In a sentence, some words placed before a noun or a pronoun show its relation to other words in the sentence. These words are called Prepositions. Thus, a preposition is a relation-showing word. It shows the relationship between a noun and another part of
the sentence.

Kinds of Prepositions

Prepositions can be classified into three kinds on the basis of their structure:
1. Simple Preposition: It is a single word preposition. Words like in an, at, to
by, with, for, from, off, up,  are examples of simple prepositions.
2. Compound Preposition : It is a combined word. Words like beside, between, before, after inside, outside, above, below, around,about are examples of compound prepositions.
3. Phrase Preposition : It is a preposition combined with its object. Words  like instead of, in spite of, in order to, owing to, with regard to, in the course of, are examples of phrase prepositions.

Use of Prepositions

Prepositions are used according to their suitability, i.e. with reference to time, place position, manner and direction.Let’s now study some common prepositions:

1. At, in, into

  • At is used for small places, an exact point of time, to indicate place, direction distance, occupation, degree, cause etc.

For example;

(a) He lives at Kangra (a small place)
(b) Look at this picture (direction)
(c) I keep him at arm’s length. (distance)
(d) He will arrive at 60 clock. (exact time)
(e) He may come at any moment. (time)
(f) What is he at now? (occupation)
(g) The train was running at top speed. (degree)
(h) We Burst crackers at Diwali. (name of the festival)
In is used for country, large place, period of time and verb expressing rest.
For example;
(a) He lives at Chamba in Himachal Pradesh. (large place)
(b) There was no oil in the lamp.
c) I shall return in a week. (period of time)
  • Into is used with a verb denoting motion.

For example; (a) He jumped into the river. (b) Change this shape into a rectangular one.

2. By, With

  • By is used with the agent or doer of the action.It also implies not later than

For example;

(a) He was standing by me.

(b) The dog was killed by the robber with a stick.

  • With is used before the instrument of the action.

For example;

(a) He is writing with a pencil.
(b) Replace this word with a suitable one.
(c) He will be here by evening as he has promised

3. Between, among

  • Between is used for two persons or things or units. For example; (a) You have to write three numbers between two odds.
(b) The two divided the sweets between each other.
  • Among is used for more than two persons or things. For example;
(a) Distribute the sweets among children.
(b) Who among the students will try to solve this?

4. Beside, besides

Beside means ‘by the side of and Besides means ‘in addition to’. For example;
(a) The house stood beside the hill.
(b) Besides being fine, the boy was turned out.

5. Since, for, from

Since denotes the point of time and For denotes a period of time. For example;
(a) He has been sailing the boat for two hours.
(b) He has been living here for two years.
(c) I have been studying in this school since 201.
Both Since and From denote the point of time but From can be used with all tenses,
while Since is used with perfect or perfect continuous tense only. For example;
(a) He will begin his work from Monday.
(b) He has been absent from Monday. (since Monday also)

6. During, After, Within, in

• During indicates the duration of time. It is usually followed by a noun indicating time.For example;
(a) We do not have to study during vacation.
(b) He did his Ph.D. during his service itself.
  • After expresses some period of time in the past. For example;
(a) He came after a few days. (past)
(b) Ha will come in few days. (Future tense, hence ‘in’ is used)
  • Within is used to indicate the completion of work before the end of the period of time. For example:
(a) shall finish the work within six hours. (before the time is over)
(b) He couldn’t complete the job within two years. (before the time is over)

7. Before, After, Behind

  • Before is used in negative and affirmative sentences like to denote point of future time. For example:
(a) I shall be there before 5 o’clock.
(b) The train arrived before the scheduled time.
  • After refers to time. For examples;

(a) I take after sunrise.

(b) The jury will make the decision after discussion.

  • Behind refers to place as well as time. For example;
(a) He came and stood behind his father. decided schedule
(b) We are running behind the decided schedule.

8. On, Upon

On is used in speaking of things at rest and Upon is used in speaking of things in motion.
For example:
(a) He sat on a chair. (rest)
(b) The book is lying on the bed. (rest)
(c) The dog sprang upon the cat. (motion)
(d) Don’t throw stones upon the frog. (motion)

9. Through Throughout, Till

  • Both Through and Throughout denote the period from beginning to the end.
For example;
(a) She kept waiting throughout the night.
(b) He passed through a difficult financial phase last year.
  • Till means ‘up to’.  For example;
(a) He worked till late night.

10. Over, Below, Under Above

  • Above shows placing superior in height only.
For example;
(a) The kite is above us.
b) The birds were flying above the temple.
  • Over shows placing horizontally/vertically above (with/without touch).

For complex;

(a) The roof is over us.

(b) The book is over the box.
  • Below shows placing less in height. For example;
    (a) That window below us is small.
    (b) The candidates below 35 years of age were not considered for selection.
  • Under denotes placing horizontally/vertically below (with without touch).
For example:
(a) The cat is under the table.
(b) The hankey is under the book.

11. Across, Along, Against

Across and Along mean side and by side. Against means by the side. It also denotes
opposition from one side to other.
For examples;
(a) The village is across the river.
(b) There are trees along the fence.
(c)He was leaning against the wall.
(d) The union stood against the management.


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