English Grammar Parts of Speech – Preposition | Exercises | Notes
A preposition denotes the position that one person or thing occupies in relation to the other. It is pre (before) because it is put before the noun or noun equivalent which is its subject.
e.g. The book is on the table.
On in the above sentence is a preposition. It shows the relation of book to the table.
Consider the sentences :
1. There is a cow in the field.
2. He is fond of tea.
3. The cat jumped off the chair.
In sentence 1, the preposition in joins a noun to another noun.
In sentence 2, the preposition of joins a noun to Adjective.
In sentence 3, the preposition off joins a noun to verb.
The noun or pronoun which is used with a preposition is called its object. It is in the accusative case and is said to be governed by the preposition.
• A preposition may have two or more objects. e.g. The road runs over hill and plain.
• A preposition is usually placed before its object but sometimes it follows the same.
1. Here is the watch that you asked for.
2. That is the boy I was speaking of.
3. What are you looking at?
4. What are you thinking of?
5. Which of .these chairs did you sit on?
(i) When the object is the relative pronoun that, as in sentence 1, the preposition is always placed at the end.
The preposition is often placed at the end when the object is an interrogative pronoun (as in sentence 3, 4 and 5) or a relative pronoun understood (as in sentence 2).
ii) Sometimes the object is placed first for the sake of emphasis.
e.g. This I insist on.
He is known all the world over.
The preposition for, from, in, on are often omitted before noun of place or time.
e.g. We did it last week
At, by, for, from, in, of, off, on, out, through, till, to, up, with.
They are generally formed by prefixing a preposition to a noun, an adjective or an adverb. About, above, across, along, amidst, among, amongst, around, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, inside, outside, underneath, within, without.
Group of words used with the force of a single preposition.
in accordance with in addition to
in (on) behalf of in case of
for the sake of conformably to
by way of by reason of
by means of by virtue of
by dint of in course of
in favour of etc.
e.g. He succeeded by dint of preserverce.
In case of need, phone to No
By virtue of the power vested in me, I hereby order.
In course of time he saw his mistake.
He died fighting on behalf of his country.
By way of introduction, he made some pertinent remarks.
He acted according to my instructions.
Barring, concerning, considering, during, not withstanding, pending, regarding, respecting, touching, and a few similar words which are present participles of verbs, are used absolutely without any noun or pronoun being attached to them. For all practical purposes, they have become prepositions and are sometimes distinguished as participal preposition,
e.g. Barring accident, the mail will arrive tomorrow.
Concerning yesterday’s fire, there are many rumours in the bazar.
Considering the quality, the price is not high.
Pending further orders, Mr. Jha will act as head-master.
5. Several words are used sometimes as adverb and sometimes as preposition.
A word is a preposition when it governs a noun or pronoun; it is an adverb when it does not.
Go, and run about. Don’t loiter about the street.
I could not come before I came the day before yesterday.
Has he come in? Is he in his room?
This book lies on the table.
I have not slept since yesterday.
6. We have seen that the object to a preposition is a noun or pronoun.
Sometimes, the object to a preposition is an adverb of time or place, e.g. I will be done by then (= that time).
Come away from there (= that place).
How far is it from here (=this place)?
7. Sometimes the object to a preposition is an adverbial phrase.
e.g. The noise comes from across the river.
I sold my car for under its half cost.
He did not see her till a few days ago.
He swore from dawn till far into the night.
8. A clause can also be the object to a preposition.
e.g. Pay careful attention to what I am going to say.
There is no meaning in what you say.
9. The object to a preposition, when it is a relative pronoun, is sometimes omitted.
e.g. He is the man I am looking for. These are the good rules to live by.
Relations Expressed by Prepositions
went about the world ran across the road leaned against a wall fell among thieves quarrelled among themselves at death’s door stood before the door stood before the curtain lies below the surface sat beside me stand by me
rain comes from the clouds in the sky fell into a ditch four round the world came to the end of the road put pen to paper lay under the table climbed up the ladder within the house.
After his death at an early date arrived before me behind time during the whole day for many years in the afternoon lived under the Moghuls on Monday pending his return since yesterday throughout the year ten minutes to twelve towards evening until his arrival rise with the sun within a month.
Sell good at auction
send the parcel by post
was destroyed by fire
heard this through a friend
cut it with a knife.
Dying by inches fought with courage worked with earnestness won with ease.
5. Cause, reason, purpose
Laboured for the good of humanity
died of fever
the very place for a picnic
did it for our good
suffers from gout
died from fatigue
concealed it through shame
shivers with fever
took medicine for cold.
There was no money by him
the mosque of omar
a man of means t
he boy with red hair.
7. Measure, standard, rate, value
e.g. He charges interest at nine percent.
Stories like these must be taken at what they are worth.
Cloth is sold by the yard It was one by the tower clock.
8. Contrast, concession
e.g After (in spite of, not withstanding) over effort, one may fail.
For one enemy, he has a hundred friends.
With all his faults, I admire him.
9. Inference, motive, source, or origin
e.g. From what I know of him, I hesitate to trust him.
The knights were brave from gallantry of spirit.
He did it from gratitude from labour health.
Prepositions Requiring Special Notice
1. In is used with names of countries and large towns, at is more often used when speaking of small towns and villages
e.g. He is in America.
2. In and at are used in speaking of things at rest, to and into are used in speaking of things in motion.
e.g. He is in bed. .
3. On is often used in speaking of things at rest, and upon the things in motion.
e.g. He sat on a chair.
4. Till is used of time and to is used of place. e.g. He slept till nine o’clock.
5. With often denotes the instrument and by the agent.
e.g. He killed two birds with one shot.
6. Since is used before a noun or phrase denoting some point of time, and is preceded by verb in the perfect tenses.
e.g. I have eaten nothing since yesterday.
7. In before a noun denoting a period of time, means at the end of; within means before the end of.
e.g. I shall return in an hour.
8. Beside means at (or by) the side of, while besides means in addition to.
e.g. Beside the ungathered rice he lay.
Some Special Prepositions
This word is usually a conjunction, but is sometimes used as a preposition.
e.g. I cannot accept less than fifty rupees for this article.
As a rule but is a conjunction when used as a preposition. But means except, with the exception of.
e.g. What can he do but die. ‘
In the following sentences the a is a weakened form of the preposition on.
eg. His wages are sixty paise a day.
Fill in the blanks with these words: against, at, by, for, from, in, like, near, of, on, to, up, with.
1. She is doing a degree course _____ a university.
2. His trousers were washed _____ the washing machine.
3. We had to climb slowly _____ the hill.
4. His house looks_____a temple.
5. How many _____ the members will join the trip?
6. Don’t lean that ladder _____ the wall.
7. I don’t usually feel tired _____ the morning.
8. Have you heard anything_____ him yet?
9. My house is quite _____ to your school.
10. Put this_____ your drawer and do not let anyone see it.
1.at 2.by 3.up 4.like 5.of 6.against 7.in 8.from 9.near 10.in