Prepositions

Hi, I'm Helpy. Nice to meet you here in this course. Here you can learn how to use English prepositions correctly. You know, prepositions are often misused by students. But this might lead to certain misunderstandings which should be avoided. I'll show you the most important facts.

assessment

Choose the correct word to fill in.

You can register for the exam by a form online.

We arrived Crete in the middle of the night.

When there is a thunder our dog always hides the sofa.

Choose the correct word to fill in.

We have to fly a form online.

Choose the correct word to fill in.

He was watching TV the journey, so he didn't see much of the scenery.

I'd like to stay in this job the end of next year.

Choose the correct word to fill in.

I'd like to travel train, that's better for my nerves.

Sophie worked a nurse when she came to New York.

I enjoy all classical music Richard Wagner.

Choose the correct word to fill in.

My dad will give me 100,- $ if I pass the test.

result

Even if you have made no mistake it can help you improve your English if you have a closer look at the following chapters. You will learn a lot about pepositions of place, time and movement and there are further exercises for you to do.

Your mistakes (if there are any) will help you improve your English.

Prepositions are very often not used correctly.

general form

preposition + noun/pronoun

Prepositions are usually followed by a noun (A) ...

example: I'll wait for you at the bus stop.

 

... or a pronoun (B).

example: That was a wonderful holiday. I really must tell you about it.

preposition + verb

If we use a verb after a preposition we must use the gerund (= ing-form).

examples:

You can get better marks by learning more.

Tom got the job in spite of having bad marks in his report.

 

preposition on its own

Some prepositions can be used as adverbs. That's when they stand alone.

example:     Have you met him before.

                        Hurry up, you mustn't fall behind.

preposition at the end of a sentence

We can use prepositions at the end of questions or relative clauses.

example:     What are you looking for?

                        Look, that's the man I had a quarrel with.

general usage

relationships

Match the correct parts by dragging and dropping.

  • That is my car over there.
    place
  • We were walking along the river when it started to rain.
    movement
  • I had to go to the doctor's during our holidays
    time
  • You can send me the invitation by mail.
    means
  • Please open this envelope with a sharp knife.
    instrument
  • This nail is used for hanging my jacket on the wall.
    purpose

place

in - on - at

at

special occasions

mealtimes

~ night; ~ the weekend

We meet every day at tea time.

We get up late at the weekend.

in

parts of the day

months and seasons

years and centuries

I get really tired in the afternoon.

He was born in 1998.

on

special days

parts of days of the week

What did you get on your birthday.

He arrived on Tuesday.

under - below - over - above - on top of

under

in a lower position

(close or touching)

The letter must be under the books on my desk.

below

in a lower position

(not touching)

In the apartment below me there lives a very nice young lady.

over

in a higher position

(close or touching)

The sighn over the door said "welcome!"

above

in a higher position That helicopter has been flying above our house for one hour.

on top of

in the highest position Can you see the cross? It is on top of the mountain.

 

next to - by - beside - near

You could also use "by" instead of "next to".

"Near" means "not very far away".

With towns or cities "near" is the best.

in front of - opposite

The cat is sitting in front of the box.

 

The girl is sitting opposite the boy.

between - among

There is an outhouse between the two trees.

This is outhouse is among the trees.

 

in - on - at

in

continent

country

city

street (with number)

inside a building or room

on

street (without number)

island

river

beach

at

complete adresses

near buildings (outside)

at school, work, church (not the building)

Lückentext-Frage

The ball is the box.
The small box is the box.
 
The ball is the box.
 
The outhouse is the trees.
 
The cat is the box.
 
Tim is sitting Mary.
 

 

movement

into, out of, onto, off

into

describes a movement to the inside of something

 

Let's take the main road into the town centre,

out of

is the opposite of into

 

The dog jumped out of the cage and ran away.

onto

expresses the movement to a surface or  'line'.

 

Let's get onto the motorway near the frontier.

off

is the opposite of onto.


 

along, past, through

along

is used when we follow the length of something (e.g. a river, a path, a street ...)

 

Let's take the main road into the town centre,

past

is used when we pass by.

(go past a shop, building, park ...)

 

The dog jumped out of the cage and ran away.

through

is used, when we go from one side of something to the other side by entering and leaving it again.

 

Let's get onto the motorway near the frontier.


 

across, over

across

is used when we fgo from one side of sth. to the other side.

 

 

When using across you touch the surface

over

is used in the same situation but ...

 

 

When using over, you do not touch the surface.


 

at, to

to at
'To' is used to show the direction. It can be replaced by 'at' but then there is a change in meaning.

"Please, throw this pencil to me."

(I don't want to go and get it.)

 

He threw this pencil at me.

 

(He was very angry and tried to hit me)


 

into, out of, onto, off

 

prepositionsofmovement

Lückentext-Frage

He kicked the ball the box.
The car went the bridge.
The ball rolled the tube.
The car went the post office..
   
The cat jumped the box.
The car went the garage.
The car went the garage.

 

Lückentext-Frage

Our cycling holiday in the Lake District was great, thanks. We had one really lovely day when we cycled the little village of Boot, then we went the River Esk for a while we finally found a bridge. We went a little village and then cycled all the way to Ravebglass the coast. It was already late so we went anice little hotel to ask a free room. They had one for us and they had a wonderful pool. Of course I at once jumped it.

time

in - on - at

at

special occasions

mealtimes

~ night; ~ the weekend

We meet every day at tea time.

We get up late at the weekend.

in

parts of the day

months and seasons

years and centuries

I get really tired in the afternoon.

He was born in 1998.

on

special days

parts of days of the week

What did you get on your birthday.

He arrived on Tuesday.

in - within - by - from ... until

in

We talk about a completed period of time I finished decorating my room in only two days.

within

before a period of time has passed You should have called him within 2 days.

by

not later than I need the results by Thursday (on Thursday or earlier)

(from) ... until

a period of time ending at a certain point

The festival runs from Friday evening until Sunday night.

('till' is often used in informal language)

for - during - last (for)

for

It means  'the whole time' I waited for her to come for one hour.

during

It means 'at one point' in a period of time

 

It sometimes means 'for a while'.

You should have called him within 2 days.

 

I slept during the afternoon.

last (for)

In this expression the preposition can be left out. The course lasts (for) 12 weeks.

Unbenannte Textzuordnung-Frage

  • We are starting in
    four days.
  • Working in
    the afternoon is sometimes really hard.
  • I am working in London in
    the summer.
  • Can you be here by
    five o'clock?
  • We had to wait for
    the bus to come.

prepositions with different meanings

in - on - at (summary)

by - with - for

by

We use it to say how we do something

She gives her tea more taste by adding some rum.

Do you pay cash or by credit card?

We say by bus, by car but on foot (= walking)

with

We use it in 2 senses:

1. 'in the company of'

2. to show the instrument we use

These usages mustn't be mixed!

1. I spend my holidays with my friends from work.

2. He opened the bottle with his knife.

for

 

We use it to indicate the purpose of something. We use this bag only for transporting dirty things .

 

as - like

as

We use it

1. for a person's job or role.

 

 

2. to say what sth. can be used for.

He always works as a watch guard at the beach in summer.

 

I use this tablet only as an e-book reader.

like

We use it when we want to express a certein similarity.

Your girlfriend looks like a film star tonight.

Her perfume smells like lilac.

 

besides - except (for) - apart from

besides

This means 'in addition to'.

Do not confuse it with 'beside'!

I need another bike besides my touring bike.

except

This means 'but not'.

This pub is open every day except (for) Monday.

I invited all my friends except (for) David.

apart from

This expression can have both meanings:

- besides

- except

I want to do more sports apart from ( = besides) tennis.

All my friends will come apart from (= except) David.

 

from - of

from

Used to show the material used in a product. These shoes are made from calfskin.

of

Used in the same sense My new shoes are made of genuine leather.

The difference (very slight) is taht from is mostly used when we talk about a material that has been changed in some way. (e. g. calfskin has been changed into leather)

Unbenannte Textzuordnung-Frage

Bring the given words in the correct order to make a sentence.
  • 1
    most
  • 2
    older
  • 3
    people
  • 4
    can
  • 5
    only
  • 6
    read
  • 7
    with
  • 8
    glasses

Unbenannte Textzuordnung-Frage

Bring the given words in the correct order to make a sentence.
  • 1
    my
  • 2
    uncle
  • 3
    worked
  • 4
    for
  • 5
    30
  • 6
    years
  • 7
    as
  • 8
    a teacher

Unbenannte Textzuordnung-Frage

Bring the given words in the correct order to make a sentence.
  • 1
    this
  • 2
    computer
  • 3
    can
  • 4
    be
  • 5
    used
  • 6
    as
  • 7
    a
  • 8
    DVD player

prepositional phrases

by

by chance

= not planned I met David by chance at the university.

by mistake

= do sth. wrong but not on purpose Sorry, I spilled some red wine over your book by mistake.

by the way

= when adding another idea which doesn't really fit "By the way, can you help me repair my car?"

 

at

at work / home / school

place Dave is at school. You can't call him now.

at last

after a long time Mary came at last - very late as usual.

at least

not less than You will have to spend at least 200,- € for a tablet computer.

at the end / beginning (of)

the last / first thing They collected the tip for the driver at the end of the trip.

at the latest

not later than We must sign in for the exam by Monday at the latest.

Remember:

Dave is at school. (He is either a pupil or a teacher.)

I was in the school today. (Not to attend a lesson but just inside the building).

for

for ever (positive)

 

for good (negative)

always, starting from now

It's a wonderful place. I'd like to live here for ever.

 

I hate my work. I'm leaving it for good.

for sale

you can buy it Are all these cars for sale.

in

in advance

before We have to pay two thirds of the price in advance.

in charge (of)

responsible for Gerry is in charge of 17 men and 12 women.

in love (with)

have strong positive feelings She fell in love with her neighbour and soon they married.

in public / private

so that everybody can / van't see it Some people do not like to speak in public.

in the end

finally

after time and effort

It took me a lot of time but I found the bug in the end.

in time

early enough You must arrive in time because we won't wait.

on

on business

for work I have to go to the USA on business very often.

on fire

burning That old stable is on fire. We must call the fire brigade.

on holiday

away (for pleasure) She is on holiday for two weeks.

on purpose

intentionally I didn't break the vase on purpose, it was an accident.

on time

at the correct time The trains almost never arrive on time.

out of

out of date

old-fashioned You hairstyle is really out of date. You should go to another hairdresser.

out of order

not working I can't receive e-mails. My router is out of order.

out of the question

not possible You can't go to this party. That is out of the question.

miscellaneous

never use "to" with home, here, there

 

Come to my house!

But:

Come here! Go there! Go home!

at the end

the last thing They showed a beautiful sunset at the end of the film.

in the end

finally (after some time has passed) I was allowed to go to the party in the end. It took me some time to persuade my dad.

in time

 

on time

early enough

 

at the right time

We arrived at the station in time to get a place at the window.

 

But the train couldn't leave on time because of the bad weather.

Textzuordnung-Frage

  • Alices new hairstyle looks really old-fashioned
    ou ot date
  • Sonja made a good impression at first.
    in the beginning
  • Julia didn't do that deliberately.
    on purpose
  • Teresa had to explain that in front of everyone.
    in public
  • Tom finished his work with days to spare.
    in time
  • Maggy finally threw out her old sofa.
    in the end
  • Fiona had an accident when she was travelling for work.
    on business
  • Davis is responsible for more than 25 people.
    in charge of
  • Jodie reached her bus at exactly the right time.
    on time

final test

1

You can apply for a loan by  the number below or in person at one of our branches.

2

It was pouring with rain outside so I had to wait for Joe  the theatre.

3

Don't put things  the microwave when it's on as it gets very hot.

4

It's impossible to find anything  all these books and papers!

5

Come down  that wall immediately! It's too high to play on.

6

There are lots of really lovely walks  the River Thames.

7

There are lots of really lovely walks  the River Thames.

8

Don't shout  me! I hate it when you lose your temper.

9

I prefer not to go to meetings  Friday afternoons.

10

I still haven't heard anything from the interview I had  Monday.

11

The hotel is closed for repairs  the end of February.

12

I sometimes fall asleep  his lectures - they're so boring!

13

Please don't cut your potatoes  a knife - it's considered rude here.

14

I love your perfume - it really smells  roses.

15

'Have you got enough cash?' 'No, I'll pay  credit card.'

16

I like all flavours of ice cream  for strawberry.

17

Stay where you are. I'll come  and pick you up immediately.

18

18 It will take about three hours to do this work, at  .

19

The film is good but there's a lot of violence  the end.

20

The plane was due to arrive at 5.15 and it landed right  time.