This article contains every common preposition in the English language. Isn’t it nice to know that you can learn them all? A list of every common verb or every common noun would be very long…
Prepositional phrases usually begin with a preposition and end with an object. For example, in the prepositional phrase under the hill, under is the preposition and the hill is the object.
A prepositional phrase serves as an adjective or adverb; that is, it modifies a noun or a verb. In the sentence “He left after lunch,” the prepositional phrase after lunch is used as an adverb to modify the verb left. It tells us when he left, as do “He left earlier” or “He left later.” There is no adverb in English that says, “He left post-lunch-ly.”
The object of a preposition is a noun (after the meal), or at least some kind of a noun, such as a gerund (after eating), pronoun (after him), or a noun clause (after what he ate).
Some writers tie their writing into knots to keep from breaking a supposed rule against ending a sentence with a preposition. When criticized for doing that, Winston Churchill is supposed to have replied,
This is the type of errant pedantry up with which I will not put.
His point was that it would be clearer to say, “I will not put up with that type of errant pedantry.”
Maybe your sentence would be clearer without any preposition. Earlier we’ve given you five ways to minimize prepositional phrases. Prepositions such as of and by are sometimes clues that the sentence could be made shorter or more direct. For example:
An occurrence of sneezing is sometimes considered a sign of disease by over-cautious parents.
Remove two prepositions and it’s shorter and better:
Over-cautious parents sometimes fear that sneezing can signal a disease.
List of Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases Examples
- Aboard: I was aboard the Titanic but escaped on an life raft.
- About: Kids are crazy about playing Fortnite.
- Above: There was a cat meowing above me in a tree.
- Across: I have sailed across the Atlantic Ocean.
- After: After I finish school, I have always planned to be a dermatologist.
- Against: It’s the Bulls against the Lakers for the basketball championship.
- Along: The pirate came along the aft side, threw a line over the rail, and boarded the ship with a sword in his teeth.
- Amid: Amid the cheering crowd, she walked to the platform to receive her medal.
- Among: After the battle, I grieved to see that among the bodies lay friends and foes.
- Around: My grandfather put his arm around me and promised to buy me a pocket knife.
- At: At the football game, freckled teenagers sold sodas to raise money for their club.
- Before: Wash your hands before supper, and after supper too, in your case.
- Behind: Behind the barn, I imagine there’s an old Lamborghini tractor or two.
- Below: That chipmunk must live below the ground because he disappeared into a hole yesterday.
- Beneath: Caves can extend miles beneath the surface of the earth.
- Beside: She sat beside me and said that her ring had just slipped down the drain.
- Between: This suspicion between us is damaging our careers in espionage.
- Beyond: The size of the universe is beyond imagination.
- But: Everyone but Mom ate jalapeno ice pops.
- By: Our next poem was written by Robert Frost.
- Concerning: I speak to you today concerning the great opportunity before us.
- Considering: The racehorse kept up a good pace, considering her age.
- Despite: Despite her potato heart, Veggie-Girl faced the forces of evil daily.
- Down: Look down the foaming river before you decide to dive in.
- During: I cried during the whole movie after my drink spilled in my lap.
- Except: I would make cookies except I have no flour.
- Following: Read the next chapter, then answer the questions following the map section.
- For: This present is for you, Jimmy, so be thankful.
- From: I came from the future!
- In: Help, my foot’s stuck in the fence.
- Inside: Three dogs live inside one big doghouse.
- Into: Look into the crystal ball and see your future.
- Like: I love my suntan even though I look like a burnt chicken nugget.
- Minus: The dress looks much better minus the red frill.
- Near: The flagpole near the pine tree is almost as tall.
- Next to: Put the Chaucer on the bookshelf next to the Caedmon.
- Of: The life of a millionaire is amazing: the cars, the money, the taxes.
- Off: The paint will not come off my shoes.
- On: Snow fell on my head when I sledded under a tree.
- Onto: He drove off the main highway and onto a gravel road.
- Opposite: She lived in the cottage opposite the pond.
- Out: Look out the window at the beautiful sunset.
- Outside: It’s dry here, but I hear it’s raining outside of town.
- Over: Okay, can you jump over a traffic cone on a skateboard?
- Past: The football flew past the car and into a tree.
- Plus: The vacation included a week on the island plus the cruise to the island.
- Regarding: I speak to you today regarding the great opportunity before us.
- Since: I’ve felt depressed ever since my grandfather died.
- Through: The baseball flew past the tree and through the window.
- Throughout: Throughout history, there have always been compassionate people.
- To: Send this sword to Sir Raymond of the Palms.
- Toward: Hit the ball toward the sky and get out of the way.
- Under: I dug under the ground and found a gopher hole.
- Underneath: I just realized there’s quicksand underneath me.
- Unlike: The northern moors are treacherous and isolated, unlike the southern moors, which attract tourists.
- Until: Don’t wake me until eight o’clock Christmas morning.
- Up: Uncle George went up on the roof to get the rocket back.
- Upon: I bestow upon you this gift of armor.
- Versus: Traveling by dogsled can be cold, versus traveling by train.
- With: With the weather outside so sunny, I think I should ride my bike.
- Within: There’s no gas station within 100 miles.
- Without: Without food or water, we could not survive.
Prepositional Phrase Quiz
Choose the answer that reflects the prepositional phrase in each sentence.