Prepositions are very important when speaking English. Many students either use the wrong one or have a missing preposition altogether. So what is a preposition, and why is it important?
A preposition is a word that expresses the relationship between a noun or pronoun and another word in the sentence.
A preposition does not function by itself. A preposition must have an object of the preposition, which is the noun or pronoun that relates to something else in the sentence.
A prepositional phrase is made up of the preposition and its object, along with any modifiers of the object.
Examples of prepositions:
Examples of prepositional phrases (the preposition is underlined and the object of the preposition is italicized):
At the beach
In the blue chair
Across the highway
During the school's play
Before the football game
Outside the front gate
Functions of Prepositions:
Prepositions are tricky little beasts. The relative shortness of the words (most are six letters or under) and their often misplaced role in the overall scheme of things mean that we should treat them carefully
Prepositions have basically 2 functions.
The 1st function of the preposition is to connect the noun (all types of nouns) to the rest of the sentence
The 2nd function of the preposition is specify the position of the nouns (person or object)
There are basically 3 types of prepositions:
Time Prepositions - Time prepositions are used to clarify the time of that something or someone of an action. An example of time prepositions are at, on, in, while, during etc.
Place prepositions - specify the place someone or somebody. Example of time prepositions are: at, on, in, while, during etc
Direction Prepositions - Direction prepositions are used to clarify the direction of someone or something. Examples of direction prepositions are: under, over, right, left etc.
What exactly are prepositions and how are they used in English?
In a list of English prepositions you will find very common words such as 'in', 'up', 'behind', 'from', and 'with'. Prepositions hold a privileged position as parts of speech in that they are a 'closed class'. In other words, they are a select group of words that don't accept new members to their club. This is in contrast to nouns, adjectives and verbs, which welcome new additions to their respective groups all the time.
While prepositions are limited in number, they are important because they act as vital markers to the structure of a sentence; they mark special relationships between persons, objects, and locations. For this reason, we should think carefully about how we incorporate the teaching and learning of prepositions into our classes.
1. The prepositions usually come before the noun.
2. Prepositions can be used with all forms of nouns (e.g. collective nouns, pronouns etc).
3. Prepositions can't come after a verb, but can be used before a gerund or verb in noun form.
4. The rules above do not change and there are no exceptions to the rules.
I hope this clarifies some confusion for you. Remember to use them when speaking, and your English will sound less broken and more native. Sign up for a trial lesson if you have more questions. Good luck!