Click here for just the big list of prepositions.
English speakers use prepositions in both formal and everyday communication. Without them, the English language would sound short and choppy. If you have a child starting grammar lessons, read through the list of prepositions and take a quick refresher class on prepositions.
Prepositions connect nouns, pronouns, and phrases with other words in a sentence. It gives information about location, direction, space, or time. Prepositions are usually part of a phrase because they often have a noun or pronoun after them. Here are two examples of prepositions in sentences.
The dog jumped over the fence.
I will go to the doctor.
The main job of prepositions is to create relationships between words. How is the dog related to the fence? It jumped over the fence. How am I related to the doctor? I am going to the doctor
Prepositional phrases can also act like adverbs or adjectives. Remember that adverbs describe verbs (actions and being), and adjectives describe nouns and pronouns (ideas, people, places, and things).
As an adverb - The children crossed the street with caution.
The prepositional phrase "with caution" describes the way the children crossed the street.
As an adjective - He lives in the house with the red roof.
The prepositional phrase "with the red roof" describes the house in a specific way.
Children will see prepositions in their early reader books. In Kindergarten and first grade, children are focused on word recognition and reading skills. Basic sentence structure is taught, but it is too early for children that young to learn parts of speech. Below is a list of prepositions new readers can recognize easily:
As children develop their reading skills, they will learn the spelling and definitions of more complex words. They are introduced to prepositions and other parts of speech between the second and fourth grade. The following list shows some more advanced prepositions:
Older elementary and middle school students are exposed to a variety of prepositions. This includes compound words and single words used in complex sentences.
by means of
in addition to
in back of
in case of
in front of
in place of
in spite of
on top of
Of course, the English language is full of exceptions. Some prepositions seem to break the rules, yet make sense in everyday language. These are called idioms. A few common examples include the following:
Prepositions are not always easy to identify in spoken and written language. However, they play a big part in making the English language colorful and interesting. Use this list of prepositions as a quick guide to help your student learn about prepositions.
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