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A preposition indicates a relationship between two words, usually linking a noun or pronoun with another noun or pronoun.
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Prepositions can describe location or direction, express time, or even establish the manner in which something is done.

Location or direction:

My favorite store is on Main Street.

Pat jumped through the hoop.

Why are you driving toward the highway?


All of the history students finished the exam before me.

Please turn in the assignment by Friday.


Sharon went to the wedding without her friend.

Do you prefer to travel by plane or by bus?

The previous examples are all one-word prepositions, but in English there are many prepositions that consist of more than one word. These are just a few examples:

I went to the store and bought socks as well as shirts.

We flew to New York by way of Philadelphia.

They’re in this mess because of your actions.

List of common prepositions

Here is a list of some of the most common prepositions in English. This is however not a complete list, as there are over 100 prepositions in the English language.

This article is based on: Prepositions (English Grammar for Second Language Learners)

CC BY-SARightsholder: Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison
Last revised date 09/03/2019