Advanced English Grammar



Preposition Definitions

Are preposition definitions as important as learning the definitions of other words?

Probably not.

But knowing how to use prepositions correctly is an important factor in perfecting your advanced level of the English language.

In fact, it's prepositions that many times cause difficulties for learners of the English Language. Not because prepositions are difficult, but because prepositions are used in relation to other words, and depending on how they are used, can change meaning.

I recommend that my students learn prepositions in combination with other words because that's the way you will usually see them being used.

Look over the following information and then go to the pages in this site that have exercises for those preposition definitions you are having any troubles with.

Place (over, near, beside, in, on, under, etc.)

“The book is on the desk.”

Time (at, in, on, etc.)

“Class starts at five o'clock.”

Direction (toward, into, through, to, etc.)

“The ball went through the window.”

Agent (by)

“This painting was done by a famous painter.”

Instrument (by, with)

“I heard about this place by word of mouth. (Communication)

“He came by train.” (Transportation)

“He opened his car door with an electronic key.” (Instrument or tool)

Possession (of)

“She broke the clasp of her necklace.”

Measure (by, of)

“We should by cereal by bulk... it's cheaper.”

Capacity (as)

“John worked as a chef until he retired.”

Similarity (like)

“Mari sings like an angel.”


Preposition Definitions - SPECIAL NOTE 1

We never use for + verb + ing to express purpose. 


“He went to the mall for buying some new jeans.” 

This is wrong usage!


Preposition Definitions - SPECIAL NOTE 2

We use by + no article when talking about communication and transportation.


by radio, by phone, by bus, by car, by boat etc.


The definition of the word preposition is... "a word that shows the relationship between a noun, pronoun, and / or other words in a sentence. 

To go to the main page for prepositions and to learn more preposition definitions click on the preceding link.