What are Prepositions of Means?

Prepositions of means are words used to describe the means by which something is accomplished. They are typically used to explain how an action took place, or how one thing is related to another.

Prepositions of means can be divided into two main categories: instrumental means and modal means. Instrumental means refer to a specific tool, device, or means that was used. Modal means showing the mode of operation or condition needed in order for something to happen.

Understanding these types of prepositions can help improve our writing by adding clarity to action phrases and describing relationships between ideas with more precision.

Prepositions of Means Rules

Learning these four critical rules when using phrases with Means will help communication become clearer and easier. With these four rules firmly entrenched in one’s grammar skillset, any English speaker can properly construct sentences with ease!

ObjectsFirst, always make sure the preposition has an object following it – otherwise, you may end up with a sentence that is barely comprehensible or even incorrect.
PlacementSecond, prepositions should not be used at the beginning of a sentence; instead, include them later as part of a larger phrase.
Reading AloudThird, avoid ending a sentence with a preposition – read your sentence aloud if you need help determining where it feels right.
ContextLastly, take care to choose the appropriate preposition based on purpose and context; using more than one can lead to confusing sentences.
Prepositions of Means Rules and Explanations Table
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Means Examples

Prepositions of means are used to indicate the means by which something is accomplished. Some common examples include:

  • “By car”
  • “By sea”
  • “On foot”

Prepositions of means serve to expand upon what is being said and provide context as they provide a concrete means by which an action is carried out.

They can also be used in conjunction with an active verb to create a more dynamic image. For example, if someone were describing how a friend arrived for lunch, instead of simply saying “She comes” they might say “She arrives by train.” This conveys the same message with much greater detail. Prepositions of means convey an essential means of communicating our ideas in a clear and concise way.

Means Exercises with Answers


  • She gets to school __.
  • He __ shore
  • She _ her package.
  • They travel _ the air.
  • She went __.


  • She gets to school by bus.
  • He swims to shore
  • She mailed her package.
  • They travel through the air.
  • She went on foot.

Prepositions of Means List

By“I travelled by train to visit my aunt.”
Via“We communicated with each other via email.”
With“We decorated with balloons.”
In“I relaxed in a hot bath.”
Through“I cooked dinner through trial and error.”
Prepositions of Means List Table
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

When it comes to mastering English, means such as prepositions pose unique issues for ESL students and language learners. Prepositions of means are words such as “by,” “on,” “through,” and “with” that indicate how something is accomplished or achieved.

Students should pay close attention when learning these means, as understanding the nuance between them is vital to using English correctly in both spoken and written form. By taking some extra time to understand prepositions of means, English language learners can significantly improve their successful communication of thoughts and ideas in the language.

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand preposition form of purpose and preposition form of agency.

Common Mistakes Made by English Learners

English learners often get tripped up when it comes to prepositions of means. These two words – means and by – can be easily confused with each other and the common mistake of swap means for by which changes the entire meaning of a sentence. For example, saying “I eat my dinner with chopsticks” instead of “I eat my dinner by chopsticks” implies that chopsticks have some mystical power over dinner when that is not the case.

It can also lead to a very confusing statement which has nothing to do with what was intended. Learning how to correctly use means, as well as all other prepositions, is important for developing effective communication skills that will allow students to communicate effectively and accurately in English

Common Mistakes:

1. Incorrect Tense

Why it Happens

Not having a firm grasp on correct preposition usage can confuse your statements. This can cause you to use the wrong prepositions and misconstrue your message.

Correct Use

When speaking English, you would use a preposition that reflects the subject in question. Keep context in mind when selecting your prepositions.

2. Lack of prepositions

Why it Happens

The easiest mistake is leaving out determiners when needed. Failing to use these in phrases can lead others to misinterpret what you are trying to express.

Correct Use

Prepositions join words to a person, place, or thing – for example, ‘the cat meowed’ or ‘I love pasta’.

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3. Inconsistency

Why it Happens

People forget how they described something before and change the context in a contradictory manner. This confuses the reader.

Correct Use

Be sure that your prepositions remain consistent throughout your writing. There should be no sudden shifts from ‘they’ to ‘this’ unless there was a clear shift in the thing being described.

4. Incorrect Usage

Why it Happens

You don’t know which prepositions to use, so you use too many and it confuses the statement.

Correct Use

Using too many prepositions can make your writing sound monotonous and can also lead to viewers losing interest. Therefore it is important to focus on expressing yourself clearly and effectively with them.

Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes:

It can be easy to make mistakes with prepositions of means, but there are effective tips to make sure you use them correctly.

  • When speaking or writing, it’s important to remember that means is usually followed by “by” when referring to a means of transport like a car or train. For example, you would say “He traveled by car”, rather than He traveled “in” car.
  • Additionally, you should try not to simply switch means for instruments when talking about how something was accomplished; means carry more of the connotation of using something as transportation or conveyance.
  • Similarly, pay close attention to commonly mixed-up words that sound similar like “beneath” and “besides” – one means below and the other means next to.

With practice, mastering prepositions of means can become second nature and will help ensure your communication is always clear and accurate.

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Learning Means Strategies and Best Practices

Learning means strategies and best practices is an important part of mastering the English language. Prepositions of means are a type of preposition that express how something is done or how it occurs. For example, “by means of” means using or with the help of something.

To become proficient in the use of prepositions of means, one should know all the various means available for expressing different ideas and be able to choose the right one when communicating.

Additionally, memorizing other examples like “through means of” will provide additional insight into understanding these types of prepositions. With practice, it’s possible to quickly identify and learn these key expressions which can make conversations more precise and meaningful. Keep reading for more useful tips:

Tip 1: Study a List

Why it helps

Learning the various forms and using them properly in speaking and writing is easier than it seems with daily practice. A list can simplify this process and make it seem less daunting.

Daily Life Example

The best way to learn to use determiners correctly is to study a list of prepositions and their usages, and then practice writing sentences with them.

Tip 2: Practice Reading

Why it helps

Exposing yourself to prepositions hidden between other words can help you identify them faster and more accurately.

Daily Life Example

To ensure that you understand how frequently a type of preposition should be used it’s important to practice reading with them as well, so the meanings become clear. So keep a book of your choice on hand and highlight every preposition you come across.

Tip 3: Everyday Conversations

Why it helps

By applying the prepositions exercise to everyday conversations, you’ll find these words easy to remember and use in the near future.

Daily Life Example

Take your time when speaking to people. Take note of the prepositions they use, and try and repeat them back in different contexts. You can also do this from the comfort of your home by recording yourself or using an AI assistant.

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Prepositions of Means Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to expressing the means of a certain action, prepositions can be quite useful.

For example, you can use the preposition “by” to denote means: “He took a taxi to work by car.” This means he traveled by car but used another means of transportation—in this case, a taxi—to get him there.

You can also express means with other prepositions like “with” and “using”, as in “She wrote her essay with a pen.” or “He solved the puzzle using his intuition”. Prepositions of means provide an excellent way for people to concisely express how each action was completed.

Prepositions are a means of providing information about the relationships between words within a sentence. They consist of short, connecting words like “in,” “below” and “on” that are used to express location in time or space and the means by which something is done.

Prepositions help give a clearer indication of what terms like “in front,” “backward” or “through” actually mean, as well as influencing other details such as grammar and ambiguity. Though they typically appear at the front of sentences and provide crucial meaning, prepositions should not be used casually as doing so can lead to confusion and misinterpretation.

Teaching a preposition of means is an important part of grammar instruction as it helps students understand how to correctly express movement and location in relation to something else.

To give students the scope and depth they need, start with a simple explanation that describes how means refers to the means of transportation or traveling, such as walking, running, swimming, flying, and so on.

Incorporate visuals or dramatization when introducing means of transportation to help younger learners understand better and engage in the lesson.

As the learners digest this information and adjust to it, gradually introduce more challenging exercises based on means of travelling. These could include filling gaps in sentences that feature means of transport or dividing a group into two teams for an interactive roleplay-like activity involving means of travelling from one designated place to another.

Prepositions are words that describe the relationship between two other words, usually a noun and another part of speech. A means for example is one type of preposition; by means of, with means to, and in means of are all examples of means prepositions.

Means prepositions indicate a means or a method of doing something such as in means of transportation. This type of preposition describes how an action or thing is accomplished or how it comes about.

A preposition is a means of expressing the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence. Prepositions typically show time, location, direction, or logical relationship between ideas.

Examples of prepositions include words like on, over, under, above, and below. Knowing how to correctly use these words within sentences helps bolster strong written communication skills.

It takes practice to be able to authentically incorporate these words into different types of writing scenarios but is well worth the effort when the content reads fluidly with proper grammar.

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