. In order to We went to the store to buy soap.
  8. To the inside of We stepped into the room.
  9. Change of condition The boy changed into a man.

On/Onto

On can be used for both existing position and movement.
Example (a) He was sitting on his bag.
(b) Snow fell on the hills.On can also be used as an adverb
Examples (a) Go on.
(b) Come on.Onto is used when there is movement involving a change of level.
Examples (a) People climbed onto their roofs.
(b) He lifted her onto the table.With/ByWith is used for instruments, and By is used for agents.
Examples (a) The snake was killed by him with a stick.
(b) The letter was written by Suresh with a pencil.

Since/For/From

Since is often used with Present Perfect or Past Perfect Tense
Examples (a) It has been raining since two O’Clock.
(b) He had been ill since Monday.

Since can also be used as an adverb
Examples (a) He left school in 1983. I haven’t seen him since.
(b) It is two years since I last saw Tom.

Beside/BesidesBeside and Besides have altogether different meanings.
Don’t confuse beside with besides. beside = at the side of
Example: a)He was sitting beside Sarla.b) besides = in addition to / as well asExample

  • He has a car besides a motor cycle.

Between/Among

Between is normally used for ‘two things or persons, but it can also be used more, when we have a definite number in mind and there is a close relationship/ association within them.
Example

  • He distributed his property between his two daughters.

Among is usually used for more than two persons or things when we have no definite number in mind.

Example
  • He was happy to be among friends again.

Among/Amongst

Both have the same meaning. Either of them can be used if followed by ‘the’. If followed by a word, beginning with a vowel ‘amongst’ be used.
Examples

  • He distributed the toffees among/amongst the poor.
  • He distributed the toffies amongst us

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