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Prepositions (Common Rules)

General uses of prepositions

A preposition typically comes before another word—usually a noun or pronoun. It tells us about the relationship between the noun or pronoun and other parts of the sentence. The name preposition (pre + position) means "place before" For example: The book is on the table. On is used here as preposition which shows the relationship of the table with other parts of the sentence. Following is the graphic description of some prepositions:

Illustration of some Prepositions

1. To indicate time we usually use at, by, between, before. after, during, in, on, to, from, for, since, throughout, till, until

He came at 7 o'clock.

He will start the work after lunch.

They came on Monday.

Rita will return before dinner.

It has been raining for a week.

It has been raining since Monday.

He will come by 7 o'clock.

Masuda will come before 8 o' clock.

I will go out during winter.

He was here throughout summer.

2. To indicate position or location we usually use at, above, across, against, before, near, behind, in, inside, out, outside, on, over, under

Kamrul is at home.

I am in my class.

He has no roof above his head.

There is an umbrella over my head.

There is a cap on his head.

The man was standing against a wall.

The thief stood before the judge.

A child is walking behind his mother.

He is sitting under a tree.

The bank is just across the road.

He stood neat the station.

A beggar is standing outside the door.

3. To indicate direction we usually use on, into, on, to towards, up, down

He is above me in rank.

He climbed up a tree.

He is going to school.

He fired on the enemy.

He is kind towards the poor.

He walked across the road.

4. To indicate state or condition we use usually use : at, in, on, under

He is in good health.

That house is under repair.

Boys are at play.

He is at work.

5. From is used to indicate starting point of place and to is used to indicate destination

He is going to market.

She was going to hospital for treatment.

They are coming from school.

I had a phone call from my cousin.

6. To indicate- measurement/standard we use – at, by, for, to, etc.

Rice sells at taka 25 a kilo.

It is ten by my watch. My Mother is good at cooking.

He is clever; at games.

7. To indicate Subject – matter we use - on, about.

I told him about my school.

I am reading a book on English grammar.

He is careless about his health.

Write a paragraph about/on your school.

8. To indicate– exception we use - but, except.

None but Kamal can do this work.

There is no man but feels pity for the poor.

Everyone except me got the invitation

9. To indicate media we generally u by, in, with, without

He came here by car.

He speaks in English.

We see with our eyes.

We can't see without eyes.

10. In/at is used before a big place or time and at before a small place or time.

He lives at Deana in Khulna.

He went there at 7 o'clock in the evening.

He is in America.

They live in Chittagong.

He lives at Mohakhali in Dhaka.

At is used before nights noon, dusk, dawn etc. and in is used before morning, evening, afternoon etc.

Mr. Samad came in the evening.

She got up early inthe morning.

We sleep at night.

11. In/at, to/into: In/at is used to indicate inside of something and its stability and to/intoto indicate entry or movement or to convert from.

The students are in the room.

They entered into the room.

Water changes into vapour.

Mary was in the garden. There is no milk in the pot.

The ice melts into water. He ran into the room.

He is in good health.

The machine is now in good condition.

Don't wait out side, come into the house.

He is in bed.

He is at the top of the class.

He ran to school.

He jumped into the river

Gitanjali was translated into English.

His love turned into hatred.

Ice melts into water.

You should speak clearly into the microphone

12. On, in, at : On is used before day/date, in before month/year and at before a fixed time.

I shall meet you at 5 o'clock onSunday in Jaunary.

They went there on Monday at 7 pm.

I will go there in December.

13.After, in : Usually afteris used to indicate period of time in the past and in used to indicate period of time in the future.

I returned to my native village after six months.

We shall finish the work in a week.

My father will come from the states in a week.

My father died after two months.

14. In, within : In is used to indicate the last moment of period of time in the future and within is used to indicate the passing of period of time in the future. To indicate at the end of time we use in, and to indicate before specific time eds we use within.

Mr. Ahad will come in a month (before the last moment of a month)

We will finish the work within a month. (before the passing of one month)

I shall return in an hour.

I shall return within an hour.

He will come here in an hour. (i.e. at the end of an hour)

I shall go to Chittagong in a week. (at the end of a week)


He will come here within an hour. (before the hour is ended)

I shall go to Chittagong within a week.(before the week ended)

15. In, by/before : In is used to indicate period of time in the future, by/before is used before a fixed time in the future.

He will come in a month.

I shall have finished reading the book by or before 6 pm.

16. In, on, to: In is used to indicate within the boundary andto indicate beyond the boundary and on to indicate on the boundary.

The Sunderbans is to the south of the country.

Dhaka is on the Buriganga.

Dhaka Laboratory School is in the heart of the city.

17. Since, from, for : Since/from is used beforepoint of time and for before period of time. Since only indicates point of time in the past and fromindicate point of time in all tenses.

It has been raining since morning.

It has been raining for two hours.

He has been here since Friday last. (point of time)

I haven't seen him for a long time. (period of time)

I haven't seen Kamal since September. (point of time)

They have been playing in the sun for two hours.

He has been ill since Monday last,

I have not seen him since last week.

He has been here since nine o' clock.

I commenced work from Ist January.

He will join school from tomorrow.

18.Between, among : Between is used to indicate between two and amongused to indicate more than two.

Zimbabwe is situated between Zambia and South Africa.

Divide the mangoes among the boys of class X.

There is no difference amongst us.

There is a village among the hills.

The man divided his properties equally between his two children.

Switzerland lies between France and Germany.

But between is used when we indicate mutual cooperation of many people/objects.

Mr Rahman divided his properties between his four sons.

19. Beside, besides: Beside is used to indicate at or by the side of and besides to indicate in addition to.

He sat beside me.

Besides this pen, I have no other pens.

I have none to help me besides you.

Besides my son, my cousin also sat beside me.

Besides English, she knows many other languages.

20. By, with : By is used to indicate the doer/agent and withto indicate the instrument.

The tiger was killed by the hunter witha gun.

He killed two birds with one shot.

He was stabbed by a lunatic with a dagger.

21.On, over : On is used to indicate the surface of the place and over to indicate above keeping space. Over can also be used to indication motion.

The book is on the table.

The clock is over the cupboard.

The cat jumped over the box.

22.On is often used in speaking of things at rest, and upon of things in motion:

He sat on a chair.

The cat sprang upon the table.

23.Till/Until is used of time, and to is used of place:

I slept till eight o'clock.

He walked to the end of the street.


24. For is use to indicate- aim/goal/purpose and targets

He bought a pen for Mohan.

He has started for Chittagong.

He died for his country.

He lives for others.

25. From is used to indicate- origin or source

It is a poem of Nazrul.

This road runs from Dhaka to Sylthet.

He comes of a rich family.

I borrowed a book from the library.

26. Of is used to indicate- relation and possession, parts and portion.

This is the house of my friend.

He is a servant of my uncle.

This is the window of this house.

This is the horn of my car.

27.Of/from - We use made from when the original materials or substances have been completely changed and cannot be recognized.

Steer is made from iron.

We make butter from milk.

Plastic is made from oil.

Wine is made from water and grapes.

Bricks are made from clay.

Use made of when the original materials or any substances have not been completely changed and we can still see them.

This chair is made of wood.

Pencil is made of wood.

All the furniture was made of wood.

28.To indicate cause we use - from, of, for, with.

My uncle died of cholera.

He died from loss of blood.

He is trembling with fear.

He will suffer for his bad habits.


29. On time/in time: on time means in the right time, in time means within the speculated time.

The train left the station in time.

Rassel is never at School on time.

I want to get home in time.

Will you be at home in time for dinner?

30.At the end/In the end: to indicate something has finished we use at the end and to indicate ultimate result of something we use in the end.

I am going to Canada at the end of this month.

In the end we sold out our old car and bought a new one.

31. For/during: 'For' is used to say how long something continues. During is used to say when something happens.

My father was in hospitalduring the summer.

My father was in hospital for six weeks.

We watched TV for two hours last night.

I spent two months in England during/in summer.

We'll be on holiday during/in August.

It must have rained during the night.

32. Over/above: When one thing is at a higher level than another we use either above or over.

Our plane was flying above/over the clouds.

They built a new room over/above the garage.

There is a bridge over the river.

To indicate motion we use over not above

On our way to Pakistan our plane flew over India. (not, above the India)

He threw the ball over the wall.(not, above the wall)

We use 'over' 'not above' when one thing covers or touches another.

He put on a coat over his shirt. Throw the water over the flames.

The truck was coming across/over the river.


To indicate specific time we use before/by and to indicate period of time we use within

We have to be at home by /before 5 o'clock.

You must come back here by/before 3 - p.m.

I posted the letter today, so my father would get in by the day after tomorrow.

He will finish the exam within 8 days.


34. By/with: to indicate person as medium we use by and for any object we use with.

The tiger was shot by Karim with a rifle.

The Tajmahal was built by Shahjahan.

The snake was killed by Mr. Kamal with a stick.

35. To indicate the means of transport we usually use by. But to indicate travelling by foot or by cycle we use on .

My father went to Chittagong by train/by bus/by car/by plane.

Reba usually goes to School by car.

To indicate the way of travelling we use by

by road, by rail, by air, by sea

My sister went to London by air.

I go to school on foot but my brother goes to school on a bicycle.

36. Where a Preposition is not used

No preposition is used before 'adverb' or 'adverbial phrase'.

The boy left the hostel bag and baggage. (not- with bag and baggage)

He tried heart and soul to pass the examination. (not- with heart and soul)

No preposition is used before adverb of time or frequency.

He goes for a walk every morning. (not- in every morning)

I am going to Chittagong this morning. (not- on this morning)

No preposition is used before a Noun when it is used as an adverb of place or time.

My house faces west.

They are going home.

Please wait a minute.

We ate mangoes yesterday.

We don’t use preposition with Transitive verb

The poet describes nature.

He discussed this problem

He investigated the case.

Rina resembles her mother.

I recommended him.

He resigned his post.

We reached the station in time.

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