prepositions

Preposition Definition

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 of the table with his fist.”

Measure (by, of)

“We buy our olive oil by the 5 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*determinelike*remember
aim*expectlong*resolve
*appearfailloveseek
*beghasten*pledgetake pains
*arrangefeelmanage*seem
beginhateprefertake the time
*ask*forget*meanstart
attempt*guaranteeneglectstruggle
bear*happenoffer*swear
take the troublebotherhave no choiceprepare
have no alternative*threaten*carebut/other than
*chance*presumetroublehesitate
choose*pretendtry*hope
proceed*undertake*claimhurry
*promisevolunteerconsent*intend
*propose*vowdareknow better than
*prove*wishdeciderefuse


Verbs followed by an object + full infinitive

*can also be followed by a that clause

*advise*directintendrequest
aiddriveinvite*require
*allowenableleadselect
appointencourageleavesend
*askenticelikesentence
assistentitle*meanshow how
*beg*entreatneedstimulate
beseech*expectobligesummon
brideforbid*order*teach (how)
causeforcepermit*tell
challengeget*persuadetempt
*commandhateprefertrain
commissionhelppresstrouble
compel*imploreprompt*trust
counselinciteprovoke*urge
dareinduce*recommendwant
defyinspirerely on*warn
depend on*instruct*remindwatch


Verbs and verb expressions followed by a gerund (ing)

*can also be followed by a that clause

abandondislikeincludeprohibit
*acknowledge*disputeintend*propose
*admit*doubtinvolve*recall
*advise*dreadit is no good*recollect
*anticipateenjoyit is (not) worthrelish
*advocateendureit is no / little use*recommend
    
*appreciateentailjustify*remember
avoid*envisageloathe*report
begrudgeescapelook like*require
cannot bearevade*meanresent
cannot helpexcuse*mentionresist
cannot standface*mindresume
celebrate*fancymissrisk
*comprehendfavornecessitatestop
*considerfinishoverlook*suggest
defer*foreseepardon*understand
delayforgivepostpone*deny
grudgepracticedetest*imagine
prevent   


For more information regarding preposition definition and usage of prepositions you can click on the VOCABULARY menu.

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.