Prepositions

Prepositions are words which relate a noun or pronoun (called the object of the preposition) to another word in the sentence.

The preposition and the object of the preposition together with any modifiers of the object is known as a prepositional phrase.

The following is a list of most of the prepositions used in English today. Note that many of the words may also function as other parts of speech. Also note that some prepositions are compound, made up of more than one word.

aboard beyond on account of
about but onto
above by means of on top of
according to   concerning opposite
across from considering out
across despite out of
after down outside
against during owing to
ahead of except¹ over
along for past
alongside from per
along with in prior to
amid in addition to   regarding
among in back of round
apart from in front of since
around in lieu of through
aside from in place of throughout
as of in regard to² till
at inside to
atop in spite of together with
barring instead of toward(s)
because of into under
before in view of underneath
behind likeuntil
below near unto
beneath nearby up
beside next to upon
besides of with
between off within
by on without

Notes: ¹Except may be paired with other prepositions.

²"In regards to" is nonstandard; however even "in regard to" is considered by many to be stilted. When in doubt, use "regarding."

A Note on Into vs. In to and Similar Problems

Many words that are prepositions may be adverbs. This can be confusing when the prepostion to follows on or in or when the preposition on follows up.

The words into, onto, and upon followed by an object are prepositions.

The pairs in to, on to, and up on followed by an object are each made up of an adverb followed by a preposition. The meanings and the grammatical relationships are different from when they are single word prepositions.

Examples: He ran in to the building.
(The adverb in modifies ran; to the building tells where he ran in.)

He ran into the building.
(He collided with the building; or, into the building tells us where he ran.)

Up on the housetop, reindeer pause...
(High on top of the house...)

The toy fell upon the ground.
(Here upon refers just to the relative relationship between the toy and the ground, it has nothing to with height. Things seldom fall up...)

The car turned onto Main Street.
(The car turned; onto Main Street tells us where the car turned.)

He turned on to Tchaikovsky.
(The adverb on modifies turn; to Tchaikovsky tells us to whom he turned on.)


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