What is a preposition?

A preposition is a word used to show a relationship between other words in a sentence.  Prepositions can express things like time, place, direction, and manner.  Prepositions are used in phrases and take objects (nouns/object pronouns).


on  /  at  /  in  /  above  /  below  /  up  /  down  /  inside  /  outside  /  behind  /  along  /  across  /  near  /  before  /  after  /  with  /  without  /  off  /  over  /  under  /  between  /  beside  /  around  /  through  /  into  /  towards

What is a prepositional phrase?

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that shows the relationship of an object in the phrase to another word in the sentence.  At minimum, a prepositional phrase will begin with a preposition and end with an object (a noun or pronoun).  Prepositional phrases may also include words that modify or describe the object, such as articles, possessive adjectives, and descriptive adjectives.

Prepositional Phrases

on the table   /  at a movie /  in my closet  /  above the counter  /  below my head  /  up the river  /  down the stairs  /  inside the store  /  outside the cage  /  behind the tree  /  along the edge  /  across the lake  /  near a bridge  /  before the door  /  after lunch  /  with him  /  without shoes  /  off the cliff  /  over the top  /  under the basket  /  between the lines  /  beside your bed /  around  here  /  through the needle  /  into the sea  /  towards that wall

What are prepositions of time?

Prepositions of time are words that express a time relationship between two or more things.

in [time]
To show an unspecific time during a month, a season, a year, or day

Prepositional Phrases |  in

  1. The store will open in January.
  2. The man and woman will marry in 2022.
  3. The children have practice in the afternoon.

on [time]
To show a specific day and specific dates

Prepositional Phrases |  on

  1. The test is on Tuesday.
  2. It was signed on July 4, 1776.
  3. I don’t work on weekends.

at, past [time]
To show a past or particular time

Prepositional Phrases |  at/past

  1.  The New Year begins at midnight.
  2. We should meet at 1:30 p.m.
  3. It was past midnight when Mark left.

from, to [time]
To show a point in time when something started (from)

To show a point in time when something ends (to)

Prepositional Phrases |  from/to

  1. The store is open from 10:00 to 8:00.
  2. The sale will last from the 20th to the 24th.
  3. The restaurant was closed from May to July.

til, until [time]
Also to show the end of a period of time

Prepositional Phrases |  til/until

  1. I will stay until the end of the year.
  2. He worked from ten a.m. til four p.m.
  3.  I have school until three o’clock.

since [time]
To show a time in the past up to the time of consideration

Prepositional Phrases |  since

  1. Tom has been here since morning.
  2. He had worked there since 1999.
  3.  A lot has changed since the new year.

for [time]
To show a length of time

Prepositional Phrases |  for

  1. We will be there for an hour.
  2. Can I stand here for a while.
  3. We’ve been waiting for a long time.

before, by [time]
To show a time earlier than, but not later than

Prepositional Phrases |  before/by

  1. They talked before the class.
  2. He worked on his homework before dinner.
  3. We will eat by noon.

during [time]
To show when something happens

Prepositional Phrases |  before/by

  1. John read during class.
  2. What will you do during lunch.
  3. He was talking during the test.

What are prepositions of place?

Prepositions of place are words that state the location or place relationship between two things.

in [place]
To show a place within (or within the bounds of something)

Prepositional Phrases |  in

  1. The customer is in the store.
  2. The boys are in line.
  3. Today, practice is in the park.

on [place]
To show a place on the surface of; to show accidental contact with; supported by

Prepositional Phrases |  on

  1.  The napkins are on aisle ten.
  2. John hit his head on the table.
  3. I spilled coffee on the table.

at [place]
To show a particular place

Prepositional Phrases |  at

  1.  Ellen is at the customer service desk.
  2. We can meet at the corner.
  3. They are at the store right now.

above [place]
To show a space over and not touching; a higher level

Prepositional Phrases |  above

  1. He held his arms above his head.
  2. Look above the top shelf.
  3. The apartment is above the restaurant.

behind [place]
To show something at or to the far side (of something else)

Prepositional Phrases |  behind

  1.  Look behind you.
  2. The plates are behind the bowls.
  3. John is walking behind the store.

below [place]
To show something at a lower level

Prepositional Phrases |  below

  1.  I put it below the counter.
  2. This city is below sea level.
  3. There is a hole in the wall below the picture.

beside [place]
To show at the side of

Prepositional Phrases |  beside

  1. The chair is beside the desk.
  2. Put the shirt beside the rack.
  3. Will you sit beside me?

between [place]
To show the space at, into or across the space

Prepositional Phrases |  between

  1. Michael sat between his teachers.
  2. Look between those two books.
  3. I put the table between the racks.

by [place]
To show a place beside a place or object

Prepositional Phrases |  by

  1. He set the spoons by the knives.
  2. We walked by the store yesterday.
  3. The parents stood by their children.

inside [place]
To show a place within particular boundaries

Prepositional Phrases |  inside

  1. The teachers are inside the school.
  2. A television was on inside the house.
  3. We talked inside the church.

near [place]
To show a place a short distance away

Prepositional Phrases |  near

  1. We are near the end of the book.
  2. The restaurant near my house is great.
  3. David went for a walk near the ocean.

over [place]
To show a place directly upward from; above so as to cover

Prepositional Phrases |  over

  1. I placed a blanket over the presents.
  2. The boy jumped over the fence.
  3. He pulled the shirt over his head.

 What are prepositions of movement?

Prepositions of place are words that state the location or place relationship between two things.  Here are some commons examples.

across [movement]
To show movement from one side to the other

Prepositional Phrases |  across

  1. Gary walked across the street.
  2. I threw a paper plane across the room.
  3. We are going to drive across the county.

along [movement]
To show movement in a line that follows something

Prepositional Phrases |  along

  1. Let’s walk along the river.
  2. I ran along the shoreline.
  3. I learned along the way

around [movement]
To show movement in circles or in the area of something

Prepositional Phrases |  around

  1. We drove around the mall three times.
  2. He ran around the bases slowly.
  3. Let’s walk around the block.

down [movement]
To show movement to a lower position

Prepositional Phrases |  down

  1.  He lives down the street.
  2. Jill ran down the hill.
  3. He poured the coffee down the drain.

from [movement]
To show the starting space of a movement

Prepositional Phrases |  from

  1. He came from the other team.
  2. He traveled  from New Mexico
  3. I took the roses from the garden

into [movement]
To  show movement that enters a space

Prepositional Phrases |  into

  1.  We moved into a new house.
  2. Henry ran into the street.
  3. She threw a chair into the pool.

onto [movement]
To show movement to a surface

Prepositional Phrases |  onto

  1.  He tossed his jacket onto the bed.
  2. I stepped onto the stage for the first time.
  3. The team ran onto the court.

over [movement]
To show a movement at a higher level than something else

Prepositional Phrases |  over

  1. Laura threw the ball over my head.
  2. A flock of birds just few over my house
  3. The cat jumped onto the table.

through [movement]
To show movement in one side and out the other side

Prepositional Phrases |  through

  1. She handed me a pie through the window.  
  2. We road our bikes through the park
  3. They ran through the tunnel

to [movement]
To show the ending space of a movement

Prepositional Phrases |  to

  1. They moved to a new house.  
  2. I am driving to the store
  3. Allie hit the ball to the shortstop

toward [movement]
 To show movement in the direction of

Prepositional Phrases |  toward

  1. The cat crept toward the dog.
  2. The platoon headed toward the village
  3. Don’t come toward me

up [movement]
Movement to a higher position.

Prepositional Phrases |  up

  1. Jack walked up the hill.
  2. The spider crawled up my neck.
  3. I hiked up the mountain.

What are more examples of prepositional phrases.

When will your children arrive.


  1. They will be here at 7:00 p.m.
  2. They should be here by 7:00 p.m.
  3.  They will arrive in the morning.

Where are your kids?


  1. They are in California.
  2. They are at the zoo.
  3.  They are on the roller coaster.

Who is coming with us?


  1. My grandparents are coming with us?
  2. Dave will be with us until ten p.m.

What are you doing?


  1. I am looking for my notebook.
  2. I am looking at my mail.
  3. I am talking to the receptionist.

Why are you leaving?


  1. I need to stop by my office.
  2.  My boss told me to be on time.
  3. I have a meeting with my counselor.

Had you seen any of them before today.


  1. I saw the boys once during the summer?
  2. No, I didn’t see any of them until today.
  3. Yes, I saw them around the beginning of the year.

Can you help me with the party invitations?


  1.  I can help you for few minutes.
  2. I can help until around 4:00 p.m.

Basic ESL Workbooks

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