Advanced English Grammar



What is a Preposition?


Answering the 'what is a preposition' question isn't all that difficult. The short answer is: a preposition is a word that connects (or links) nouns, pronouns and phrases with other words in the sentence. That's it.

See, I told you it wasn't all that difficult.

Now, as I'm sure you already know, when it comes to English language grammar there's always a little bit more to know. A one sentence definition may answer the question we ask but...

Is that all there is to know?


First off, you should know that a preposition denotes (or shows) the position and/or relationship of one object, action or idea to another. 

Next, you should know that it is a word that is 'positioned' or 'placed' before another word. Therefore, the word "preposition" literally derives from... pre = meaning, 'before' and position = meaning, 'place.'

As mentioned above, prepositions show the position and/or relationship of one object, action or idea to another.

For example, someone might say, "I get off work at about 5:00pm." Here, 'about' shows the relationship of that person getting off work, to the time, 5:00pm.

Or, someone might say, "my books are inside my backpack." 'Inside' shows the location relationship between the books and the backpack.

In answering the quesition, you really should come up with more than just a short, one sentence definition. In fact, if you spend a little time on the other preposition pages available from this site, I'm sure you'll improve your knowledge so much that you, too, can answer the question: what is a preposition?