Simple Prepositions.

Fishes live in water.
Put the oranges on that table.
We passed through a dark forest.

The words in, on, through in the sentences above are called prepositions. They are so called because they are placed before nouns or noun phrases they control. Such nouns and noun phrases are called objects of preposition. Prepositions indicate the relationship between two words or phrases.

Some simple prepositions commonly used:

About,     before,     down,     of,       since,     above,
Behind,     during,     off,     than,     across,     below,
For,     on,     through,     after,     beneath,     from,
Upon,      throughout,     against,     beside,     in,     outside,
Opposite,     along,     between,     into,     over,     to,    
Amidst,     beyond,     like,     till,     towards,      around,
By,     inside,     round,     toward,   at, until, near,    up,
Under,    without,    with,    past,    within.

Phrase prepositions: There are some phrases that act like prepositions.


 He put his own life in danger for the sake of his son.
 A big dog stood in front of the man gate.   

In all these sentences the phrases in italics are doing the work of prepositions.
Such phrases are called phrase prepositions.

Some phrase prepositions in common use:

According to,     by virtue of,     in comparison to, Along with,
by way of,     in favour of, Apart from,    for the sake of,    in front of,
As for,    except for,      in place of, Away from,   in case of,   in order to,
Because of,   in addition to,   in regard to, But for,  in course of,  in spite of,
By means of, on account of,  with a view to, Due to,  owing to   instead of.


a) Nouns and noun phrases as objects.

   He hid himself behind the tree.
   They stood around the dinning table.

b) Infinitives as objects.

   The bus is about to start.
c) Gerunds as objects.
   She is fond of playing on the piano.
   He is good at hunting.

d) Adverbs and adverbial phrases as objects.

  The bus starts from here.
   The doctor was here till a few minutes ago.

e) A clause as object.
   Your appointment depends on how you fare at the interview.
   Listen to what your father says.


i) A preposition is usually placed before the noun or the noun phrase which is its object.
    He is waiting for you outside (prep.) the hostel (noun).

ii) In some sentences prepositions come after the infinitive.
    He is a fine man to work with. (infinitive +prep.)
   This is a good hotel to stay at.

iii) Prepositions can come at the end of a relative clause and questions.
      This is not the umbrella I asked for.
       What is he looking at?

iv) Prepositions can be placed at the beginning of some questions.
     With whom did she go to the market?
     For which bus are you waiting?

v) Some sentences have two objects , a direct object and an indirect object. If we put the indirect object after the direct object, a preposition is necessary.

   I gave her a present.
   I gave a present to her.
   My father bought me a computer.
   My father bought a computer for me.


a) Preposition of time: at, on, in.
At is used for a point of time and also for festivals.

   We usually have dinner at 9 o’clock in the evening.
    Our grandparents came to meet us at Christmas.

On is used for particular day or for part of a day.

    We go to the grand mosque on Fridays.
     He was born on 20th January, 1965.

In is used for a period of time.
    It was very hot here in summer.
    World War II started in 1939.

Some other preposition of time: after, before, by, during, for, from, since, throughout, till, towards, until, within.

b) Prepositions of direction etc. : across, at, before, behind, below, beside, between, by, in, into, near, on, over, around, through, to, towards, under, up, upon, within, without.

The child ran across the road.
Look at the blackboard.
The stranger stood before the gate.
I go to school everyday.
Meet me at the station.

c) Prepositions of mode of travels: by, on.
 The group traveled by bus.(also by train/boat/air/taxi etc.)
 We will go there on bicycles. (also on foot /horse back/ motor cycle etc.)

d) Prepositions in phrases expressing cause, reason, purpose: of, from, because of, on, through, for, at.

The patient died of malaria.
My brother is suffering from influenza.
The accident occurred because of the driver’s negligence.
I sat in the examination for the job.
He reached the top through hard work.

e) Prepositions of manner: by, lie, with.

      He caught me by the neck.
      Don’t believe like a fool.
      The soldier faced the enemy with courage.

f) Prepositions of agency and instrumentality: with, an, by through, on.

   Ali shot the tiger with his gun.
   He was killed in an explosion.
   Send it by post.
The message has come through a friend.
 Speak to him on the telephone.

g) Prepositions of state or condition: at, in, on, under.
      The country is at war.
       Ali is in love.
      The workers are on strike.
       The bridge is under construction.

h) Prepositions of rate , measure etc.: at, on, by, for.

      He drives at a high speed.
      He worked on poor wages.
      Cloth is sold by the meter.
      I bought these books for a dollar each.


(i)  Verbs followed by different prepositions:

VERBS                       PREPOSITIONS                          NOUNS /NOUN PHRASES.

Abide                                   by                                            a decision, promise etc.
Abstain                                from                                        wine etc. taking part in something.
Accede                              to                                             request.
Accuse                                 of                                            crime.
Adapt                                   to                                            circumstances, condition.
Account                              for                                            money spent.
Agree                                    to                                            a proposal, suggestion.
Agree                                    with                                        person.
Aim                                       at                                             someone, something
Allot                                      to                                             a person.
Allude                                    to                                            an incident, a personetc.
Answer                                for                                             conduct
Apologize                           to                                              someone
Apologize                           for                                             misconduct, mistake
Appeal                                 to                                            a person, a higher court.
Appeal                                 against                                             a decision.
Appeal                                 for                                           help.
Apply                                    to                                             a person, office.
Apply                                     for                                           job, leave, permission.
Arrive                                     at                                            a place, a decision.
Arrive                                    in                                              city, country.
Avail                                     of                                             an opportunity.
Ask                                        for                                            someone, something.
Ask                                        from                                        person
Ask                                       about                                      something, someone.
Attend (give care to)      to                                            a job, aperson.
Attend (look after)           on                                           person.
Begin                                    at                                             a given time, place.
Believe                                 in                                              something.
Belong                                   to                                            someone, some place.
Boast                                                of                                 an achievement,  possession.
Break                                  into                                            a house.
Bring (something)           to                                               light.
Bring                                   down                             prices, government, aircraft.
Bring                                   out                                             a book, facts.
Bring                                    up                                              a child.
Burst                                   into                                             tears
Call                                     for                                   a doctor, police,
                                                                            an explanation.

Call                                   on                                     a person.
Call                                  out                                                a person.
Care                               for                                      someone, something.
Charge                         with                                    a mission, misbehaviour.
Come                        across                                                someone
Come                        of                                            a good family.
Compare                 with                                        peroson, things.
Compare                 to                                            dissimilar things
Comply                     with                                        a request, an order.
Consent                    to                                            a proposal.
Consist                      of                                            items, pages, members.
Consult                     with                                        a person on some matter.
Congratulate         on                                           success.
Count                        on                                           someone, something.
Dash                          against                                             a tree, wall.
Deal                           in                                             something
Deal                           with                                        a person, a subject.
Decide                      on/against                           something.
Depend                    on                                           someone, something.
Differ                          with                                        person.
Differ                          from                                       something
Die                              of                                            a disease
Die                              from                                       a wound.
Dissuade                   from                                       an action.
Dispose                      of                                            something.
Enter                          into                                         a contract, an agreement.
Escape                                  from                                       prison.
Excel                          in                                             music, painting.
Explain                      to                                            someone.
Fall                              in                                             love with someone.
Fight                          with/against                                   a person.
Get                            over                                       a shock, an illness.
Get                            through                                in examination.
Hope                          for                                           something.
Inquire                       into                                         an affair, complaint.
Inquire                       of                                            a person.
Inquire                       after                                       someone’s health.
Inform                        of                                            something.
Insist                           on/upon                               some point.
Interfere                   with                                        someone else’s affairs.
Invite                         to                                            a party.
Jump                         to                                            a conclusion.
Keep                          back                                      a secret
Knock                        at                                            a door.
Laugh                        at                                            a person, a thing.
Lay                              down                                     arms or condition.
Lead                          to                                            a result.
Listen                         to                                            a person.
Look                           up                                           a word.
Object                      to                                            a remark, proposal.
Part                            with                                        something.
Prefer                         to                                            someone, something.
Prepare                     for                                           examination
Prevent                     from                                       an action.
Provide                      for                                           one’s family.
Quarrel                      over/about                         something
Refer                          to                                            a subject, a person.
Result                         from                                       a cause
Reward                     for                                           honesty.
Run                             into                                         debt 
Run                             after                                       money, fashions.
Save                          from                                       harm
Search                       for                                           someone, something.
See                             through                                someone’s trick.
Send                          for                                           someone.
Smile                          at                                            someone.
Speak                        on                                           a subject
Speak                        of                                            a subject or someone.
Stand                                    by                                           someone, something.
Start                           for                                           a place.
Stick                           to                                            one’s decision, a point.
Succeed                   in                                             efforts, examination.
Sympathize              with                                        someone
Take                           off                                           an aeroplane.
Think                          of/about                              someone, something.
Think                          over                                       a problem
Touch                                    upon                                      a subject
Trust                           in                                             a person.
Vote                           for/against                           a person, resolution.
Wait                           for                                           person, a thing.
Wait                           on                                           a person.
Warn                          off/against                           danger
Yield                           to                                            someone, something.

Nouns followed by different prepositions:

Noun                          Preposition                           words

Access                      to                                            person.
Admission                 to                                            a place.
Affection                  for                                           a person.
Anxiety                     about                                                someone or something.
Application             for                                           a job.
Attack                      on                                           a person.
Candidate              for                                           election, examination.
Cause                        for                                           worry.
Claim                         on                                           a person.
Comment                on                                           a statement.
Comparison             with                                        a person or thing.
Comparison             between                              two persons or things.
Confidence             in                                             someone, something.
Contempt               for                                           a person.or thing.
Control                      over                                       someone , something.
Cure                           for                                           a disease,trouble.
Demand                   for                                           something.
Desire                         for                                           something.
Duty                           to                                            someone, something.
Effect                         of                                            medicines, temperature etc.
Escape                      from                                       prison,.
Excuse                       for                                           delay,absence.
Fondness                 for                                           something.
Freedom                   from                                       work, slavery.
Guarantee              for                                           a thing,or a person
Hope                          of                                            something
Information             about                                                someone,something.
Invitation                 to                                            a function
Key                             to                                            success, mystry      
Love                           of/for                                      someone, something.
Need                         for                                           something
Obedience              to                                            parents, orders.
Objection                 to                                            something.
Opposition               to                                            a person, pan.
Order                         for                                           things
Order                         for/against                           doing something.
Preference               for                                           something or someone.
Preference               to/over                                             a person/thing.
Pride                           in                                             something
Progress                     in                                             work.
Quarrel                      with                                        someone
Quarrel                      between                              two persons
Request                    for                                           help,leave.
Result                         of                                            an action.
Skill                              in                                             doing something.
Sympathy                 for                                           a person or a cause.
Taste                          for                                           something.
Want                         of                                            something.

Adjectives followed   by Prepositions:

Adjectives                            Prepositions                          words

Acceptable                       to                                            someone.
Accomplished                    in                                             dancing,  singing.
Addicted                             to                                            a bad habit.
Afraid                                    of                                            someone or something.
Angry                                    with                                        a person.
Angry                                   at                                            something.
Annoyed                              with                                        someone
Anxious                                 for                                           news.
Applicable                           to                                            a person, to a case.
Ashamed                             of                                            one’s behaviour.
Aware                                   of                                            danger, circumstances.
Born                                        of                                            rich, poor, parents.
Capable                               of                                            doing something.
Certain                                 of/about                              something.
Common                              to                                            a number of persons.
Confident                            of                                            success          victory.
Conscious                             of                                            one’s weakness.
Contented                          with                                        what one has.
Convicted                           of                                            a crime
Deaf                                       to                                            advice, request etc.
Defeated                             in                                             game, bttle.
Delighted                             with                                        something.
Determined                         on                                           a course of action.
Different                               from                                       something.
Disgusted                             at                                            something.
Displeased                           with                                        someone
Disqualified                          for                                           election,job.
Disqualified                          from                                       dioing something.
Doubtful                               about                                                doing something.
Eager                                     for                                           fame,success.
Eligible                                   for                                           post
Engaged                              in                                             struggle,work.
Engaged                              to                                            a person.
Faithful                                  to                                            a person,a cause.
Fit                                            for                                           a job
Fond                                      of                                            someone, something.
Free                                        from                                       blame, mistake.
Full                                          of                                            something.
Gifted                                    with                                        talent
Good                                     at                                            a subject.
Grateful                                to                                            a person.
Guilty                                     of                                            crime.
Honest                                   in                                             dealings.
Hopeful                                 about                                                future,  compromise.
Ignorant                               of                                            rules,  plans, events.
Independent                      of                                            someone.
Indifferent                            to                                            someone, something.
Innocent                              of                                            crime, wrong-doing.
Interested                            in                                             a person or thing.
Jealous                                  of                                            someone, reputation.
Loyal                                      to                                            a person, country.
Mad                                       about                                                someone, something.
Moved                                  to                                            tears.
Negligent                             of                                            duties, obligations.
Occupied                            with                                        some work.
Offended                             with                                        someone.
Poor                                        in                                             spirit, health, quality.
Popular                                 with                                        men, people.
Proud                                     of                                            one’s success
Ready                                    for                                           action.
Related                                 to                                            someone, something.
Relevant                              to                                            a subject, topic.
Responsible                          to                                            a person for something.
Satisfied                                with                                        one’s job.
Shocked                               at                                            someone’s behaviour.
Short                                      of                                            funds
Similar                                    to                                            someone, something.
Sorry                                       about                                                something.
Slow                                       at                                            doing sums, accounts.
Sufficient                              for                                           a purpose.
Suitable                                for                                           a job.
Tired                                       for                               someone doing something.
Victorious                             in                                             war, battle.


a) In, Into: In is used to indicate position; Into to indicate movement and entrance.

There is some milk in the jug.
Fish swim in the river.
He quickly got into the bus.
The girl jumped into the water.

b) In, at: In is used in the expression like in an office, in a shop, in the world.
  But we say, at the bus stop, at home, at a small village.

Look at these examples:
We have a picnic at the river. (i.e. by the side of the river)
He had a bath in the river.(i.e. in the river water)
The policeman arrived at the hotel. (i.e. at the hotel entrance
We hired two rooms in the hotel.(i.e. inside the hotel)

c) Between,  among: Between is used in relation to two persons or things; among is used  for more than two persons or things.

   The two sisters shared the money between themselves.
   The ship sails between Dhaka and Jeddah.
   She distributed sweets among the school children.
   The thief hid himself among the bushes.

d) For, since: For is used for a period of time, ; since is used for a point of time.
    She has studied in this college for four years.
    She has been playing for our team since last year.

e) From, since: From is used for both time and place; since is used for time only. From can indicate time in both past and future; since indicates time from a point of time in the past to the time of speaking.

  He was busy from 6 o’clock to 10 o’clock.
  Our holidays begin from the coming Monday.
  He came straight from home.
  I haven’t eaten anything since morning. 


Look at these sentences:
The monkey climbed up the tree.
 The smoke went up.

In the first sentence up is a preposition. it is placed before the noun the tree and shows the relation between the monkey and the tree. In the second sentence up is an adverbial particle. The adverbial particle behaves like an adverb. Here it modifies the verb went; up is an adverbial particle of place. Where did the smoke go? Up answer the question where.

He fell off the tree.(preposition)
Take your shoes off.(adverbial particle)

He wandered all about the town. (preposition)
The children were running about.(adverbial particle)

As shown in the examples given above, words like in, off, up, down, by, on, about etc. can function both as preposition and adverbial particles. But the following words function as adverbial particles only.
Away, back, out, backward, downward, forward, upward.

Adverbial particles are most commonly used in combination with verbs with which they form compound verbs or phrasal verbs. These verb-adverb particle combinations are of two kinds:

   i) Where the verb and the adverb keep their original meanings.
    Put your shirt on.
    Move away.

ii) Where the verb and the adverbial particle combine to give an entirely new meaning.
     Put off the ceremony.(postpone it)
     The watch has run down. (Stopped working)

Position of adverbial particles in a sentence

Look at these sentences:

He took away the dog.
He took the dog away.
He took it away.

When the object is a noun or a short noun phrase , the adverbial particle could be put either before or after the object. But if the noun phrase is long the adverbial particle is usually put before the object.

Keep out the dog.
He knocked down the man
Keep the dog out.
He knocked the man down.
Keep out the dog with dirty hair.
He knocked down the man that abused him.     

Fill the blanks with suitable prepositions.

1.      My brother came ….Thursday.
2.      The train leaves… eight …Monday morning.
3.      They were married…1975.
4.      Children don’t go to school ….holidays.
5.      The bus did not stop ….the bus stop.
6.      We live … this street.
7.      The train stopped ….a small station on way …the capital.
8.      They received us ….the hotel. We first rat …the reception room.
9.      He hid himself …. The tree.
10. They stood ….the main gate to receive the guests.
11.  He lives …s big bungalow ….the river.
12. I went to his house ….the morning but could see him only …night.
13. Nights here are cool… summer.
14. We started …noon but reached the village only …sunset.
15. we worked …8 o’clock …the morning…seven ….the evening.
16. The school will remain closed…tomorrow.
17. We swam …the river and reached the other side safely.
18. Look… the picture…the wall carefully.
19. He took a coin… his pocket and dropped it …piggy bank.
20. We covered the whole distance ….bus…five hours.
21. We can’t go train We will have to go …..foot.
22. My children go to school ….bicycles.
23. The stranger came and sat …a tree …the  roadside.
24. Take him …hospital. He is suffering… high fever.
25. Some people died….the accident…the spot. A few died later …wounds.
26. The poor man died ….tuberculosis.
27. He tried ….a job…many places.
28. Are you mad or are you acting …a mad man.
29. He caught her …the arm.
30. He hit the dog ….a stone..
31. This letter will go … airmail.
32. I came to know of his success……a friend.
33. Did you speak to her …..the telephone?
34. He hurt himself ….an accident.
35. Why do you drive ….such a high speed?
36. Milk is sold ….the litre.
37. Diesel is not available ….any price.
38. I bought this shirt ….five dollars.

Fill the blanks with suitable prepositions.

  1. There is enough tea …the teapot. Pour it…..the cup.
  2. I don’t want to go …the army. My preference is ….teaching.
  3. Go …the station. You will find him either ….the waiting hall or …the platform.
  4. Which factory does your father work….?
  5. There is a big park ….the two schools.
  6. Who …you will take the patient …the hospital?
  7. There wasn’t much love …the father and the son.
  8. The dacoits quarreled ….themselves over sharing the loots.
  9. He has been painting ….8 o’clock …the morning.
  10. They waited …hours in the hot sun to welcome the leader.
  11. There will be an exhibition of books on arts …next Monday.

Fill the blanks with suitable prepositions.

  1. Almost everyone agreed ….George’s proposal.
  2. The government has allotted this flat … us.
  3. The hunter aimed his gun …the bear.
  4. Avail yourself …this opportunity to go abroad.
  5. The report has brought the corruption ….the department ..light.
  6. You can’t accuse me ……dishonesty.
  7. The Principal congratulated me …my success.
  8. Do you believe…. ghosts?
  9. You can’t depend …..him to help you.
  10. We must fight …our right.
  11. She will take time to get …her grief.
  12. I like to listen ….pop music.
  13. I prefer tea …. coffee.
  14.  They searched …the treasure everywhere.
  15. The king sent ……his minister for consultations.
  16. Do you ever think ….your parents?
  17. No one liked him. So, the whole town voted….him.
  18. The admissions …the school will start …Monday.
  19. A mother’s affection …her children is natural.
  20. We have received fifty applications …just one post ..a clerk.
  21. We must get united to fight the enemy’s attack ….our country.
  22. You will succeed if you have confidence….yourself.
  23. There is no cure…cancer.
  24. Children have a duty ..their parents.
  25. When will our country win freedom ….hunger?
  26. The television carries a guarantee …three years.
  27. Regular exercise is the key ……good health.
  28. There is a great need rfor a good book ….composition.
  29. Our preparation ….the journey are complete.
  30. He quarreled ……the conductor  over the bus fare.
  31. We are all afraid …old age.
  32. The teacher is angry ….us for making so much noise.
  33. I am anxious …my father’s health.
  34. Aren’t you ashamed ….your behaviour at the picnic?
  35. They were defeated …the match.
  36. your shirt is not different …hers.
  37. He has served for twenty years  and is eligible ….a pension.
  38. A short man is hardly fit ..the army.
  39. An intelligent student is good ….all the subject.
  40. Most young people are interested ….films.
  41. Film stars are quite popular …young people.
  42. Who is responsible…..this mistake?
  43. I am tired ….my job as a typist.

Fill the blanks with suitable prepositions and adverbial particles.

  1. She put…her new dress and went …for a stroll.
  2. Throw these rotten tomatoes……. They are not good…eating.
  3. She got …late ….the morning.
  4. I will pay you …..your money very soon.
  5. He looked …and prayed to God.
  6. We were all waiting …..him. But he hurried ….without looking …us.
  7. He caught him …the arm.
  8. The child fell….the water but a stranger quickly took him ….
  9. Ring him…. And ask him to meet us ….the street corner.
  10. Is the manager…. ? I wish to see him.

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