Prepositions are words that give the position of people or things in relation to the location of other people or things. The relationships they show will generally be one of two types:
- Space: Prepositions of space where something is in relation to something else. Here is an example of a sentence using a preposition of space:
- The shoe is under the bed.
- Time: Prepositions of time show when something is in relation to something else. An example of a sentence using a preposition of time is shown here:
- Work starts at eight o’clock.
Prepositions can do other things besides locate in space or time but nearly all of them modify in one way or another. Most of the time prepositions are combined with other words to form prepositional phrases. A prepositional phrase always begin with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun which is the preposition’s object. The object is the word that the preposition is in relation to. The prepositional phrase also contains the words that modify the preposition’s object. Some words can be used as prepositions or as adverbs. To tell if a word is an adverb or a preposition check if there is a noun following the word. If there is then it is a preposition.
Difficulties with Prepositions
When studying English grammar, prepositions are one of the things that present the most problems for non-native English speakers. This is due to so many prepositional phrases being idiomatic. They don’t always make sense or follow a specific rule so each must be learned separately, increasing the difficulty of preposition correction. Consider that we lie in bed but on the couch. Why are we in bed but on the couch? Learning English prepositions often requires memorizing each specific phrase and keeping a dictionary on hand. It is important to learn how to use prepositions and the other parts of grammar correctly as it can be beneficial in many different ways:
- Good grammar in the workplace improves communication skills and helps businesses become more efficient
- Good grammar in school helps to improve learning and communication skills that will result in future opportunities
- Good grammar in your day to day life creates a favorable impression with many people, and they will be more inclined to view you will as an intelligent and competent individual
Having good grammar skills may not always produce results that you notice but it never hurts, and in most cases will weigh in your favor. Our free online preposition checker is an excellent tool that you can use to begin working on your grammar skills.
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