Prepositions, The English Learners Guide to Mastering Usage

Learning a foreign language requires a significant investment of time, commitment, and constant effort. If you’re an English learner, you may have discovered that traditional classroom settings are insufficient to achieve fluency quickly, and self-directed instruction is a key factor in supplementing your studies.

Attending language classes or training centers provides opportunities to practice English with peers, engage in various group exercises and activities, receive immediate feedback, and learn from expert teachers. On the other hand, self-studying complements classroom instruction by allowing learners to acquire background knowledge, expand their vocabulary, develop strong reading habits, and reinforce skills that are constrained by class time and size.

However, finding the appropriate resources for self-study can be challenging. Not all materials are suitable for individual learners’ language capacities or learning preferences. To help overcome this hurdle, this grammar hub was created to serve as a comprehensive guide covering all significant English grammar topics with extensive instructional content. This section is designated to discuss Prepositions in detail.

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Prepositions Reference Guide for ESL and English Language Students

This guide is a wide resource on the topic of prepositions that caters to English language learners of all proficiency levels. While it offers particular value to beginner and intermediate learners, advanced students will also benefit from its broad coverage, specialized classifications of prepositions, practical examples, and detailed explanations of rules and concepts. This hub and its subpages were created to be an accessible, convenient, and all-in-one source that learners can refer back to at any time. As the English language is constantly evolving, the articles are regularly revised and updated. It is advisable to save or bookmark them for future review and further study.

Prepositions Definition and Examples

Prepositions are essential elements in connecting nouns and pronouns to other parts of a sentence. They play various roles, such as indicating time, place, direction, and measurement, among others. Some of the most frequently used prepositions in everyday language comprise at, in, of, on, and to.

Many native English speakers use prepositions unconsciously without realizing their importance. While prepositions follow certain rules, they are primarily idiomatic in nature. This means that most prepositional phrases are fixed expressions that have independent meanings apart from their individual components. On this page, you will learn effective learning tips for mastering them.

Understanding, studying, and using prepositions can be confusing. However, unlike other parts of speech such as nouns or verbs, there are no new prepositions introduced over time. It’s crucial to remember the common phrases in which they are used, and this can be achieved through regular exposure to the English language. 

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Forms of Prepositions

Learners looking for a direct list of the different Forms of Prepositions should bookmark this page as an addition to their toolkit. This page was created to focus on preposition types and guide students to in-depth pages for each type, grouped here according to their functionality. We understand how challenging it can be to study grammatical topics in English, especially with a massive bulk of information to memorize. The sub-pages are designed to be thorough and easy to follow, with valuable content that incorporates tables or rules, common errors, learning tips, and sentence examples.


As the name suggests, Prepositions of Place indicate the location of people or things. The primary prepositions used for this function are at, in, and on, and they denote an almost infinite number of locations. The rules for this are intricate and difficult for many English learners to distinguish. With that in mind, we’ve added a table for standard expression in English on this page, which contains a comprehensive list of locations used exclusively with each preposition of place.


Prepositions that represent methods, which are more commonly known as Prepositions of Manner, talk about how things are done or how they occur. Simply put, they answer the question “how” and consist of prepositions such as by, in, on, and with. This page will specifically focus on these four most commonly used prepositions of manner to differentiate between their functions and various language nuances in which they’re involved. One of the most common errors students make is using the wrong preposition for established prepositional phrases in the English language. 

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This page has helpful segments on the rules and purposes of Prepositions of Time, which are words that link nouns to other parts of a sentence to specify when something occurs or occurred. They answer the question “when” and include prepositions such as at, ago, before, by, during, for, from, in, on, since, till/until, and to. These are the most commonly used prepositions of time that can have overlapping or identical meanings, which becomes a bit of a headache for English learners. This page breaks down concepts into their simplest models and is created to be relatively painless.


Prepositions of Direction are used to indicate the direction of people or things that are “in motion,” typically in conjunction with an action verb. These prepositions demonstrate a connection with movement, which is why they are sometimes called prepositions of movement. Some resources may categorize them together with prepositions of place or location as well. These are some of the nuances English students encounter when studying topics as broad as prepositions. Luckily, this page contains tables of rules and functions, sample sentences, and FAQs to present learning at its most manageable.  

Situation and Comparison

Some prepositions enable us to contrast, distinguish, or draw a comparison between two individuals, objects, concepts, etc. The commonly used prepositions for this purpose include between, like, than, and unlike. They’re called Prepositions of Comparison. English learners often come across various intricacies while studying broad topics like prepositions. Fortunately, this page offers a set of tables outlining rules and functions, along with sample sentences and frequently asked questions, making the learning process more straightforward and accessible.


Prepositions that express degree or measure refer to the quantity or quality in various contexts, such as standards, rates, or values. Prepositions of Degree are limited in number and include commonly used ones such as at, by, for, to, and of. This page is a valuable resource as it provides tables that outline rules and functions, along with sample sentences and frequently asked questions. These resources make it easier and more accessible for learners to understand and grasp the concepts presented.

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When studying massive topics such as prepositions, English learners frequently encounter different levels of complexity. This page is an invaluable resource for learners as it presents tables that outline rules and purposes, as well as sentence examples and a list of common errors. These resources enhance accessibility and facilitate better comprehension of the topic at hand. Prepositions of Cause are often classified with effect or reason as they share a similar purpose. They are used to signify the reason behind an event or the intention of an action, answering the question “why”. The most commonly used prepositions to express cause include for, due to, owing to, and because of.


A type of preposition that describes the reason behind an action or its intended purpose Prepositions of Purpose. They are particularly useful when dealing with verb phrases as they provide essential context to the action being taken. For instance, adding “for” in the sentence “I’m getting ready for” exhibits a purposeful action while removing it simply becomes “I’m getting ready.” Prepositions of purpose can also be used in sentences with two verbs, such as “She stopped by to get a snack,” which provides purpose for her visit. By using purposeful prepositions in these examples, the sentence gains clarity and detail in an efficient manner. Learn more on this page to know how to effectively use purpose prepositions.


Prepositions that show the outcome of an action or event are classified as Prepositions of Result. They clarify how something is affected by the result of another action or event, providing a detailed context within the sentence. Common examples of prepositions of result include “due to,” “from,” “because of,” and “through.” Using prepositions of result enhances the reader’s comprehension and connection between ideas in a sentence by providing more information about how one idea produces its outcomes in another.

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Prepositions of Agency indicate the doer of an action in a sentence. They clarify who is performing the action and are typically used with passive verbs to bring agency to the sentence. Examples of prepositions of agency include “by,” “with,” and “through.” For instance, to explain that you oversaw a project with someone’s assistance, you could say “The project was overseen by me with Laila’s help.” English learners often face varying degrees of density when studying far-reaching topics like prepositions. This page is a worthwhile resource for students with tables that outline rules, sentence examples, and learning tips to avoid errors. These resources enhance accessibility and enable a better grasp of the topic.


Prepositions that describe how something is accomplished or how one subject is related to another are labeled Prepositions of Means. They explain the means by which an action took place, or the tools or devices used. They can be classified into two categories: instrumental and modal means. Instrumental means refer to the specific tools used, while modal means identifies the condition necessary for something to happen. Knowing these prepositions can enhance students’ speech and writing skills by providing clarity to action phrases and accurately describing relationships between ideas.

Compound Prepositions

Compound Prepositions are formed by combining two or three smaller words to serve the same function as single-word prepositions. They connect nouns, pronouns, and phrases in a sentence. Some common examples of compound prepositions include ‘in spite of’, ‘due to’, ‘outside of’, ‘with regard to’, and ‘in addition to’. Compound prepositions enable us to express complex ideas concisely and add variety to our sentences. They also allow us to join multiple elements into one idea, shortening our sentences and making them easier to understand. Whether in formal or informal contexts, compound prepositions are a significant aspect of the English language. On this page, you will learn all there is to know regarding the topic, including explanations of rules, purposes of each expression, and examples to see how they are used. 

Prepositional Phrases Meaning and Examples

Phrases that consist of a preposition, its object and any modifiers of the object are called Prepositional Phrases. These phrases connect nouns, pronouns, and phrases to other words in a sentence and can function as adjectives or adverbs. They provide additional detail to a sentence by specifying when, where, why, or how something happened. Examples of prepositional phrases include “in the room,” “without reason,” and “in spite of their objections.”

Using prepositional phrases can make sentences more descriptive and impactful, adding depth and nuance to our language. The page is a valuable resource for English learners as it offers tables that summarize rules and functions, along with sample sentences and a list of frequently made mistakes. These resources make the learning process more accessible and help learners better understand the topic.

The page is an indispensable means for English learners as it offers tables that summarize rules and functions, along with practical sentence examples and a list of frequently made mistakes. These resources make the learning process more comprehensible and help learners better understand the topic.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

As there are many types of prepositions, there is no exact way to use them. In general, they function as bridges or links that show the relationship between words in a sentence. Prepositions are useful for conveying aspects such as time, place, and movement. T

his grammar hub is critical as it includes every known subject related to prepositions and discusses each one in great detail, including information about their types and specific functions. Feel free to look through all the sub-pages and use them in whatever capacity it will supplement your studies. 

They can’t. Prepositional phrases consist of a preposition and its object, which can be a noun, pronoun, or noun clause functioning as a noun. Gerunds, or present participle forms of verbs, can also be used as nouns and can be part of a prepositional phrase, but they are not considered verbs within the context of the phrase.

It’s important to note that any list of the “most common” English vocabulary, including prepositions, is not absolute. English is an ever-evolving language, with new words and phrases constantly gaining popularity and eventually becoming integrated into standard use.

For example, “google” becoming a verb. Therefore, this list of the 10 most widely used prepositions is subject to change over time. However, most resources agree that the top 10 most commonly used prepositions are in, on, to, for, at, by, from, with, of, and about. Each of these prepositions has multiple meanings and unique functionalities.

These are the prepositions of time, place, movement, measure, manner, source, possession, and agency. If you want to study them further, feel free to look through our grammar hub. is maintained by language specialists who aim to present the essentials of the English language with the independent language learner in mind. 

The difference between them is minor and not as notable as one might expect. Toward is American English, and towards is its British English counterpart. In the same manner, outta is the informal and slangy version of outta for some Americans, and round is the British English way of saying around.

Absolutely. Despite the commonly held belief that ending sentences with prepositions is incorrect, no grammar rule prohibits it. In fact, attempting to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition can often result in awkward, convoluted phrasing.

For example, the sentence “What are you looking at?” is far more natural and effective than the stilted “At what are you looking?” It’s important to note that many well-respected works of literature and other publications make use of sentence-ending prepositions, further demonstrating their acceptability in modern English.

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