types of preposition header

4 Important Types of Prepositions in English with Meanings, Uses, and Examples



In English grammar, a sentence is meaningless if there are lacking parts of speech. A complete and meaningful sentence consists of appropriate parts of speech like nouns or pronouns that function as the subject; adjectives or adverbs to describe the subject or the action; verbs to justify the action being done; conjunctions to connect the words or phrases; and prepositions to make the sentence meaningful.

All parts of speech are important aspects of a sentence, especially prepositions. Prepositions in English help make sentences accurate and correct. In learning English, it is sometimes confusing which prepositions are appropriate for use in sentences because they almost have the same functions.

For sure, you know the most commonly used prepositions in English like “on, in, under, at, of, and to.” However, other prepositions in English are also used in sentences and we cannot determine their function.

In this article, we will introduce you to the common types of prepositions in English and give you insights into their usage in sentences.

Why do we use prepositions? How are they important?

This is a question that you can immediately answer. As a language learner, you are surely confused about how to properly use prepositions in your English sentences. We use prepositions to show the relationship between parts of speech and express the connections among the words in sentences to time, space, manner, place, and the like.

Language learners need to know prepositions in English because they can be more aware of the flexibility of this part of speech and they would be able to understand how prepositions work in sentences to create meaningful sentences.

When do we use prepositions in English?

Although not all types of sentences in English require prepositions, other sentence constructions need them to express clarity of meaning. We use prepositions in sentences that indicate a specific place, time, manner, and other situations.

public speech

Common Types of Prepositions in English

Generally, there are four types of prepositions in English namely the prepositions of time, manner, movement, and place. Each type has various kinds of prepositions depending on their function in sentences. 

  1. Preposition of Time

As the name itself says, the preposition of time talks about a specific time or event that something happened. This can be a day or date, a year, a season, a month, or a particular moment. There are three commonly used prepositions of time: at, in, and on.

  • Preposition “at”

The preposition “at” is used to indicate a specific time.

Specific timeslot

        I usually get up at 4:00 A.M.
        Our huddle time is at 8:00 every morning.

 Meal time

        My friends and I are meeting up at lunchtime.
        At dinner time, my friend will propose to his girlfriend.
        She sent me a message at noon on Friday.

 Time of day/events 

My sister often has bad dreams at night.
We will visit Paris at Christmas time.
­­Her dad plays golf at the weekend.

“At the weekend” is normally used in British English.        

  • Preposition “in”

The preposition “in” is used to indicate parts of the day or longer periods. We use “in” for months, years, seasons, or holidays.

Months, Years, Seasons

The president’s daughter is getting married in December.
In winter, Tokyo is usually cold.
Mr. Johnson will study English in Cebu in July 2024.
The Tokyo Olympics was held in 2021.

 Parts of the day / Other time phrases

Ms. Wilson is planning to come here in the evening.
In the past, people didn’t have smartphones.
Today’s fashion is the same as it was in the 90s.

90s fashion girl
    • Preposition “on”

    The preposition “on” is used to indicate the most specific period. We commonly use it for specific dates and days of the week.

    Days of the week

    My flight leaves at 3:00 P.M. on Tuesday.
    The arraignment will take place at the City Hall on Friday morning.
    On Monday, the new manager will be introduced.


    She was born on March 15, 1993.
    Did you hear that on February 12th, there was a huge bombing in the city center?
    The pageant candidates will gather for a photo shoot on June 15. 

  1. Preposition of Manner

The preposition manner talks about how something happens or how something is done. This is used to answer questions starting with “How.” Examples of these prepositions in English are the following.


I write my articles in English. (How do I write my articles?)
The governor spoke to the public in a calm manner. (How did the governor speak in public?)
My friend talked to me in tears. (How did my friend talk to me?)       
The manager approached the employee in a friendly tone. (How did the manager approach the employee?)

  ◙ with

We eat with a spoon and a fork. (How do we eat?)
The delivery man handled my package with care. (How did the delivery man handle my package?)
The young woman responded to her boss with the utmost respect. (How did the young woman respond to her boss?)
With so much love, the lady accepted her boyfriend’s proposal. (How did the lady accept her boyfriend’s proposal?) 


Our colleagues go to work by bus. (How do our colleagues go to work?)
Dr. Jose Rizal of the Philippines was killed by gunshots. (How was Dr. Jose Rizal killed?)
She said that we needed to get to the station by hook or by crook. (How do we need to get to the station?)


She doesn’t like going to work on foot.
I write my articles on my computer.


The ceremony lasted for two hours.
We have not seen each other for quite some time now.
The employee was advised to rest for three days.

delivery man
speak in public
laptop and knee

Notice that some of these prepositions in English are used as instruments or tools to describe how something is done or how something happens.

  1. Preposition of Movement

This type of preposition is used to show the movement of something, usually from one place to another.

For example:

I saw the thief put what he stole into his pocket.
It’s tiring to walk around the city on foot.
How long is the flight from London to New York?
It takes me thirteen hours to travel by motorbike across Cebu Island.
She took her handkerchief out of her pocket and offered it to me.
Are you not scared to pass through this tunnel?
I didn’t notice I was driving toward the north of this island.

Take note that we use these prepositions in English when talking about a thing that causes or is caused by a movement.

Get to Know These 4 Important Types of Prepositions in English with Meanings, Uses, and Examples
  1. Preposition of Place

Prepositions of place indicate the location of something.

on – used when something is touching another thing.

The woman placed her bag on her desk after logging in.
Teacher Jee showed the pen on the book to her students.
She knew she’d be on the top for doing a great job.

over / above – used when something does not directly touch another thing, but a gap is observed.

Planes usually fly over the mountains of Sierra Madre.
Can you hold your hands over your head for more than an hour?
The dog jumped over the fence and ran quickly.
The clock is above the table.
Get some mattresses from above the cupboard.               

in – used to talk about something that is inside another thing. It is also used to talk about a specific place or location.

The flowers in the basket smelled so good.
I heard some noise in my stomach.
In the Philippines, the people are hospitable and friendly.
There are more people in Europe than in Asia.
I love playing with my childhood friends in my hometown. 

under / below –  used to talk about something that is below another thing.

The workers usually leave their belongings under their desks.
I found my socks under my bed; they’re dirty.
The dead are buried six feet below the ground.
Make sure to wear skirts that are at least 2 inches below the knee.

between – this is used to indicate the location of something between two things.

You can see the computer between the shelf and the desk.
Between you and me, I am more brilliant.
Could you please tell her to call me between 7 and 9 in the evening?

flowers basket
happy dog
Young Man and Woman writing beautiful words in letters

behind/in front of – these are prepositions in English used to talk about the location of something that is at the back or in front of another thing.

Our company is behind the cathedral.
Look behind, I am just here.
I am sitting in front of my computer.
Please bring your meal in front of the store.

Other prepositions of place

My mom bought a new pair of glasses across the street.
The saleslady is standing near the fitting room.
Why don’t you sit by the table?
I did not expect you to sit beside me.
I want to eat my dinner at home.

In addition to the prepositions in English mentioned in this article, the prepositions “of” and “to” are also commonly used in sentences. The preposition “of” is used to introduce phrases that consist of noun + noun.


I like the sound of  music in my ears.
There are many kinds of fish in the ocean.

The preposition “to” is used to indicate a purpose, a destination, or receiver of an action.


Purpose: I look forward to seeing you soon.
Destination: She is traveling to New York.
Receiver: Could you please give this key to Johan?

Prepositions in English like “on, in, at, on, and by” can be used many times depending on the context you are using them. There are also sentences in which we can use more than one preposition.

  • The girl sat on the wooden platform by the seashore while covering her eyes with her hands as she listened to the waves of the ocean
  • Jane and her friends are going on a night out on Friday, at 10:00 PM.
  • All the employees gather at the cafeteria at lunchtime to eat their lunch together before going back to work and ending their shift at 5:00 PM.

By looking at the sentences, you will be able to identify which types of prepositions in English are used and what their uses are.

Here’s the list of prepositions in English.

Common prepositions in English

6 Simple Rules for Prepositions in English Grammar

  1. Each preposition must have an object.

She glanced through the window of her room.
I saw what had happened with my own two eyes.

  1. A preposition must be placed before a noun or a pronoun (Note: The prefix “pre” means “before.”)

Focus your eyes on the road.
He offered his services to them. 

  1. The pronoun following the preposition should be in object form.

I don’t want to put the blame on you.
She saw the best in me.

  1. There are two forms of prepositions in English: single-word and group of words. 

Tell me something interesting about yourself. – Single-word
On top of all your achievements, having a successful career is the best. – complex; a group of words

  1. Do not confuse the preposition ‘to’ with the infinitive ‘to’.

I am here to introduce a new product. – to-infinitive (to + main verb)
I have always been looking forward to meeting your parents. – preposition (to + gerund)

  1. Verbs cannot be the object of a preposition.

The event was for walk of the devotees.
She was in speak of her opinion.

Knowing the rules of prepositions in English can help you with your language-learning journey. No matter how much you know about prepositions, it is important to be familiar with the rules to use them appropriately.

Prepositions are everywhere. Their role in language is crucial. They make sentences easier to understand, and they create meaningful sentences. They not only help you improve your speaking skills but your writing skills as well. With your knowledge of the prepositions in English, you will start to overcome your fear of speaking English and be more confident in expressing yourself.

Practice Time!

Let us check how well you understood the prepositions in English introduced in this article. Identify the correct type of the underlined preposition in each sentence to determine their usage.

__________ 1. Are you going to see me at 7:00 PM tonight?

__________ 2. They knew that their sister was going home in December.

__________ 3. Ms. Millers forgot that she had put her keys in her bag this morning.

__________ 4. I saw a woman wearing red sneakers at the café yesterday.

__________ 5. On March 18th, my parents are going to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

__________ 6. Did you inform her of her tasks as the new staff?

__________ 7. I usually go home to my hometown by plane as it is more convenient.

__________ 8. The caretaker transferred the plants to the garden with a wheelbarrow.

__________ 9. Nowadays, it is easier to travel from Japan to Korea.

__________ 10. Never look behind you when you watch a horror movie.

__________ 11. I found an interesting book on the shelf.

__________ 12. In the old days, people wrote letters to their loved ones.

__________ 13. She waited for the train for a long time.

__________ 14. The CEO is seated between the President and the Vice President.

__________ 15. Mary put the Koi fish into the fish bowl.

Good job! The answers to the test are here.. Keep learning prepositions in English to improve your language skills.

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