girl practising her prepositions skills

Prepositions

Introduction

Prepositions are very useful because they help the reader understand the relationship between one word and another. This relationship is usually about space and time. For example:

  • I went to the dentist during my lunch break.
  • She walked into the classroom and stood behind the desk.
  • I jumped off the diving board.

In the first sentence, the preposition “during” describes when the narrator visited the dentist. In the second sentence, the prepositions “into” and “behind” describe the location of the character. In the final example, the preposition “off” tells the reader the narrator is no longer on the diving board.

In this way, prepositions usually occur before a noun to show its relationship with the rest of the sentence.

Exercise One

Here is a list of common prepositions:

  1. About
  2. Above
  3. Against
  4. Before
  5. Beneath
  6. Between
  7. Beyond
  8. Down
  9. From
  10. Of
  11. On
  12. over
  13. Through
  14. Up
  15. With

Your task is to write out sentences in your notebook which contain each of these prepositions. Of course, you can use more than one preposition in a sentence.

Exercise Two

In your own words, explain the subtle difference between the following two sentences:

  1. She leaned her head on my shoulder.
  2. She leaned her head against my shoulder.

Exercise Three

Choose an appropriate preposition for the following sentences. Make sure you write out each sentence in full and try not to use the same preposition twice.

  1. My brother always plays __________ my toys.
  2. I meet my friend __________ the park.
  3. The cat leapt __________ the kitchen table.
  4. Pupils must walk slowly __________ the canteen.
  5. The rain pattered __________ the window.
  6. “Why do you insist __________ talking?” asked the teacher.
  7. There is always the need __________ a good plumber.
  8. I went __________ his house yesterday.
  9. The car park was built __________ the main building.
  10. My father is __________ Canada.
  11. The boy hid __________ the tree.
  12. The plane soared __________ the clouds.
  13. __________ he finished his dinner, the boy cleaned the dishes __________ the sink.
  14. We slept __________ the stars.
  15. The treasure was hidden __________ the palm tree and the large rock.

Suggested Answers

  1. She ran about the house looking for her keys.
  2. I left the controller above the television.
  3. I propped the ladder against the wall.
  4. He arrived in the canteen before the food was ready to be served.
  5. There are very strange creatures living beneath the water’s surface.
  6. The defender stood between the goalposts.
  7. The witch lives beyond the forest.
  8. The police officer walked down the street.
  9. “We are not far from home,” my mother said.
  10. The pupil was under a lot of stress.
  11. “I left the homework on the desk!” the pupil pleaded.
  12. The cow jumped over the moon.
  13. She kicked the ball through the window.
  14. The waiter picked up the plate.
  15. I would like a hamburger with a side order of garlic fries.

Both prepositions suggest physical contact between the two characters. However, “on” implies a soft and supportive gesture whereas “against” implies there might be some resistance. The choice of preposition here is important because it can tell the reader a little more about their relationship.

  1. My brother always plays with my toys.
  2. I meet my friend in the park.
  3. The cat leapt off the kitchen table.
  4. Pupils must walk slowly to the canteen.
  5. The rain pattered against the window.
  6. “Why do you insist on talking?” asked the teacher.
  7. There is always the need for a good plumber.
  8. I went to his house yesterday.
  9. The car park was built beside the main building.
  10. My father is from
  11. The boy hid behind the tree.
  12. The plane soared above the clouds.
  13. After he finished his dinner, the boy cleaned the dishes in the sink.
  14. We slept beneath the stars.
  15. The treasure was hidden between the palm tree and the large rock.

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Thanks for reading!