1.17 Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases

Prepositions are words that show the relationships between two or more other words. Choosing correct prepositions can be challenging, but the following examples will help clarify how to use some of the most common prepositions.

Types of Prepositions

Examples of Prepositions

How to Use

Prepositions Used in Sentences

Time

at

Use with hours of the day and these words that indicate time of day: dawn, midnight,night, and noon

We will eat at 11:30.

We will eat at noon.

by

Use with time words to indicate a particular time

I’ll be there by 5:00.

I’ll be finishedby October.

in

Use with the and these time-of-day words:afternoon, evening, and morning

We’ll start in the morning.

Use on its own with months, seasons, and years

The rainy season startsin June.

on

Use with days of the week

I’ll see you on Friday.

Location

at

Use to indicate a particular place

I’ll stop at the dry cleaners.

in

Use when indicating that an item or person is within given boundaries

My ticket is in my pocket.

by

Use to mean “near a particular place”

My desk is by the back door.

on

Use when indicating a surface or site on which something rests or is located

Place it on the table, please.

My office is on Lincoln Boulevard.

Logical relationships

of

Use to indicate part of a whole

I ate half of the sandwich.

Use to indicate contents or makeup

I brought a bag of chips.

for

Use to show purpose

Jake uses his apron for grilling.

State of being

in

Use to indicate a state of being

I am afraid that I’m in trouble.

 


Adapted from Appendix A, “Writing for Nonnative English Speakers” in Writer’s Handbook v 1.0  used according to Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

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