- You are on top of the bridge.
- The bluebird flies over the rainbow.
- My bag is on the table.
The One Rule for Prepositions
There is in fact, only one rule for prepositions, and there are absolutely no exceptions.
Preposition Rule: A preposition is never followed by a verb, only by a noun.
Within the grouping of nouns we include nouns, proper nouns, pronouns, noun groups, and gerunds.
Here are a few more examples of prepositions:
|The juice is||in||the fridge.|
|The hat is||on||her head.|
|He is reading||to||her.|
|She is hiding||under||the bed.|
|The horse ran||over||the hill.|
|I swam||before||the race.|
Prepositions of Place
When you use a preposition to describe the position of a noun in relation to another noun, you are using a preposition of place.
Look at the picture below:
Now look at the table based on the prepositions in the picture:
|on||Attached, surface of something and touchable||There is an antenna on the car.|
|in||Within or inside of something||Danny is in the house.|
|over/ above||Higher than something||The light was above the sink.
The fog drifted over the bay.
|under/ below||Lower than something||There is a troll below the bridge.
We lie under the stars.
|in front of||The part of someone or something that faces forward||She waited in front of the school.|
|behind||At the back of||She hid behind the chair.|
Prepositions of Time
We have three main propositions of time:
- at for a specific moment in time
- in for long periods of time
- on for days and dates
Take a look at the chart for some examples:
|Precise Time||Months, Years, Centuries and Long Periods||Days, Dates, Events and Holidays|
|I have a meeting at lunchtime.||I have a meeting in April.||I have a meeting on Monday.|
|I go back home at midnight.||I go back home in the winter.||I go back home on Thanksgiving.|
|Remember when we talked at suppertime?||Remember when we talked in the 80’s?||Remember when we talked on your birthday?|
|I haven’t learned much at this point.||I haven’t learned much in the last decade.||I didn’t learn much on Sunday.|
|I will be there at 9pm.||I will be there in the 22nd Century.||I will be there on April First.|
We do not use at, in, or on if we use the words last, next, every, or this.
- She saw him last winter. (not in last winter)
- They will be here next month. (not on next month)
- I go to the library every weekday. (not at every weekday)
- He will be working this afternoon. (not in this afternoon)
For Prolonged Time
When talking prolonged or extended time, we use the following prepositions: during, for, since, by, (with) in, from – to, from – until.
- I do yoga during the morning. (For some period of time in the morning.)
- Michael has been studying for two hours. (He is studying for two hours now.)
- They have been renting the unit since last month. (They started to rent the unit last month and still renting up to now.)
- She will be home by 8 o’clock. (She will be home up to a certain time or at the latest by 8 o’clock.)
- The students must finish their assignment within this week. (It has to be completed before the week comes to an end.)
- Jerry will be traveling from June to July. (Starting to travel in June and stopping in July.)
- He works from nine in the morning until two in the afternoon. (Beginning in the morning at nine and ending at two.)
Used To Introduce Objects For Verbs
We use for, at and of to introduce objects of the following verbs.
Verb + For + Object
Verbs: watch, wait, wish, call, hope, look
- They are watching for the big sale at the store.
- Alex was waiting for the school bus.
- Some people wish for a better job.
- Fred will call for her about nine tonight.
- I am looking for Annie. Is she here?
- She hopes for a safe trip.
Verb + At + Object
Verbs: glance, look, laugh, rejoice, smile, stare
- He glanced at me when he passed by.
- She looks at the photos.
- I was laughing at her joke.
- The students rejoiced at the results of their exams.
- My best friend smiled at me.
- Do not stare at me.
Verb + Of + Object
Verbs: approve, consist, smell
- Everyone approved of her plan.
- This strawberry ice cream consists of sugar, cream, egg yolks, and strawberries.
- Her room smells of perfume.
Of (about): dream, think
- I once dreamed of him.
- Do you think of me?
- I am thinking about going on a picnic.
The Use Of ‘To’ In The Infinitive
Keep in mind that you will see sentences like “He likes to work.” This is an example of the verb in the infinitive form. That is the reason for the to.
- He is going to the park. (to as a preposition)
- Mel likes to think about the meaning of life. (to used as an infinitive)
- Jim walked her to the car. (to as a preposition)
- I love to work with her. (to used as an infinitive)