List of useful English prepositions

List of useful English prepositions

by Alison Maciejewski Cortez

Updated August 11, 2022

If you’ve been learning English for a while you’ve probably received a list of prepositions. Well, what are prepositions? And how do you use them? 

Don’t worry, many people have these questions. English has many prepositions and these small words can be used in different ways. 

This article will help you learn the basic prepositions and set you on a path for learning even more

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What are English prepositions? 

Prepositions are connecting words that are often very short. English has over 100 prepositions. Well what are they and what function do they play

Some common prepositions are:

with, at, by, to, in, for, from, of, on

These little words and all the other prepositions connect a noun or pronoun to another noun or pronoun. As a reminder, here’s a quick review of nouns and pronouns. 

Nouns are people, places or things. Chicago, girl, and tree are all nouns. 

Pronouns are words used as substitutes for nouns. I, she, he, you, it, we and they are all pronouns. 

Prepositions connect or show the relationship between nouns or pronouns in a sentence. 

The book is on the table. In this sentence ‘book’ and ‘table’ are nouns. The word ‘on’ is the preposition. The preposition shows how the book and the table are connected. The preposition tells us the location of the book. 

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Example sentences for English prepositions

These 9 prepositions, with, at, by, to, in, for, from, of and on, are a good place to start learning. They show the relationship between the nouns. 

Let’s look at a few example sentences. 

ExampleExplanation 
I am from California. From is the preposition connecting the nouns I and California. 
She lives in the city. In is the preposition connecting she and city.
My brother is at the bank. At is the preposition connecting brother and bank. 
They are with the dog. With is the preposition connecting they and dog. 
We are going to the store.To is the preposition connecting we and store. 
The cat is on the couch. On is the preposition connecting cat and couch. 
That money is for my vacation. For is the preposition connecting money and vacation. 
The airport is west of the city. Of is the preposition connecting airport and city. 
He was standing by the window.By is the preposition connecting he and window. By means near or next to. 

Common English prepositions list

There are over 100 prepositions in English. As with many things in English we often need to memorize how to use words when there are no clear rules to follow. So, how should you start learning? 

Here’s a list of common prepositions with an example sentence. 

PrepositionExample sentence
AboveThe sky is above the earth. 
AcrossThe movie theater is across from the bank. (opposite side of the street)
AfterI will go to school after work. 
AgainstThe door is leaning against the wall. 
BehindThe dog is behind the couch. 
BetweenThe table is between the chairs. 
DownMy mom wrote down my phone number. 
NearHe is near the mall. 
OffTake the glasses off the table. 
OutThe cat ran out the door. 
UnderThe mouse is under the couch. 

Prepositions are important ‘to’ us

Prepositions are small but mighty. They are often short words, but they are important. They show how nouns are connected by telling us the relationship between nouns. It might take time to learn all the lists of prepositions. Once you do, you’ll be able to expand your vocabulary and fluency with descriptive speech.

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Alison Maciejewski Cortez is Chilean-American, born and raised in California. She studied abroad in Spain, has lived in multiple countries, and now calls Mexico home. She believes that learning how to order a beer in a new language reveals a lot about local culture. Alison speaks English, Spanish, and Thai fluently and studies Czech and Turkish. Her consulting business takes her around the world and she is excited to share language tips as part of the Lingoda team. Follow her culinary and cultural experiences on Twitter.

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