English use of Prepositions

The use of prepositions is, without doubt, one of the most difficult areas of English grammar. Swan (Practical English Usage, Oxford University Press, 1997) comments:

“It is difficult to learn to use prepositions correctly in a foreign language. Most English prepositions have several different functions (for instance, one well-known dictionary lists eighteen main uses of at), and these may correspond to several different prepositions in another language. At the same time, different prepositions can have very similar uses (in the morning, on Monday morning, at night). Many nouns, verbs and adjectives are normally used with particular prepositions: we say the reason for, arrive at, angry with somebody, on a bus. Often the correct preposition cannot be guessed, and one has to learn the expression as a whole. In some expressions English has no preposition where one may be used in another language; in other expressions the opposite is true.”

p. 444

There are so many explanations of and activities on prepositions on the world wide web that we have chosen here to simply direct you to some sites that provide good explanations, and others that offer quizzes and games.

For basic information about prepositions, see the following links to EnglishCLUB.com:

Prepositions lists


A simple rule for prepositions