top of page

Mastering English Prepositions: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Jan 27

Is it possible to master English prepositions as a non-native speaker?

English prepositions are small but mighty words that play a crucial role in conveying meaning and connecting different elements within a sentence. They can be a bit tricky to grasp, but fear not! In this blog post, we'll break down the key categories of English prepositions and provide examples to help you understand their usage. Whether you're a beginner or looking to fine-tune your English skills, mastering prepositions is essential for effective communication.

First Focus on Prepositions of Time Place

The man is jumping off the boat.

Prepositions of place are used to indicate the location or position of an object or person. Some common prepositions in this category include "in," "on," "at," "under," "above," and "between." Here are a few examples:

The cat is in the box.

The book is on the table.

She's waiting at the bus stop.

The keys are under the mat.

The airplane is above the clouds.

The park is between the two tall buildings.

Prepositions of Time Allow us to Make Arrangements and Describe Events

I stayed in Budapest in July.

Prepositions of time help us express when an action takes place. Common prepositions in this category include "at," "on," "in," "during," and "for." Check out these examples:

We'll meet at 3 PM.

The party is on Saturday.

I'll finish the report in an hour.

He worked hard during the summer.

They've been married for 10 years.

Prepositions After Adjectives

I am never angry with you.

Sometimes, adjectives are followed by prepositions to provide more information about the noun they describe. Here are some examples:

She's afraid of spiders.

He's good at playing the guitar.

They are excited about the upcoming vacation.

I'm interested in learning new languages.

Prepositions After Verbs

Participate in the tournament. Prepositions after verbs.

Verbs are often followed by specific prepositions to complete their meaning. Here are a few common examples:

He insisted on coming to the party.

She apologized for her mistake.

They are talking about their travel plans.

I'm looking forward to our meeting.

Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases, by car.

Prepositional phrases consist of a preposition and its object, which can be a noun, pronoun, or gerund (an -ing verb form used as a noun). They add descriptive detail to sentences. Here are some examples:

The cat slept in the cozy bed.

She went for a walk along the river.

He's an expert in computer programming.

The Last Frontier: English Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs. Come down with a cold.

Phrasal verbs are a unique aspect of the English language that can be challenging to understand, but they are essential for fluent communication. They consist of a verb combined with one or more particles, typically prepositions or adverbs. The meaning of a phrasal verb often differs from the individual words used in it. Here are some examples:

Break up: To end a romantic relationship.

They decided to break up after five years of dating.

Give in: To surrender or yield to someone or something.

She refused to argue any longer and finally gave in to his demands.

Take off: To remove something, like clothing, or for an aircraft to become airborne.

He decided to take off his jacket because it was warm in the room.

The plane is scheduled to take off at 9 AM.

Turn on: To activate or start something.

Can you please turn on the lights in the living room?

He wanted to turn on his computer to check his email.

Run out of: To deplete the supply of something, such as food or resources.

We've run out of milk; we need to buy more.

The company ran out of funding and had to close down.

Look forward to: To anticipate or be excited about something in the future.

I look forward to seeing you at the party tonight.

She looks forward to her vacation every year.

Give up: To quit or stop doing something.

He decided to give up smoking for the sake of his health.

Don't give up on your dreams; keep working towards them.

Phrasal verbs can be challenging because their meanings aren't always obvious from the individual words. Some phrasal verbs are literal and others are idiomatic. It's important to learn them in context if you want to use them effectively in conversation and writing.

If you really want to master phrasal verbs IN CONTEXT, check out my 3-Book Phrasal Verb e-Book set!

How Important is it to Know Prepositions in English?

The verb 'spend' is followed by the preposition 'on'. An eccentrically-dressed woman with pink hair is carrying shopping bags.

Mastering English prepositions is a crucial step in becoming a confident and effective communicator. Although prepositions are usually the last aspect of English that learners have problems with, you should keep training prepositions and how they are used with specific verbs and adjectives.

Practice makes perfect, so keep working on your preposition skills. If you'd like to learn more about English grammar and vocabulary, don't forget to follow my blog and YouTube channel. Additionally, join my interactive YouTube livestream on YouTube every Sunday, where we delve into English grammar and vocabulary that everyone should know. Improve your language skills and join our vibrant community of learners today!

Attend a New English Video Lesson Every Sunday!

Do you need more English learning resources? Check out my Book and Game recommendations!

Some of the links below are affiliate links. By shopping through one of these links, it will not change your shopping experience at all, but I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I recommend the games because I have used them in the classroom and find them fun and useful.

bottom of page