Preposition: definition & Types

The word preposition is a term that is used to determine a link between a noun and other parts of the sentence. They identify a coordination of subject, object and other parts of the sentence which helps us to determine the position, time conneci0ns and sequence of different parts of the sentence.


I am flying to Chicago.

Sara threw a paper ball into a bin.

The cat is inside the box

They are going out of country to attend a conference.


Linguistic Facts about Preposition

First There is a specific list of words entitled as prepositions and no new word can be added to the language. Therefore it is a predetermined set of prepositions.
Second Prepositions do not change themselves according to the different nature of sentences. They are constant and cannot turn into plural, possessive, infection or any other thing.
Third Having a confusion about preposition is common because they have both contextual and natural usage.
Fourth Prepositions have multiple uses and they can be used as nouns, adverbs and adjectives.


The formation of prepositions is not limited to a single word and in some cases even more than three prepositions are used in a single sentence. Prepositions that are made up of more than one word are entitled as Phrasal Prepositions.

The most frequently used phrasal prepositions are

  • Because of
  • By the way
  • In spite of
  • Instead of
  • On behalf of


Types of Preposition

  • Prepositions of Time
  • Prepositions of Place and Direction
  • Prepositions of Agents or Things
  • Phrasal Prepositions


Prepositions of Time:

Words used as prepositions in order to determine a relationship of time among the nouns or the subject with the other parts of the sentence are called prepositions of time. On, before, by, till, since, until, ago, at, to, for, from, etc. are the most commonly used prepositions of time.


He started playing at 11 AM.

The CEO announced a holiday on 1st May.

There are two holidays coming in June.

He has been depressed since Sunday.


Prepositions of Place and Direction:

Prepositions of place are used to establish a relationship between different parts of a sentence such as verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc

Towards, between, behind, above, under, between, in front of, on, at, etc are the most commonly stated prepositions of such type that are used in sentences.


She is not at home.

Peter went to London.

The thief broke into the shop.

I work across the street.


Through, across, over, behind, by, towards, between, in front of, under, below, etc. are included in the list of such prepositions.


Prepositions of Agents or Things:

The words that are used to highlight a link between different parts of the sentence. For instance, about, with, by, of, for, etc fall under the category of such type.


This blogpost is about gadgets.

Most of the people have already arrived.

I can do anything for you.

Bob is playing with his friends.


Phrasal Prepositions:

When two or more words are combined together to perform the functions as a preposition they are entitled as phrasal prepositions.


Sam along with his family went to Toronto.

According to the new policy, you are not eligible.

In spite of being of being a sharp witted player, she was unable to qualify for the finals.

I am going out of town.