Here, I have briefly described the usage of the most commonly used prepositions. They convey the expressions of time, place, direction, conveyance, etc. One preposition may have several uses but to place them appropriately one has to gain accurate knowledge of it. It seems difficult to mug up all these rules, therefore, you simply have to understand and practice them, then you will be able to use them correctly.
So, let’s have a look at them:
ON – It is used:
When we refer to a place as a surface.
Ex- She is dancing on the stage.
Cat is sleeping on the table.
They are sitting on the chairs.
To talk about particular days, dates, and holidays.
Ex- They are arriving here on Christmas.
India got independence on 15th august 1947.
He has to attend the seminar on Monday.
Refers to tv or other devices.
Ex- He is attending the online classes on mobile phone.
Rahul is working on laptop.
She is watching her favorite show on television.
‘On’ is used with planets.
Ex- Many man-made satellites landed on mars for collecting evidences.
Neil Armstrong was the first person to land on moon.
To talk about a floor in a building:
Ex-They live on the 15th floor.
Grocery shop is on the ground floor.
Used as a function word to indicate a source of dependence:
Ex- You can rely on me.
She is dependent on her brother for travelling from one place to another.
Used as a function word to indicate means of conveyance:
Ex- He is traveling from one city to another on bike.
He come to school on bicycle.
* We say on foot (not by foot).
- It is used when we are talking about a place as an area, with name of cities, towns or villages.
Example – She lives in London.
There is a big pond in the forest.
The huge banyan tree is located in the center of the village.
- We use the preposition “in” for an enclosed space or a place which is surrounded by boundaries.
Example – She is sitting in the banquet hall.
They are going to have dinner in the nearby restaurant.
The dog is in the garden.
- “In” is also used to indicate longer period of time like- months, years, centuries, times of the day, and even seasons.
Example- I love to travel in winters.
I used to walk in mornings.
There are 366 days in a leap year.
- “In” is used to denote a specific occupation.
Example- She works in the High court.
He works as a professor in English dept.
- (On / In- these are used with specific vehicle.)
Ex- We went to railway station in an auto rickshaw.
I used to go to the school on bicycle.
3.At – It is used to refer time and place.
It is used when we are talking about a point.
Ex – We live at Shyam Palace.
I’ll meet you tomorrow at sunset point.
To refer to the age and time.
Ex- She received the Nobel prize at the age of 12.
I used to wake up at 5 am for morning walk.
He died at the age of 90.
To describe locations including firms, companies, workplaces and educational institutions:
Ex- Did you once work at Intel?
The ancient manuscript, The Book of Kells, can be seen at Trinity College, Dublin.
To refer to activities which involve a group of people.
Ex- We enjoyed a lot at the party.
We met each other for the first time at the meeting.
Talking about speeds.
Ex- The car was travelling at a very high speed.
She moves at a slow speed.
When we are talking about directing something.
Ex- He threw the ball at the wall.
When we talk about how well or badly we do something:
Ex-I am so bad at playing guitar.
She is good at singing.
He is bad at dancing.
When we give address.
Ex- He lives at 45 church Street.
Her boutique is at 12 fashion street.
For the most specific times, and for holidays
(without the word “day”)
Ex- The flowers are in bloom at Easter time.
They all get dressed up at Halloween.
It is used for a place.
Ex- We walked to the end of the street.
We are going to the zoo next week.
To indicate relationship
Ex- Do not talk to the strangers.
You are very special to me.
I am talking to my family friend.
To indicate a limit
Ex- The old magazines were piled up to the roof.
I am here from 6 p. m to 10 p.m.
The stock prices rose up to 100 dollars.
When we refer to the number of minutes before the hour.
Ex- She reached there at quarter to five.
Her train arrives at quarter to eight.
Used to give a reason.
Ex- She went there to look after her grandmother.
He bought a new laptop to work in an easier manner.
It is used when we refer to any instrument.
Ex- She cut the design with the cutter.
Children colored the drawing with pencil colors.
Please cut the apple with the knife kept there.
In company of:
Ex- Today I am having some plans with my friends.
I went to the restaurant with my family.
I ordered a coke with a burger.
Used to indicate feeling:
Ex- I am writing this letter with my sincere apology.
He danced with the utmost confidence.
Means of transport.
Ex- He travels by bus.
She sent the documents by post.
They are arriving by train.
In passive voice:
Ex- This play is written by William Shakespeare.
These letters were written by my students.
This performance was choreographed by Riya.
Used after the following adjectives:
Ex- I was shocked by the news of his accident.
She was scared by watching the horror movie.
Used as ‘next to’:
Ex- She was always there by my side.
During the speech, he was standing by my side.
When we refer to the mode of payment.
Ex- He will pay the bill by credit card.
(we do not use “by cash” …. it’s “in cash”)
Used in reflexive pronoun
Ex- I’ll complete the project by myself.
You should go by yourself.
When we refer to time expression.
Ex- I will submit my assignment by tomorrow.
He will come and meet you by Friday.
Complete your office work by 9 p.m.
It means “at the side of”. It is used when something is kept next to the another thing.
Ex- She is standing beside the door.
The lamp is kept beside the bed.
Books are kept beside the table.
8.Besides – It means “In addition to”.
Ex- He ordered pizza besides French fries.
I purchased two jeans besides three tops.
Which is your favorite movie besides titanic?
When we refer to some point of time.
Ex- We didn’t meet each other since 12 years.
It has been raining since 8 a.m.
I’ve been waiting here since 9 o’clock.
Used in the structure- It has been + period of time + since.
Ex- It has been six months since I attended the last seminar.
It has been two months since I last saw her.
When we refer to a period of time. We use the present perfect tense and not the present tense.
Ex- We have not met for many years.
I have known her for a long time.
To indicate the reason:
Ex- She is preparing for her debate compition.
We are shopping for her wedding.
This surprise party is for her 18th birthday celebration.