Advanced English Grammar



Prepositions of Direction

Prepositions of direction are few in number but they are also important to note.

They include those found below and are best learned and understood in context.

Study the examples below carefully and then do the exercise that follows. You can check your answers to see how well you know these prepositions of direction.

AROUND = in a circular direction

I've driven around this neighborhood three times and I still can’t find their house.

AT = in the (general) direction of

The little boy threw a stone at the little girl.

AWAY FROM = leaving a place, a person or an object

She ran away from home when she was sixteen.

DOWN = descending motion

Raindrops ran down the windscreen making it difficult to see the road.

DOWN TO = descending motion expressing a final destination

The child fell down to the ground.

FOR = having the view or destination of

The Israelites set out for The Promised Land when they left Egypt.

INTO= a destination within something

The frightened deer disappeared into the forest.

ONTO= a destination on something

He put the plate onto the table and began to eat his dinner.

OUT OF = a destination outside of something

He ran out of the room as if he were on fire.

TO = in the specific direction of

To the hospital, please. And hurry! This is an emergency.
Could you give this DVD to Jill, please?

TOWARDS = in the general direction of

We were driving towards the city center when we had an accident.

UP = ascending, in a general motion

The smoke from the fire went up into the sky.

UP TO = ascending, expressing specific destination

You'll be able to reach the cat if you climb up to the top of the tree.


Set phrases for Prepositions of Direction

He couldn't wait for his vacation to get away from it all.
The cost of a new car brought him down to earth.
When situations worsen we say we go from out of the frying pan, into the fire.

** Special Note ** 

When you shout at someone. (You are angry)
When you shout to someone. (You want to attract their attention.)

You throw the ball at someone. (You want to hit them with the ball.)
You throw the ball to someone. (You want them to have it, you give it to them.)

Prepositions of Direction Exercise 


Choose from the drop down menu the preposition(s) that best complete the sentences below.


1. I'm upset because my mother shouted ___ me again. That's the second time today!
2. The deer ran ____ the woods and into the road before we hit it.
3. John ran _____ his responsibilities as a parent and left his family.
4. They were throwing darts ____ the target on the wall when I saw them.
5. He got ____ the top rung of ladder and was too scared to come down.
6. The snow fell ____ the ground and seemingly covered it in a thick white blanket.
7. We were traveling ____ Athens when the earthquake occurred.
8. He ran ____ the room shouting FIRE! FIRE!
9. He set the open book ____ the desk and asked the child to read.
10. We walked all ___ the city center but couldn't find the store.
 Your score is  

For more information about prepositions of direction click on the preceding link.