English Grammar: «Prepositions»
From Polyglot Club WIKI
Prepositions are short words (on, in, to) that usually stand in front of nouns (sometimes also in front of gerund verbs).
A prepositions describes a relationship between other words in a sentence or phrase.
In itself, a word like "in" or " after" is rather meaningless and hard to define. For instance, when you try to define a preposition like "in" or " between" or "on", you invariably use your hands to show how something is physically situated in relationship to something else.
Prepositions are nearly always combined with other words in structures called prepositional phrases.
Prepositional phrases can be made up of a million different words, but they tend to be built the same: a preposition followed by an optional determiner and an optional adjective (or two) followed by a noun or pronoun (called the object of the preposition).
This whole phrase, in turn, takes on a modifying role, acting as an adjective or an adverb, locating something in time and space, modifying a noun, or telling when or where or under what conditions something happened.
- Prepositions indicate relationships between other words in a sentence.
- Many prepositions tell you where something is or when something happened.
- Most prepositions have several definitions, so the meaning changes quite a bit in different contexts.
- When prepositions combine with verbs to create phrasal verbs, such as "put up (with)" (tolerate) and "put down" (insult), the meanings are not usually simply a sum of the two words put together.
- Ending an English sentence with a preposition is not a grammatical error.
Examples[edit | edit source]
You can sit before the desk OR in front of the desk.
The professor can sit on the desk (when he's being informal) or behind the desk, and then his feet are under the desk or beneath the desk.
He can stand beside the desk (meaning next to the desk), before the desk, between the desk and you, or even on the desk (if he's really strange).
Here are examples of prepositions and their meaning:
|about||for topics, meaning what about||I was talking about you|
|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.|
|adjacent||be next to, be beside something||The parking lot is adjacent to the park.|
|along||from one end to the other||They are walking along the road.|
|among||surrounded by||John was among the spectators.|
|at||position in space or time||He learned Russian at 45 / He is at the store.|
|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||who made it||A book by Mark Twain|
|close to||near||The bank is close to the school|
|down||from higher to lower||He pulled down the blind.|
|for||what is intended||I bought this book for you.|
|from||where something starts or originates||The wind is blowing from the south.|
|from||source / point of origin||A present from Jane|
|in||located within||Get in the car!|
|in front of||directly before||The child ran out in front of the bus.|
|inside||in 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||movement away from a source||The men get off the train.|
|on||in a position touching a surface||The plate is on the table.|
|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||leaving a car / taxi||The passengers get out of the taxi|
|past||beyond||He drove past the supermarket.|
|round||in a circular movement||The earth moves round the sun.|
|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 direction 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||He walked up the stairs.|