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Education Resources

Preposition – Uses of Prepositions from Business Communication MB0023 SMU MBA

Monday, February 8, 2010

Prepositions are the words, which tell us about the relations of the nouns, pronouns and adjectives in a sentence. Their position is before (pre) the noun. Hence they are said to govern the noun. The noun which follows is said to be the object of the preposition. They are:

Simple Prepositions: in, on, after, at, which, under, above, etc.

For example – He wrote the notes with a pen.

Complex Prepositions: along with, apart from, as for, as to away from, onto, out of, together with, upto, such as, except for, owing to, due to, but for, because of, by means of, on account of, in comparison with, in accordance with, in view of, in spite of, instead of.

Uses of Prepositions:

A preposition can be used at the beginning of an interrogative sentence.

For example – At what time do you leave for office?

A preposition is placed at the end of the sentence in the following ways:

If a preposition governs a relative pronoun – This is the book which I mentioned about.

When the relative pronoun is ‘that’ – This is the school that I went to.

When the relative pronoun is understood – This is the person you spoke to.

If a preposition governs an interrogative pronoun or an interrogative adverb – What are you looking at?

When the preposition is used with the infinitive at the end of the sentence – Do you have a chair to sit on?

A word is considered a preposition when it governs a noun/pronoun. Otherwise it becomes an adverb. The most important words are – about, above, across, along, after, before, below, behind, besides, by, down, in, on, near, off, over, past, round, through, under, up etc.

He got off the bus at the corner (preposition)

He got off at the corner (adverb)

Peter is behind us (preposition)

He’s a long way behind (adverb)

She climbed over the wall (preposition)

You’ll have to climb over too (adverb)

Relations expressed by prepositions:

Preposition of time: on, in, at, for, before, after, until, till, between, by, upto.

For example – She was healthy till yesterday.

Preposition of place: to, at from away, on, onto, of, in, into, out, upon, inside, within, by over, above, on top of, behind, in front of, below, beneath, across through, all over, throughout, between, among.

For example – Where do you come from?

Preposition of method and manner: by, with

For example – The boys skipped going to school with audacity.

Preposition of reason and purpose: with, of, for

For example – I rented a house for my holidays.

Preposition of possession: of, with, by

For example – The tomb of Akbar is in Sikandarabad.

Preposition of direction and motions: into, towards, up, round, across

For example – They climbed into the lorry.

Preposition of contrast: despite

For example – Despite his mistakes, he is a sincere worker.

Correct use of some of the Prepositions:

Beside, besides:

The house is beside the river. (By the side of)

Besides being good at Tennis, he is also an excellent player of Golf. (In addition to/moreover)

Since, for:

He has been absent since Monday last. (Point of time)

He was absent for four days. (Length or period of time)

Between, among:

I have to choose between the two pictures. (Two persons/things)

This is the custom among the tribes. (More than two)

By, with:

He was killed by a servant. (Doer of the action)

He was killed with a knife. (Instrument of action)

In, at:

He lives at Juhu in Mumbai. (‘at’ – smaller area / ‘in’ – bigger area)

In, into:

He is in bed. (Indicates rest or motion inside anything)

He fell into the well. (Motion towards the inside of anything)

On, upon:

He sat on a chair. (Things at rest)

He lives on his maternal uncle. (Denoting support)

I wrote books on philosophy. (Denoting concern)

He jumped upon the horse. (Thins in motion)

In, within:

The loan will be repaid in a year. (End of a period of time)

The loan will be paid within a year. (Any time before the specified period)

Over, above:

They saw the peaks towering above them. (Higher)

We hung the picture over the fire place. (Vertically above)

Preposition is the biggest chapter in English Grammar. I have tried to explain the chapter with some good examples. The chapter has been taken from Business Communication MB0023 of SMU MBA.

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