The preposition is a small but significant word class which expresses the relationship between two words or two units within a sentence, often between a noun and other elements of the sentence.

  • Often this relationship relates to space or position eg on, in , under, beneath, over, behind.

  • In other instances this relationship relates to time eg at, after or possession eg of.

  • There are some prepositions which consist of more than one word. They include: instead of, due to, because of, in spite of.

Common examples of prepositions:

about; against; among; at; before; behind; between; down; except; from; in; near; of; outside; over; past; than; to; under; up; with; without

The two most common functions of prepositional phrases are as adverbials or post-modify nouns.

  • As an adverbial:
    By moonlight, we sat on the terrace and dreamed of peace.
    The man approached with aggressive intent.

  • As a noun post-modifier:
    The man with the bowler hat was first on the train.
    He could name every rose
    in the garden.

Another function of prepositional phrases is as a complement to an adjective or a verb.

  • They were all late for school
  • She was on the bus.

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