Preposition Definition

Learning a preposition definition is as important as learning the definition of any word.

The following lists will help you know and recognize the prepositions in context with other words.

Remember, it’s best to learn prepositions in combination with other words as they often follow set patterns.

A good, working knowledge of the following preposition definition lists is essential at the proficiency level of the English language.

Look them over. If you don't know them - spend some time with them until you do.

USAGE and DEFINITION



Place (in, on, under, over, near, beside, etc.)

        “Your book is on the table.”

Direction (to, toward, into, through, etc.)

“The football player ran through the stadium to the other end.”

Time (in, on, at, etc.)

“We can meet at five o’clock.”

Agent (by)

“This book was written by a famous author.”

Instrument (by, with)

“I heard the news by television. (Communication)

“She came by bus.” (Transportation)

“He opened the door with a key.” (Instrument or tool)

 

SPECIAL NOTE:     We use by + no article for communication and transportation.

               Examples: by phone, by radio / by bus, by car

 

Accompaniment (with)

“I like spaghetti with white sauce.”

“Mrs. Vajiona went to Thassos Island with her husband Georgios.”

Purpose (for)

“He went to the store for milk and bread.

 

SPECIAL NOTE:    Never use for + verb + ing to express the purpose of the verb.

                Example: “He went to the store for buying milk and bread.”

            This is wrong usage and a common mistake!

 

Partition / Possession (of)

“They painted the front of the building white and green.”

“He broke the top ofthe table with his fist.”

Measure (by, of)

“We buy our olive oil by the 16 kilo container.”

“Please buy a quart of milk from the market.”

Similarity (like)

“Mary walks like her mother.”

Capacity (as)

“Bill worked as a fireman until a year ago.”

The following preposition definition lists contain verbs that are followed by full infinitives, objects plus full infinitives, gerunds and/or "that" clauses.

I've included them here specifically to help those who need to improve their preposition definition understanding.

  • Verbs or verb expressions followed by a full infinitive

    *can also be followed by a that clause

 

afford

*demand

*learn

*regret

*agree

*determine

like

*remember

aim

*expect

long

*resolve

*appear

fail

love

seek

*arrange

feel impelled

manage

*seem

*ask

*forget

*mean

start

attempt

*guarantee

neglect

struggle

bear

*happen

offer

*swear

*beg

hasten

*pledge

take pains

begin

hate

prefer

take the time

take the trouble

bother

have no choice

prepare

have no alternative

*threaten

*care

but/other than

*chance

*presume

trouble

hesitate

choose

*pretend

try

*hope

proceed

*undertake

*claim

hurry

*promise

volunteer

consent

*intend

*propose

*vow

dare

know better than

*prove

*wish

decide

refuse

 

  • Verbs followed by an object + full infinitive

    *can also be followed by a that clause

 

*advise

*direct

intend

request

aid

drive

invite

*require

*allow

enable

lead

select

appoint

encourage

leave

send

*ask

entice

like

sentence

assist

entitle

*mean

show how

*beg

*entreat

need

stimulate

beseech

*expect

oblige

summon

bride

forbid

*order

*teach (how)

cause

force

permit

*tell

challenge

get

*persuade

tempt

*command

hate

prefer

train

commission

help

press

trouble

compel

*implore

prompt

*trust

counsel

incite

provoke

*urge

dare

induce

*recommend

want

defy

inspire

rely on

*warn

depend on

*instruct

*remind

watch

 

  • Verbs and verb expressions followed by a gerund (ing)

    *can also be followed by a that clause

 

abandon

dislike

include

prohibit

*acknowledge

*dispute

intend

*propose

*admit

*doubt

involve

*recall

*advise

*dread

it is no good

*recollect

*advocate

endure

it is no / little use

*recommend

*anticipate

enjoy

it is (not) worth

relish

*appreciate

entail

justify

*remember

avoid

*envisage

loathe

*report

begrudge

escape

look like

*require

cannot bear

evade

*mean

resent

cannot help

excuse

*mention

resist

cannot stand

face

*mind

resume

celebrate

*fancy

miss

risk

*comprehend

favor

necessitate

stop

*consider

finish

overlook

*suggest

defer

*foresee

pardon

*understand

delay

forgive

postpone

 

*deny

grudge

practice

 

detest

*imagine

prevent

 



For more information regarding preposition definition and usage of prepositions you can click on the VOCABULARY button at the top left of this page.

Click on preposition definition to learn more about how prepositions are used.

To go to my new site called Advanced English Grammar simply click on the preceding link. It contains many pages of FREE grammar exercises for students at the proficiency level of the English Language including preposition exercises.

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