More Prepositions


Prepositions of Time

Prepositions of Place or Location

Other prepositions used for location

Dimensions & Prepositions


Prepositions to Introduce Objects


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Prepositions of Time

1.  For one particular point in time: 


Use on for the days of the week:

Use at for time of day and also for the words noon, night, midnight:

Use in for other parts of the day, and with months, years, seasons:

2.  For other periods of time: since, for, by, from _____to, from _____until, during, within

Important note: People learning English have great trouble knowing how to use the word since, when it refers to time. (A different meaning of the word since means because.) The word since is used when you're talking about a specific day/month/year, or time of day, or period of time. Here are a few examples that will help you:


Prepositions of Place or Location

Prepositions expressing place or location (spatial relations) are classed as 1) prepositions of location and 2) prepositions of direction. They may be either positive or negative. Prepositions of location are used with verbs describing states or conditions (“be” and its forms are the most commonly used verbs), and prepositions of direction are used with action verbs. 

To express ideas about a place


  1.  Talking about something that is within the parameters of a place:

  (See Dimensions and Prepositions)

Use in:

Note: In American English, you'll hear in and on used interchangeably when referring to a line of people. (British people say "queue".)


 Use on:

2.  Talking about the surface of a place: 

Use at: 

 3.  Talking about the actual location of a place (point):    


  In / at / on the corner:  You can say in the corner of a room, but at or on the corner of the street.

  In / at / on the front:    You can say in the front or in the back of a bus, or a plane, or a car, BUT at the front of a store, or at the front of a crowd, or at the front of a line of people. Something is on the front /on the back of a sheet of paper, BUT you write in a notebook, or on the cover of the notebook.

Note: When you say "I just wrote it on my notebook.", that means that you just wrote something on the cover of the book, not inside the book on a page.



Other prepositions used for location: higher, lower, closer to, and farther from a point


  1.   Talking about an object higher than a particular point: over, above 

  2.  Talking about an object lower than a point: under, *underneath, beneath, below

In American English, when we use the word underneath, there's a subtle meaning of many things having been put on top of whatever is underneath. When we use under, most of the time (not always) there's only one thing over, or on top of whatever is under it. If I'm under the bed, the bed is the only thing over me. If my diamond ring is lost at a garbage dump, the ring is buried underneath tons and tons of garbage.

Note: Some things can  be said in only one specific way, and other things can be said with prepositions that are interchangeable. If one is on a ship on the top deck, going one floor down can only be said with below, i.e. "He went below." If you're swimming in the ocean with your face in the water, you're swimming under water.

  3.  Close to a point: near, by, (nearby) next to, between, among, opposite, against, beside, along, around, inside of, across, within

 4.  Approaching or leaving a point: toward, ahead of, behind, from, out of, through

Dimensions and Prepositions

There are three types of dimensional prepositions: those used for point, those used for surface, and those used for area or volume. 

1.  Point

These prepositions show that the noun that follows them is treated as a point (physical or mental locale) in relation to where another object is positioned. 

Notes on using at

At isn’t as specific as in or on, and has a variety of uses.

“Scott waited for Pete at the cafe.”  


“Roberta spent the day at the circus.” 

“They arrived at the courthouse in time for the trial.”   

“Zachary arrived at the party two hours late.”  

“Lanny jumped at the bull to scare it away.”

“The bull charged at Lanny immediately.” 


2.  Surface

These prepositions show that the position of an object is defined according to the surface on which it rests. 

3.  Area/Volume

These prepositions show that an object lies within a particular area or within the confines of a volume. 

 Notes for using in and on:

a.      a)  Both in and on can be used with nouns denoting enclosed areas such as a lawn or a mirror. In is used when the space is considered as an area and on is used when the space is considered as a surface. 

b.       b)  In implies that an area is enclosed, but on only implies that the relevant noun has a surface, but isn't  always an enclosed area: 

c)  If the area doesn't have physical boundaries, but it does have mental or social boundaries, in is used.

d.   d)  Using in and on with the noun street. In and on can be used with street as point (a.) shows, i.e. “in the area” or “on the surface.” Another use is an idiom: The first two follow the general pattern of in and on usage. The third is an idiom that must be learned: 

eUsing in and on with nouns about transportation: in a car, on a bus, on a plane, on a train, on a ship. Notice that  on is used for public or commercial transport. Sometimes people use in when the public transport is not moving and use on when it's moving. 



Use at.......  for point

Use on....... for surface

Use in.......  for area and volume

Note:  These are not the only prepositions that can be put in these categories.

Take a moment to think about the relationships shown in the sentences below. If you have trouble, re-read the explanations above.


1.  My sister is at the movies.


2.  There's a grease spot on your tie.


3.  A shark has been sighted in the harbor.


4.  Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!


Hint: Ask yourself "Where is (the subject of the sentence)?” Then see if it's a relationship of point, surface or area/volume.  


Prepositions to Introduce Objects

The following prepositions introduce objects of the following verbs: glance, laugh, look, rejoice, smile, stare, use at


Note: use “in” with the word mirror. He glanced in the mirror before leaving the house.” (to see how he looked) 'He glanced at the mirror.' means he may have seen a crack in it, but he wasn't looking at himself in it.

With approve, consist, smell, use of

With dream and think, use of or about

With call, hope, look, wait, watch, wish, use for