Prepositions Rescue!

All of these words in the image above are called prepositions. They are very common in English.

Are prepositions confusing for you? Don’t worry! It’s a challenging topic, and you are not alone. We’ll work on them together, step by step, and you’ll get the hang of them as we go along.

In this guide, you will find:
a quick warm up game
What do we use prepositions for?
How can we learn to use prepositions correctly?
Why are prepositions such a challenge?
Beginner preposition lessons
Intermediate and advanced preposition lessons

What do we use prepositions for?

1.) We use them to talk about directions, location and time.

Directions: The bank is on 5th Avenue. It is near the park.

Locations: Your dress is in the closet. You should wear it to the party.

Time: Let’s meet at 3 o’clock, on Friday afternoon.

2.) They also introduce a noun, a noun phrase or a pronoun.

Noun: I have a bottle of water.

Noun Phrase: The book is about a long journey of recovery.

Pronoun: The dog ran towards him.

How can we learn to use prepositions correctly?

Here are some things to know about prepositions that will help you.

1.) Preposition always have an object, in the form of a noun or a pronoun. They refer to something other than the subject of the sentence.

2.) If the preposition refers to a pronoun, that pronoun is in object form.

Since the preposition is referring to an object, we need to use the object form of any pronouns we use.

3.) Prepositions usually go before the noun or pronoun they refer to.

The kids walked across the bridge. Across what? The bridge.

We fight against oppression. Against what? Oppression.

If the word refers to a verb, it is an adverb, not a preposition. I don’t recommend students focus on this point, as I don’t think it’s especially useful. But if you are interested, click here.

4.) Prepositions are never followed by a verb.

Notice: Beth wants to travel the world. ‘To’ here isn’t a proposition. It is the verb ‘travel’ in infinitive form. You can learn more about infinitives and gerunds here.

Why are prepositions such a challenge?

If everything we have learned about prepositions so far isn’t confusing enough, we also combine prepositions with verbs to make phrasal verbs.

The addition of a preposition to a verb often changes the meaning of the verb, and the sentence completely. For example, if someone says, “Frank paid for our lunch”, it means that Frank treated us to lunch. He paid for us. But if we say “frank paid up for our lunch”. it means that frank finally returned money that he owed us.

As you can see, we use prepositions in English a lot! And yes, to be honest, they are a challenge to learn.

But don’t worry! We will work on prepositions together, step by step, and learn lots of tips and tricks. You will have opportunities for practice and correction in conversation. And now that you know about it, you will begin processing it naturally, every time that you are exposed to English.

From now on, every time that you read, listen to music, play video games or watch something in English, you will learning a little more about prepositions, just by seeing them in action.

Let’s learn more about prepositions.

Select the topic that you want to work on:

Beginner lessons

Prepositions of place – Vocabulary

Prepositions of place practice – A label the picture drag and drop game

In, On, and AT – Explanation and practice

Directions – map of Katestown

IN, On, and At and giving directions – Talk about the town and fill in the correct words

Build Together – Talk turns telling each other what to build.

Prepositions of place – A drawing activity suitable for all levels

High Beginner lessons

Prepositions of place speaking practice – Label the objects, then try to remember where they are.

Intermediate and advanced lessons

Prepositions at the end of sentences – Explanation and practice

Prepositions at the end of questions – Quiz and conversation questions

Verb-preposition combinations – Intermediate/advanced games and activities