Definition of Preposition for Kids

Hi dear reader. Understanding what a Preposition is, could be a challenge for most kids. That is why this post on Definition of Preposition for Kids is timely. As we learn, the kids should not be left out; we must assist them to understand some of these concepts in language learning and acquisition, too.

What is a Preposition?

On this site, we have discussed the definition of a preposition in one of our many posts. You can check it out under this title: What is a preposition? However our focus in this post is on the Definition of Preposition for Kids and how to break it down to their level. If you, as a teacher or a parents, want to explain prepositions to your kids, how do you do that? We’ve got you covered… let’s go on!

 How Do You Explain Preposition to a Child?

In explaining Definition of Preposition for Kids, you can start by telling them this… If we break the word Prepositions into two parts, we have ‘pre’ which means before and ‘positions’. To a large extent, prepositions have to do with the positions or placement of one thing in relation to another. We can, therefore, say that a preposition is a word that shows the relationship between one noun and another noun. In other words, it shows the positions of nouns or pronouns to one another.

You can have a cat and your cat may like sleeping in a particular position in the house, which could be under the bed, near the door, on the fridge, beside the car, below the deck, upon the roof, beneath the kitchen sink, across the gate, etc. These positions are actually prepositions! Let us write them out…

Examples of Prepositions

From the explanation above, we can bring out the words in bold letters as examples of prepositions in further discussing the Definition of Preposition for Kids. T above, we

  • Under
  • Near
  • On
  • Beside
  • Below
  • Upon
  • Beneath
  • Across
  • Beyond
  • In / Inside etc.

Let us put them in sentences for clearer understanding…

  • The ball is under the table.
  • John’s water bottle is near the flask.
  • The pot is on the cooker.
  • I like to sit beside my friend in the class.
  • The boxer hit his opponent below the belt.
  • Two tables are upon each other.
  • The bucket is beneath the kitchen sink.
  • Daddy parked his car across the road.
  • The price of the bicycle is beyond what I can afford.
  • The cake is inside the fridge.
  • We went to welcome the man at the airport.
  • She was standing by the door.
  • Ronaldo kicked the ball over the bar.
  • Smith went to the market.
  • The flying kite was above the reach of the boys.
  • A big rat went through the hole in the fence.
  • He put his boots outside the house.
  • Martins left his schoolbag in the car.
  • The engineer imported his tools from
  • Jane bought some biscuits for the children.

Using a Noun Phrase to Explain a Preposition

When you look at all the examples of preposition we gave in the sentences above, you will notice something unique. Can you see it? Okay, let me tell you. All the prepositions come before two sets of words which we usually call a noun phrase. So, you can also explain a preposition as a word which typically comes in front of a noun phrase.

Examples of Prepositions before a Noun Phrase

  • The tires OF the car
  • The man IN the building
  • The ball UNDER the table
  • John’s water bottle NEAR the flask
  • The pot ON the cooker

The underlined words are noun phrase while the words in capitals are the prepositions. I hope this is clear to you and you can identify prepositions in front of noun phrases in any book, novel, magazine, newspaper, etc. you read. Do you mind giving it a try? Good!

 Prepositional Complement

What is a prepositional complement? It is simply the noun phrase which follows the preposition. We call it that name because it serves as a complement to the preposition.

Prepositional Phrase

How do you explain a prepositional phrase? We usually refer to the preposition together with its complement as a prepositional phrase. I hope you understand this and you will be able to identify a prepositional phrase when next you see one.

Stranded Prepositions

Is this not funny to you? We know people can be stranded; what about inanimate prepositions? Can they be stranded, too? Okay, let us see why we have stranded prepositions. In some situations, some prepositions do not have a prepositional complement following them, and they are then referred to as stranded prepositions.

Examples of Stranded Prepositions

At the end of many wh-questions and relative clauses, the wh-word or relative pronoun in front of the preposition plays the role of the prepositional complement.

  • What is this machine for?
  • Where are you going to?
  • I’ll ask the man I was talking to.
  • Can you confirm which place she was coming from?
  • Whose case are you taking up?

Closing Words

I’m certain you have learnt a great deal on the definition of preposition for kids and how you can explain preposition to a child. There are other educative posts on this site that you will find are of immense benefits like the ones listed below and many others. Kindly check them out and share with friends, teachers, families and colleagues; even schools.


  • Jaymz Boanerges

    I am a teacher of English. I have a passion is to impart the knowledge of the English language to the teeming populace in Nigeria and beyond, especially students at all levels of education, so that they can acquire both linguistic competence and linguistic performance in the language, gaining mastery of and comprehending the nitty-gritty of the language.

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