What is a preposition?

Some of the most common words in the English language are prepositions. But just what is a preposition?

Prepositions connect nouns and pronouns in a sentence to show the relationship between the two words or phrases. A preposition will always come before a noun or pronoun (hence the suffix ‘pre-’) to show its connection to the word placed before the preposition. If that sounds confusing, here are some examples showing prepositions in sentences:

  • He read the book about bears. (Here, the preposition ‘about’ shows the relationship between the book and its subject, bears.)
  • She put her coat behind mine. (In this sentence, the preposition ‘behind’ shows that location of one coat in relation to the other.)

Prepositions can also be used in prepositional phrases.

  • She rode her bike around the yard. (In this sentence, the prepositional phrase ‘around the yard’ shows where the girl rode her bike.)
  • My dad bought a new jacket for my sister. (Here, the preposition ‘for’ shows who got the new jacket.)

The following list shows the most common prepositions:

  • above, about, across, against, along, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by, down, during, except, for, from, in, inside, into, like, near, of, off, on, since, to, toward, through, under, until, up, upon, with and within.

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