What is a Preposition

What is a Preposition (With Forms and Examples)

One day a chicken on the right side of the road called out to another chicken on the left side of the road: ‘hello, can you come over HERE?’ The chicken on the left replied: ‘No, this is HERE, where you are is THERE!’ So an argument ensued on who was HERE and who was THERE.

The story illustrates the importance of POSITIONS of things or entities to one another. Examples of prepositions include above, under, beside, upon, beneath, across, beyond, etc. Prepositions, as a Part of Speech, account for the relationship among entities in a sentence. It could be between a noun and a pronoun, a noun and another noun, a noun and other grammatical entities in a sentence, etc.

Prepositions in English: Definitions

A preposition belongs to the closed class in the Parts of Speech. This post examines what a preposition is, it’s various types and different examples to help the reader comprehend the concept of a preposition. A preposition is a word that shows the relationship between two nouns or pronouns in a sentence. Generally, prepositions show the positions among other words in the sentence. It is used to link nouns, pronouns, or phrases to other words within a sentence and they come in front of nouns.

Forms of Prepositions with Examples

There are two basic types: one-word prepositions and complex prepositions.

One Word Prepositions

These are the simple form prepositions; they have one word. The following are examples: to, up, for, from, down, about, beside, upon, under, over, behind, between, before, near, beneath, beyond, with, throughout, underneath, along, across, behind, outside, towards, in, of, next, through, into, on, off, around, within, at, out, without, onto, below, by, inside, after, except, until, unlike, etc.

Complex Prepositions

These are prepositions that contain two or more words. Complex prepositions include: away from, because of, in the light of, in view to, instead of, in front of, on top of, in place of, except for, round, in addition to, up to, as for, as, along with, according to, against, in spite of, out of, by means of, apart from, except for, with reference to, etc.

Types of Prepositions

There are three types of prepositions. These are time prepositions, place prepositions and direction prepositions.

Time Prepositions

These are prepositions that indicate the time. Examples include: before, after, during, until, etc.

Place Prepositions

These prepositions are those that indicate position. Examples include: behind, around, between, and against, etc.

Direction/Movement Prepositions

These indicate movement or direction. Examples include: across, up, down, over, through, from, to, etc.

Stranded Prepositions

These are prepositions that come at the end of many ‘wh-questions’ and relative clauses, where the fronted relative clause or ‘wh-question’ has the role of prepositional complement. Look at these examples:

  • Who are you waiting for?
  • What is the money meant for?
  • Who is he talking to?
  • Where are you going to?
  • Show me the angle you are reasoning from?

Other Prepositional Concepts

There are various grammatical concepts usually associated with the preposition. These include:

Prepositional complement

Prepositional Phrase

Phrasal verbs

Prepositional Verbs

Prepositional objects

Phrasal-Prepositional Verbs

There is a need to differentiate phrasal verbs from prepositional verbs. (See Differences between Phrasal verbs and Prepositional verbs). I have provided a detailedexplanation on these other prepositional concepts, with illustrative examples! Do yourself a favour and check out the posts!

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