What are prepositions? Everyone learns what they are at school but whatever they learned is mostly forgotten or was never learned properly in the first place. The best way to remember is that the prefix ‘pre’ gives us a clue as to the role of this type of word. ‘pre’ means ‘before’ and a preposition is a word that is positioned before a noun or pronoun to show the relationship to that noun or pronoun.
A preposition is a word that shows the relationship of a noun or pronoun to another word in a sentence. Example: “The mother ‘of’ the kittens lives here.” [‘Of’ shows the relationship of the mother to the kittens.] “I will see you ‘after’ lunch.” [‘After’ expresses the time relationship between ‘lunch’ and when I will see you.]
Some commonly used prepositions are: aboard, beneath, in, about, beside, inside, above, intro, since, across, between, of, by, off, onto, out up, with, at, for. These are just a few and there are many more words that can be prepositions by fulfilling the conditions above.
Compound Preposition. This is a preposition that is made up of more than one word. Just like nouns and verbs can be compound so can prepositions. Examples are: according to, because of, instead of, ahead of, by means of, next to, along with, except for, on account of. These are just a few examples and there are many more.
Prepositional phrase. This is a group of words that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or a pronoun called the ‘object of the preposition’. Examples are: “Jorge and Mei Ling went ‘to the fair’. I met them ‘at the candied apples stand’.
Some words may be used as either prepositions or adverbs. A word is used as a preposition if it has a noun or a pronoun as its object. A word is used as an adverb if it does not have an object. Example: (as a preposition) “I left my boots ‘outside’ the back door.” (as an adverb) “I left my boots outside.”