A preposition is a word that shows the relationship between other words in a sentence.


The cat lay under the table.

The preposition under connects the verb lay with table.

Under points out the relationship between lay and table.

Hence a preposition is a word that links another word or word group to the rest of the sentence.

The noun or pronoun after the preposition is called the object of the preposition.

The table is the object of the preposition under in the above sentence.

The preposition under relates the verb lay to the noun table.


More Examples: She gave it to me.

(The preposition to relates the pronoun me with the action gave).

I liked the bike with the metal handles.

The preposition with relates the noun handles with the noun bike.

Common prepositions about before except on toward above behind for onto under aboard below from out underneath across beneath in outside until after beside inside over up against between into past upon along beyond like since with among by near through within around down of throughout without at during off to From the above list of prepositions, you will note that some of them tell where, others indicate time, others show special relationships like reference or separation.

Changing one preposition with another in a sentence changes the meaning of the sentence.


Example: The cat lay under the table.

The cat lay on the table.

Lying under the table means below the surface of the table but on means above the surface.


Exercise 1

Write the preposition in each of the following sentences and say what relationship it indicates.

  1. Sometimes they lie on the ground.
  2. They have grown maize for food.
  3. The children played with the dolls.
  4. A man found some treasure in the cave.
  5. They make clothes from cotton.


Exercise 2

Use the most appropriate preposition to complete the sentences below.

  1. Driving had been my dream ________________ years.
  2. _____________ 1990, I bought a second-hand car.
  3. ______________ that year, I learned how to drive.
  4. I rolled the car ________________ the road _____________ more than two kilometres.
  5. I was really thrilled ______________ the experience.


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