Prepositions List

Prepositions are an important part of English grammar because they show the relationship between words in a sentence. For example, they can show a relationship of time (“I will leave at 6pm”); or location (“He’s sitting in my chair”); or of movement “”I’m going to the station”) or manner (“We’re going by bus”).

We can use prepositions before nouns or pronouns (“before the weekend”, “under the table”, etc) or after adjectives and verbs (“good at English”, “interested in science”, “concentrate on a book”, “wait for a friend”).

Why prepositions are difficult

English prepositions are difficult to learn and use for three main reasons:

1. There are often only slight differences in meaning.
For example, “The chair is in the corner of the room” (i.e. placed inside the room); “His house is on the corner” (i.e. built on the intersection of two roads); “He was standing at the corner” (i.e. maybe not precisely on the intersection, but close to it).

2. They are difficult to hear.
Because prepositions are grammatical words, we don’t usually stress them when we speak. For this reason, they’re difficult to hear and to learn.

3. They aren’t easy to translate
In English we say “depend on”, while in your language you might say “depend of”, for example. Make sure that you learn the correct preposition!

More help with prepositions

Check out these pages for more examples of English prepositions:

Prepositions of time

Prepositions and adjectives

Prepositions and verbs

Prepositions of location and direction

Collocations with prepositions

Prepositions with ‘in’

Prepositions with ‘on’

Prepositions list

Here is a list of the 45 most common English prepositions, with their main uses and examples.

about (connection, cause, direction)
talk about something, worried about, walk about / around

above (place – higher than)
fly above the clouds

across (direction)
go across the street, walk across a field

after (time, sequence)
after work, after an hour, after that

against (contrast, location)
against the law, advise someone against something
stand against the wall

along (movement, location)
drive along a road, books along the top shelf

among (location, belonging)
among people, among friends

around / round (location, direction)
sit around the table, around the city, around the corner, look around

at (time, place or event, direction)
at night, at the weekend, at 6pm, at first, at once, at Christmas
at school, at work, at an address, at a meeting
look at, shout at

before (time, location, direction
before the holiday, before long, before me (in a queue), before you get to…

behind (location, cause, time)
behind the school, behind the plan, behind schedule, stay behind

below (place – lower than)
below the castle, below average

beside (location)
beside the sofa

between (location, time, amount, connection)
between the door and the window, between now and next year, between meals, between 10 and 20, comparison between two things

by (agent, movement, location, time, ownership, amount)
given something by a person, by car, by a lake, by next week, a play by Shakespeare, prices rise by a quarter

despite / in spite of (contrast)
go out despite the rain

down (direction, movement, amount)
go down the stairs, sit down, turn down the volume

during (time)
during the holidays, during the lesson

except (exclusion)
everyone except me, except in emergencies

for (intention / purpose, time, distance, direction)
this is for you, do something for a reason / a person, for breakfast,
wait for, for a year, for 5 km, train for London

from (origin, distance, time, cause, contrast)
from London, a present from my sister, made from glass, an hour from here, from 6 pm, tired from his run, different from

in (location, time, inclusion, manner)
in a room, in December, in summer, in 2015, in a minute, in time (for), in the book, play in a team, take part in, speak in English, in danger, in a suit

inside (location)
inside the house

into (direction, change, movement)
walk into a room, turn into, translate into, crash into

like (opp: unlike) (similarity, example)
like me, be like, look like, sugary food like cakes, it’s not like him to be…

near (location, time)
near his house, near the end

of (belonging/group, amount, specific part, feelings)
back of the cupboard, a friend of mine, cup of coffee, at the age of 20, scared of

off (movement, absence, location)
get off the bus, turn off the PC, keep off, day off work, off the main road

on (location, time, movement)
on a chair, on page 10, on the High Street, on your right, on Monday, on my birthday, get on the train, turn on the TV

onto (movement)
jump onto something, lead onto something

opposite (location)
sit opposite someone

outside (location, exclusion)
go outside, outside the group

over (location, cover, direction, finish, quantity)
fly over, wear a coat over your clothes, cross over the road, get over something, be over 40

past (time, direction)
half-past six, go past the station

since (time)
since yesterday

through (movement, time, process, connection)
walk through the door, work through the night, read through, get a job through a friend

throughout (extension)
problems throughout the company, throughout the summer

to (movement, intention, direction, attach, relationships)
walk to the door, go to school, say hello to, to the north of the city, add a heading to the page, married to

towards (direction, feeling)
walk towards, a good attitude towards her studies

under (location, amount, process)
under the table, filed under, under 5 years old, under discussion, under review, under pressure

underneath (location)
underneath a pile of books

until / till (time)
until the end of the year

up (movement, amount)
walk up the stairs, stand up, go up in price

with (connection, means, feeling)
spend time with, someone with a lot of friends, a problem with something, buy something with your money, cry with happiness, in love with

without (exclusion)
be without food