Prepositions

Learn the different prepositions in English and how to use them. Mouse over a preposition to see its definition, pronunciation, and usage in an example sentence.

A

aboard

abroad

(also an adverb)

/əˈbɔːd/

Definition

on or onto a ship, train, bus, aeroplane, etc.

example: Welcome aboard the HMS Belfast.

about

about

(also an adverb)

/əˈbaʊt/

Definition

1- regarding or on the subject of

example: We talked about a lot of things at the meeting.

2- (British English) specifying movement in a certain area

example: She ran about the room screaming.

above

above

(also an adverb)

/əˈbʌv/

Definition

1- in extended space over and not touching

example: Our company strives to go above and beyond the norm.

2- in or to a higher level, place

example: I met the neighbours who live above us.

across

across

(also an adverb)/əˈkrɒs/

Definition

1- from one side to the other (a place, area, etc.)

example: Interpol’s jurisdiction spans across international borders.

2- expressing position or orientation.

example: I used to live across the street from my school.

after

after

(also a conjunction, adverb, and adjective)

/ˈɑːftə/

Definition

1- in the time following (an event or another period of time)

example: We’re going to watch a film after dinner.

2- behind

example: They ran after the bus.

against

against

/əˈɡɛnst,əˈɡeɪnst/

Definition

1- in opposition to

example: Many of the MP’s voted against the bill.

2- in anticipation of and preparation for (a problem or difficulty)

example: The house was insured against fire.

along

along

(also an adverb)

/əˈlɒŋ/

Definition

-1- moving in a constant direction on (a more or less horizontal surface)=

example: They were walking along the river’s edge.

-2- extending in a more or less horizontal line on=

example: There were lots of cars parked along the roadside.=

alongside

alongside

/əlɒŋˈsʌɪd/

Definition

1- close to the side of; next to

example: We were sitting alongside each other on the bus.

2- together and in cooperation with

example: He supports your cause and will stand alongside you.

amid(st)

amid(st)

(amidst is more poetic)
/əˈmɪd/
/əˈmɪdst/

Definition

1- situated more or less centrally in relation to (several other things)

example: There are some people among us who disagree with the Prime Minister’s views.

2- being a member or members of (a larger set)

example: Three Americans were among the kidnapped tourists.

among(st)

among(st)

(mostly used in British English)
/əˈmʌŋ/
/əˈmʌŋst/

Definition

1- situated more or less centrally in relation to (several other things)

example: There are some people among us who disagree with the Prime Minister’s views.

2- being a member or members of (a larger set)

example: Three Americans were among the kidnapped tourists.

anti

anti

(also an adjective and noun)

/anti/

Definition

1- opposed to or against

example: Joe can be quite anti social at times.

around

around

(also an adverb)

/əˈraʊnd/

Definition

1- on every side of

example: We built a fence around the yard.

2- in or to many places throughout (a community or locality)

example: We sometimes go for a walk around the neighbourhood.

as

as

(also an adverb and conjunction)

/az,əz/

Definition

1- used to refer to the function or character that someone or something has

example: They saw it as a threat to their safety.

2- during the time of being (the thing specified)

example: The phone rang just as I was leaving.

astride

astride

(also an adverb)

/əˈstrʌɪd/

Definition

1- with a leg on each side

example:She was sitting astride her bicycle.

2- extending across

example:Many bridges stand astride the river Thames.

at

at

/at,ət/

Definition

1- expressing location or arrival in a particular place or position

example: We weren’t at home when we heard the news.

2- expressing the time when an event takes place

example: He usually starts work at 8 o’clock every morning.

atop

atop

(also an adverb)

/əˈtɒp/

Definition

1- on the top of

example: There was a clock atop the tower.

B

bar

bar

(used especially in British English)

(also a noun and verb)

/bɑː/

Definition

except for

example: All the students failed the exam bar one.

barring

barring

/ˈbɑːrɪŋ/

Definition

except for / if not for

example: We should have a great time on the water today barring that the weather isn’t bad.

before

before

(also an adverb and conjunction)

/bɪˈfɔː/

Definition

1- preceding a time, event, etc

example: He usually goes for a jog in the morning before
work.

2- in front of

example: You should always wash your hands before eating.

behind

behind

/bɪˈhʌɪnd/

Definition

1- during the period of time preceding (a particular event or time)

example: He usually goes for a jog in the morning before work.

2- in front of

example: You should always wash your hands before eating.

below

below

(also an adverb)

/bɪˈləʊ/

Definition

1- at a lower level or layer than

example: The property is situated twenty-three metres below sea level.

2- extending underneath

example: The subway below the city.

beneath

beneath

(also an adverb)

/bɪˈniːθ/

Definition

1- extending or directly underneath

example: The new metro line goes beneath the river.

2- at a lower level or layer than

example: The ground shook beneath their feet.

beside

beside

/bɪˈsʌɪd/

Definition

1- at the side of, next to

example: I always sit beside my brother on the bus to school.

2- in addition to; apart from

example: Our trip was ok beside the airline losing our luggage.

besides

besides

(also an adverb)

/bɪˈsʌɪdz/

Definition

1- in addition to; apart from

example: There weren’t many things missing besides my watch.

between

between

(also an adverb)

/bɪˈtwiːn/

Definition

1- at, into, or across the space separating (two objects or regions)/p>

example: Sometimes, you must read between the lines.

2- in the period separating (two points in time)

example: We usually have a snack between lunch and dinner.

beyond

beyond

(also an adverb)

/bɪˈjɒnd/

Definition

1- at or to the further side of

example: I could see a thunder storm beyond the horizon.

2- happening or continuing after (a specified time, stage, or event).

example: We usually go beyond our client’s expectations.

but

but

(also an adverb, conjunction, and noun)

/bʌt,bət/

Definition

1- other than, except

example: I like the design but I don’t like the colour.

by

by

(also an adverb, and noun)

/bʌɪ/

Definition

1- referring to the one responsible for an action

example: Have you read any books by JR Tolkien?

2- indicating how some is done, means of achievement

example: I learned a lot by traveling to different countries.

C

circa

circa

/ˈsəːkə/

Definition

1- approximately, often used when preceding a date

example: The treaty of versaj was signed circa 28 June 1919.

concerning

concerning

(also an adjective)

/kənˈsəːnɪŋ/

Definition

1- in relation to, on the subject of

example: There have been a lot of questions concerning the president’s motives.

considering

considering

(also an adverb and conjunction)

/kənˈsɪd(ə)rɪŋ/

Definition

1- taking into account, keeping in mind

example: The company did quite well considering te financial problems it had.

counting

counting

/ˈkaʊntɪŋ/

Definition

1- including, taking into account when reaching a total

example: Four people were injured in the accident counting the passengers.

D

despite

despite

(also a noun)

/dɪˈspʌɪt/

Definition

1- Not being affected by, not noticing

example: The parade went ahead despite the bad weather.

down

down

(also an adverb, verb, noun, and adjective)

/daʊn/

Definition

1- from a high to a lower point

example: She fell down the stairs.

during

during

/ˈdjʊərɪŋ/

Definition

1- Throughout, over the course of a period of time

example: She saw many interesting things during her stay.

2- at a particular point in time.

example: There was someone heckling during the president’s speech.

E

except

except

(also a verb, and conjunction)

/ɪkˈsɛpt/

Definition

1- leaving out, not including

example: Everyone was happy except for Tom.

excepting

excepting

(formal)

/ɪkˈsɛptɪŋ/

Definition

1- apart from, not including

example: The house was in good condition, excepting the damaged garage door.

excluding

excluding

/ɪkˈskluːdɪŋ/

Definition

1- not taking into consideration

example: The price is $24.99, excluding delivery costs.

F

following

following

(also a noun and adjective)

/ɪkˈskluːdɪŋ/

Definition

1- happening after or as a result of

example: Following our telephone conversation, I made reservations.

for

for

(also a conjunction)

/fɔr/

Definition

1- indicating the direction of travel

example: They are heading for the train station.

2- indicating what or who something is given or sent to

example: This letter is for you.

3- showing purpose

example: It’s for cleaning PCs.

from

from

(also a conjunction)

/frɒm,frəm/

Definition

1- indicating the location from which an action, trip, etc begins

example: We set out from the city center.

2- indicating the time from which an activity, event, etc begins

example: The museum is open from 8am.

G

given

given

(also an adjective, and noun)

/ɡɪv(ə)n/

Definition

1- taking into consideration, account

example: We don’t need a taxi given we are being picked up at the airport.

gone

gone

(also an adjective)

(used in British English)

/ɡɒn/

Definition

1- refering to a time in the past

example: It’s gone quarter past two.

I

in

in

(also an adverb, and adjective)
(used in British English)

/ɪn/

Definition

1- indicating that something is enclosed or surrounded

example: I used to live in Poland.

2- indicating the time of an event or situation

example: There were many wars in the 20th century.

including

including

/ɪnˈkluːdɪŋ/

Definition

1- containing or considering

example: Everyone liked the film, including the critics.

inside

inside

(also an adverb, noun, and adjective)

/ɪnˈsʌɪd/

Definition

1- the inner walls or surface of

example: I like the inside of your bag.

2- the interior or inner part of something

example: There was nobody inside the car.

into

into

(also an adverb, noun, and adjective)

/ɪntʊ,ˈɪntə/

Definition

1- describing movement resulting in being enclosed or surrounded in something

example: She got into the taxi.

2- describing movement which results in physical contact

example: He drove his car into a tree.

L

less

less

(also an adverb, adjective, determiner, and pronoun)

/lɛs/

Definition

1- minus, previous to subtracting something

example: He earns $300,000 a year less tax and expenses.

like

like

(also an adverb, adjective, conjunction, and noun)

/lʌɪk/

Definition

1- similar to, having the same features, characteristics

example: Their car is like ours.

2- used when attracting attention to the nature of the action

example: He never behaves like this.

M

minus

minus

(also an adjective, and noun)

/ˈmʌɪnəs/

Definition

1- indicating the subtraction of something

example: He took home 30k minus expenses this month.

2- describing a temperature or number below zero

example: It’s supposed to be minus 30 outside today.

N

near

near

(also an adverb, adjective, and verb)

/nɪə/

Definition

1- withing the proximity of

example: She lives near the school.

O

of

of

/ɒv,(ə)v/

Definition

1- showing the relationship between part and whole

example: Three quarters of the town voted for him.

2- showing the relationship between value and a scale of measurement

example: Shares had an increase of 3.6% last quarter.

off

off

(also an adverb, adjective, noun, and verb)

 

/ɒf/

Definition

1- indicating a movement away or down from

example: She fell off the couch.

2- located or traveling in a direction away from

example: An exit ramp branching off the expressway.

on

on

(also an adverb, and noun)

 

/ɒn/

Definition

1- indicating the position of something in contact with and supported by a surface

example: The keys are on> the table.

2- Indicating a distinct part of a surface

example: He had paint on his hands.

onto

onto

/ˈɒntuː/

Definition

1- describing movement on top of or to a position on something

example: The puppy jumped onto her laps.

2- (informal) informed, aware of

example: We are <onto your scheme.

opposite

opposite

(also an adverb, adjective and noun)

/ˈɒpəzɪt,-sɪt/

Definition

1- facing or in the position of the other side

example: There’s a bank machine opposite to the shop.

outside

outside

(also an adverb, adjective, and noun)

/aʊtˈsʌɪd/

Definition

1- situated or moving beyond the border of

example: The children are playing outside.

2- beyond the scope or limits of

example: They do not accept responsibility outside their mandate.

over

over

(also an adverb, and noun)

/ˈəʊvə/

Definition

1- extending, moving above

example: A plane flew over our house.

2- at a higher position than

example: They’re building a new bridge over the river.

P

past

past

(also an adverb, adjective, and noun)

/pɑːst/

Definition

1- describing a location further or beyond

example: The bank is past the plaza on your left.

2- in a time later than or beyond

example: It’s past her bedtime.

pending

pending

(also an adjective)

/ˈpɛndɪŋ/

Definition

1- until something happens

example: The case is still pending the judge’s decision.

per

per

/pəː/

Definition

1- for each (used with units to ecpress rates)

example: They pay $20 per hour.

plus

plus

(also an adjective, conjunction, and noun)

/plʌs/

Definition

1- with the addition of

example: Three plus three equals six.

2- describing a temperature above zero

example: It was plus 30 degrees today.

R

re

re

/riː,reɪ/

Definition

1- in relation to (used at the beginning of an official document, r when referencing something in a formal letter)

example: re: This month’s budget.

2- about, concerning

example: We spoke with the Director re the marketing campaign.

regarding

regarding

 /riː,reɪ/

Definition

1- with reference to, concerning

example: There has been a lot of speculation regarding the New president’s policies.

respecting

respecting

(formal)

/rɪˈspɛktɪŋ/

Definition

1- regarding, with reference to

example: They had many questions respecting the business model.

round

round

(also an adverb, adjective, verb, and noun)

/raʊnd/

Definition

1- On or to all sides of something(especially a circle)

example: We put a fence round the backyard.

2- to encircle (something or someone)Z

example: The police setup a perimeter round the building.

S

save

save

(also a verb, adjective, verb, and noun)

/seɪv/

Definition

1- with the exception of

example: Not much was known about the girl save her name.

saving

saving

(also an adjective, and noun)

/ˈseɪvɪŋ/

Definition

1- with the exception of

example: They didn’t know much about the venue saving it’s time.

since

since

(also an adverb, and conjunction)

/sɪns/

Definition

1- in all the time after

example: He has lived here since June.

T

than

than

(also a conjunction)

/ðan,ð(ə)n/

Definition

1- introducing the second element when making comparisons

example: His life is much better than it used to be.

2- used in contrasting expressions, when indicating exception

example: I’d rather go somewhere than stay inside.

through

through

(“thru” in American English)

(also an adverb, and adjective)

/θruː/

Definition

1- moving from one end to another

example: We drove through the forest.

2- describing time continuing towards completion

example: I’m half through it.

throughout

throughout

(also an adverb)
/θruːˈaʊt/

Definition

1- everywhere in a place, in every part of

example: Multiple fire alarms are installed throughout the building.

2- from the beginning to the end of an event, periods, course, etc

example: We cover many topics throughout the course.

till

till

(also a conjunction)

/tɪl/

Definition

1- a less formal way of saying “until”

example: We won’t find out the results till tomorrow.

to

to

(also an adverb, and infinitve marker)

/tə,tʊ,tuː/

Definition

1- describing the direction of motion

example: Sandy went to the store.

2- reaching or approaching

example: The company’s opinion went from good to bad within 3 hours.

touching

touching

(also an adjective)
/ˈtʌtʃɪŋː/

Definition

1- regarding, concerning, about
example:
There are a couple of issues touching the topic.

toward(s)

toward(s)

/təˈwɔːd(z),twɔːd(z),ˈtɔːd(z)ː/

Definition

1- in the direction of

example: She walked towards him.

U

under

under

(also an adverb)

/ˈʌndə/

Definition

1- in a place that is lower than or directly below something

example: I found an earring under the table.

2- less than

example: No one under eighteen can enter.

underneath

underneath

(also an adverb, and noun)
/ʌndəˈniːθ/

Definition

1- under or below something

example: He had a sweater underneath his jacket.

unlike

unlike

(also an adjective)

/ʌnˈlʌɪk/

Definition

1- not the same, dissimilar, different

example: She has blond hair, unlike her sister who has dark hair.

until

until

(also a conjunction)

/ənˈtɪl/

Definition

1- up to a certain time

example: He can’t see you until tomorrow.

up

up

(also an adverb, adjective, noun, and verb)

/ʌp/

Definition

1- in a higher place or position

example: a squirrel climbed up the tree.

2- further along (a street)

example: The post office is just up the road.

upon

upon

/əˈpɒn/

Definition

1- a more formal version of “on”

example: The film was based upon a true story.

V

versus

versus

/ˈvəːsəs/

Definition

1- against (used in sports and legal disputes)

example: It’s us versus them.

2- in contrast or opposed to

example: I prefer books versus films.

via

via

/ˈvʌɪə/

Definition

1- traveling en route (through a place) to a destination

example: The 6:15 train to Warsaw via Krakow is delayed.

2- by way of, through

example: Most workers are guaranteed job security via labour unions.

W

with

with

/wɪð/

Definition

1- indicating possession, having

example: The man with long hair.

2- showing togetherness

example: John is with Sue.

3- using, by means of

example: She cut it with a knife.

4- against

example: Sweeden is playing with Germany tonight.

within

within

(also an adverb)

/ˈvʌɪə/

Definition

1- in the confines of

example: They should be here within an hour.

2- no further than (used with distances)

example: They live within a few kilometres of Tokyo.

without

without

(also an adverb, and conjunction)

/wɪðˈaʊt/

Definition

1- in absence of

example: They started the film without them.

2- lacking in, not having

example: It’s difficult to do a job without the proper tools.