What are Prepositions of Direction?
Prepositions of direction refer to people or things that are headed someplace, usually with an active verb involved. In other words, they show a relationship with motion, which is why they are also known as prepositions of movement. In some books or references, they are grouped together with prepositions of place or location.
Here are some examples of prepositions of direction in sentences:
- The ball flew across the field with great speed.
- I always get a strange thrill when the car goes through a tunnel.
- Someone take this cake away from me or I won’t stop eating it.
- Strong winds blew the roof off the old building.
- My dog ran out of the yard to chase a rooster that wandered inside.
Prepositions of Direction Rules
|Prepositions require objects||Prepositional phrases are made up of prepositions and their objects. While there are many sentence structures that split prepositional phrases, their objects are easily identifiable. Let’s look at some examples:|
– Eason walked into the office with the mock-up.
– Jack and Jill went up the hill.
– Your cat is hiding under the couch.
|Placement||With the exception of some sentence structures, prepositions are almost always found before their objects: nouns and pronouns. For example:|
– We were taking pictures around the property.
– This trail leads towards the temple.
– They drove past the area with an odd feeling of dread.
Take note that objects of prepositions function differently from objects of verbs. Objects of verbs typically “receive” actions. On the other hand, objects of prepositions are nouns or pronouns either referenced or affected by the preposition, which doesn’t necessarily receive an action.
|Pronouns as Objects of Prepositions||When pronouns are used as objects of the preposition, they are always in the objective case: me, us, you, him, her, it, them. For example:|
– Please give this to her.
– The birds were circling around me.
– Children ran toward their children when the clown arrived.
Examples of Prepositions of Direction
1. Kyle and Allen walked along the highway overpass at sunset.
2. Through thick and thin, the group of friends can count on each other.
3. They need to walk past the restaurant to find the alley that opens to the beach.
4. We all traveled from Victorias to Dumaguete in one vehicle.
5. Can we really go around the world in 80 days?
6. Ha Jin walked into the conference room with the signed contracts.
7. Ezra pulled his socks up to reveal a Van Gogh print.
8. I called out to the cat but it ran away from me.
9. The tumbleweed cartwheeled across the dry desert.
10. Over the horizon, the summer moon cast a silver glow.
11. The bees fluttered through the open window in the attic.
12. Perry walked around the living room thinking to himself.
13. My grandmother, who likes to scare kids, once told me trolls lived under bridges.
14. Celeste leaned over the partition to get a close look at the news report.
15. Down by the river is a small patch of land that appears when the water is low.
Prepositions of Direction Exercises with Answers
Exercise on Prepositions of Direction
Choose the proper preposition of direction from the options given.
1. You need to be cautious when the current pulls you _______ the water.
2. Betsy and her friends walked _______ the steps carefully.
3. The plane landed _______ the runway without a hitch.
4. Having sold out her sandwiches, Tina pushed her empty trolley _______ the door.
5. It was difficult to get _______ the car with all the balloons I was holding.
1. a: You need to be cautious when the current pulls you under the water.
2. a: Betsy and her friends walked up the steps carefully.
3. b: The plane landed onto the runway without a hitch.
4. a: Having sold out her sandwiches, Tina pushed her empty trolley out the door.
5. b: It was difficult to get in the car with all the balloons I was holding.
Prepositions of Direction List
Below is a list of prepositions of direction with their definitions and examples:
|Above||at a higher place than something||A group of medical students moved to the apartment above us.|
|Across (from)/Opposite||moving from one side to the other of a given space||They ran across the street when it started to rain.|
|Along||from one point to another in a line||The couple held hands as they walked along the pavement.|
|Around||in the general area of something; moving in a curved line||Delia’s cats ran in circles around the pole.|
|Away from||a distance from someone or something||Move away from the snake; it could be venomous.|
|By||near or around the area||We tiptoed by the window.|
|Beneath||under something||Her phone was beneath some folders.|
|Behind||at or towards the back||Kyle walked behind me.|
|Below||lower than something||Stick the paper below this line.|
|Beside/Next to||at the side of someone or something||Herman sat next to me at the party.|
|Between||in the space that separates two people or things||There’s a river running between the two villages.|
|Close to/Near||a short distance away||Remus lives close to me.|
|Down||the opposite of up; moving from a higher to a lower point||We were hiking down the hill when the river came into view.|
|From||pointe to where movement begins||Brooke snatched the book from me.|
|In front of||some distance forward||Liam stood in front of me.|
|Into||towards a point inside something||It was a challenge to carry the fridge into the house.|
|Off||movement away from something; removing or disconnecting something||The boat sailed off the coast of Hoi An.|
|Onto||moving to a point on the surface of something||They climbed onto the roof to fix the cable.|
|Out/Out of||coming out of a place||It’s too loud, let’s get out of here.|
|Over||above or higher than something; directly upward||The Frisbee flew over the old man’s head.|
|Past||to or on the further side of||My house is just past the bakery.|
|Through||into one side and out of the other side||Gina’s heart was racing when they went through the last loop.|
|To||in the direction of||Leah and I walk to school every day.|
|Toward||similar to “to” with the difference that “to” usually indicates a result or completion but “toward” doesn’t||She walked toward him with a smile.|
|Under||below or lower than something||We set up the tent under a starry sky.|
|Up||further along something; from a lower point to something higher||It was romantic to walk up the street with him at night.|
Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners
|Use Grammar Lists||English learning tools such as lists and tables can’t replace books, but they are functional guides. They simplify complex grammar subjects into concise models, patterns, rules, and sentence examples. A great way to utilize this method of learning is to create your own lists and tables. Doing so naturally customizes your material, tailoring them according to your learning preferences and language requirements.|
|Use Audio-Visual Resources||Independent learning is a valuable supplement to traditional classroom instruction. But to get its full advantage, you should use the right tools. By adding your favorite English language films, TV shows, social media channels, music, and podcasts to your self-study routine, you’ll attain invaluable insight into how native and non-native English speakers use the language in different social, academic, and professional situations. This will ultimately improve your understanding of language elements such as sarcasm and wordplay, and enhance your vocabulary and sentence construction skills.|
|Practical Use||For many English language learners, studying English is especially challenging because they live or study in places where the language isn’t used or spoken by the general public. The only real way to improve language skills is to use it regularly, which puts many students at a disadvantage. If you’re in the same circumstances, it’s important to remember that there are ways to make an “English environment” that you can benefit from. Organizing a study group with classmates and friends is a good starting point. This will provide a chance to explore language with other people who have similar goals. Furthermore, you can maintain personal relationships with English speakers, native and non-native alike.|
Common Errors Made by English Learners
|Wrong Preposition||Prepositions are difficult and confusing to study because each one can possess many meanings and distinctive functions. It’s crucial to study the definitions of each preposition and take note of how they’re used in sentences. For example in the tent doesn’t mean the same thing as around the tent. The first one refers to something inside an enclosed space (The man is sleeping in the tent.), while the second one can mean either someone is moving in a curved path inside the tent or circling outside it. (Something is moving around the tent). Learn these differences and practice them in writing and speaking. In time, you’ll be able to pick the correct preposition that you need for your own sentences.|
|Infinitives||Verbs NEVER follow prepositions. Verbs are not part of prepositional phrases. Let’s look at some examples:|
– I like to sing.
The sentence doesn’t have a preposition. The word “to” is part of the infinitive participle “to sing.”
– They scolded her for singing too loudly.
The word “singing” is derived from the verb “sing” but it functions as a gerund, which is used as a noun.
Many resources online classify “to” as a preposition (which is one of its uses as a word) but then continue giving infinitive participles as examples. This is wrong.
|Intransitive and Transitive Verbs||Prepositions can be used to establish relationships between intransitive verbs and nouns that can act as their objects to some degree. For example:|
– He climbed over the counter.
– They sang in the studio.
On the other hand, prepositions shouldn’t be used with the objects of transitive verbs.
– She sliced the onion.
– He opened the drawer.
These sentences have transitive verbs and adding prepositions to their objects (e.g. She sliced over the onion. or He opened from the drawer.) would make the sentences incorrect.
Many English language students forget when to include the prepositions either because they don’t realize the necessity or they’re directly translating from their native language.
Learning Strategies and Best Practices with Prepositions of Direction
In the English language, prepositions are some of the most widely used words. However, the number of prepositions and each one’s multiple meanings make mastering them quite a big challenge. Prepositions are rarely learned individually in traditional classroom settings. In many instances, English learners learn prepositions through exposure and experience. They hear phrases spoken a particular way and add them to their own vocabulary. The following are some best practices when studying and using prepositions of direction:
- Generally, you don’t need to know the intricate technicalities of English grammar, and prepositions are one of the most perplexing topics you can ever come across. Instead of focusing on their individual meanings, study prepositional phrases. Listen to and take note of how English speakers use them and then try them out when you can. There are standard expressions in English, which are often independent of rules or rationale. It’s just the way they’re spoken. Why is it “on a bus” but “in a taxi?” So avoid asking “Why do you use this and not that?” Instead, ask “How do you say this?” This is one way to develop fluency organically.
- When in doubt, refer to a list or a dictionary. Also, remember that you don’t need to use prepositions all the time. If you’re having a hard time choosing the proper word, you can exercise your paraphrasing skills and remake your sentence in a manner that doesn’t require a preposition.
- Read, practice, talk. The more prepositional phrases you have acquired, the more precise you’ll become in picking not only the proper words but also the proper ways of using them. In time, you wouldn’t even think about it, and use the words instinctively.
Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand preposition form of situation and comparision, preposition form of time and preposition form of place.
Prepositions of Direction Frequently Asked Questions
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