Tuesday, 12 July 2022

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By definition, a preposition is a word or phrase that connects a noun or pronoun to a verb or adjective in a sentence. Prepositions are short words which are placed in front of nouns. Also some prepositions can be found in front of gerund verbs. 

*Prepositions express position, movement, possession, time, and how an action is completed. 

*They are also used to connect people, objects, time, and locations. 

*Prepositions are spoken and written quite often in English. In fact, many of us use all types of prepositions naturally without realizing that they are distinct and have a name. 

Examples of prepositions: of, with, at, from, into, during, including, until, against. These are 10 most frequently used prepositions in English.  

Examples of sentences: 

(1) (of) I'm afraid of the snake. 

(2) (with) You should come with me. 

(3) (at) He'll come at 6 o'clock. 

(4) (from) He comes from Singida. 

(5) (into) The students moved into their respective classes. 

(6) (under) The cat is under the table.  

(7) (on) The food is on the table.  

(8) (through) The cat ran through the window. 

(9) (on) I will see you on Monday.  

(10) I’m going to Mbeya for two weeks.  



The most common prepositions in English language are:  


  • About 
  • Above 
  • Across 
  • After 
  • Against (Simba against Yanga should be a good match)  
  • Alongside (The shop alongside the Police Station is mine)  
  • Among 
  • Around 
  • At 
  • Away 



  • Barring 
  • Before 
  • Behind 
  • Below 
  • Beneath 
  • Beside 
  • Besides 
  • Between 
  • Beyond 
  • But (except by) 



  • Concerning 
  • Considering 



  • Despite 
  • Down 
  • During 



  • Except 



  • In  
  • Inside 
  • Into 



  • Like 



  • Of 
  • Off 
  • On 
  • Out 
  • Outside 
  • Over 



  • Past 
  • Pending 



  • Respecting 
  • Round 



  • Save 
  • Saving 



  • Through  
  • Throughout 
  • Till 
  • To 
  • Touching 
  • Toward 
  • Towards 



  • Under 
  • Underneath 
  • Until  
  • Up 
  • Upon 



  • With  
  • Within 
  • Without 



There are 10 most common types of prepositions: 

(1) Simple Preposition 

(2) Double Preposition 

(3) Compound Preposition 

(4) Prepositions of Time  

(5) Prepositions of Place  

(6) Prepositions of Direction  

(7) Participle Preposition 

(8) Disguised Preposition 

(9) Detached Preposition 

(10) Prepositions of Agents or Things 

(11) Phrasal Prepositions/Prepositional Phrase/Prepositional verbs 





Simple prepositions are used to show the relationship between nouns, pronouns, or to join parts of a clause or sentence. They are usually single short words.  


Examples of simple prepositions: 

Here is a list of simple prepositions. Most of them are common and they are used in every day conversations and writing: 

  • aboard 
  • about 
  • above 
  • across 
  • after 
  • against 
  • along 
  • alongside 
  • amid (=in the middle of) I found it amid trees.  
  • among 
  • around 
  • at 
  • before 
  • behind 
  • below 
  • beneath 
  • beside 
  • besides 
  • between 
  • beyond 
  • but 
  • by 
  • concerning 
  • considering 
  • despite 
  • down 
  • during 
  • except 
  • for 
  • from 
  • in 
  • inside 
  • into 
  • near 
  • of 
  • off 
  • on 
  • onto 
  • opposite 
  • out 
  • outside 
  • over 
  • past 
  • regarding 
  • round 
  • save 
  • since 
  • through 
  • throughout 
  • till 
  • to 
  • toward 
  • under 
  • underneath 
  • until 
  • unto 
  • up 
  • upon 
  • via 
  • with 
  • within 
  • without 


Examples of Sentences:  

(1) (above) The cat is above the roof.  

(2) (across) She walked quickly across the street.  

(3) (at) I live at Sibwesa Village.  

(4) (without) She came home without her school bag. 

(5) (behind) The dog barked behind us.  

(6) (below) The river flows below the bridge.  

(7) (during) We'll talk during the meeting.  

(8) (in) They are sleeping in their room.  

(9) (on) The book is on the table.  

(10) (over) Birds are flying over the tree.  



A Double Preposition is formed by joining two simple prepositions. Two Simple Prepositions are joined together to form one preposition which connects the nouns or pronouns to the rest the words in a sentence. It is a word that is made by the combining two simple prepositions into one word to make a whole new word.  



A compound preposition is made by the combining a non-prepositional word with a simple preposition (according to), while a double preposition is made by the combining two simple prepositional words made into one word (out of). 


Examples of double prepositions: 

  • out of 
  • inside of 
  • in between,  
  • along with 
  • alongside of 
  • around about 
  • except for 
  • from above 
  • from among 
  • from behind 
  • from beneath 
  • from between 
  • inside of 
  • out of 
  • outside of 
  • into  
  • onto 
  • inside 
  • upon 
  • up to 
  • without 
  • within 
  • from beneath 
  • next to  
  • throughout  


Examples of sentences: 

(1) (inside of) We hid ourselves inside of the tunnel.  

(2) (out of) He tried to jump out of the hole, but he failed.  

(3) (out of) Are you out of your mind? 

(4) (outside of) Children are playing outside of the compound.  

(5) Raindrops fell from above.  

(6) (outside) She parked her car outside the house. 

(7) (within) Changes come from within. 

(8) (upon) Our success is totally dependent upon this player. 

(9) (throughout) The students were laughing throughout the lesson. 

(10) (up to) This is up to you. 

(11) (upon) Once upon a time in Tanganyika, there was a famous person called Nyerere. 

(12) (from behind) He came out from behind the curtains. 

(13) (without) We will not win this game without him. 

(14) (into) Two prepositions are made into one.  

(15) (within) This building will be destroyed within a few minutes. 



The compound preposition is a preposition formed through the combination of a non-prepositional word and a simple preposition. 


The Similarities and Differences Between Double Prepositions and Compound prepositions:   

Double and compound prepositions  are very similar. Both are two-word phrases.  

However, while the double preposition is formed through the conjunction of two simple prepositions, compound preposition is formed through the conjunction of a non-prepositional word and a simple preposition. 

That's the main difference between them.  


Examples of compound prepositions:  

The most common compound prepositions are:  

  • according to 
  • ahead of 
  • apart from 
  • as against 
  • as between 
  • as compared with 
  • as compared to 
  • as for 
  • at that point in time 
  • at this point in time 
  • at the point of 
  • at the time of 
  • because of 
  • by force of 
  • by means of 
  • by reason of 
  • by virtue of 
  • by way of 
  • due to 
  • during the course of 
  • for fear of 
  • for lack of 
  • for the purpose of 
  • for the reason that 
  • for the sake of 
  • from the point of view of 
  • in accordance with 
  • in a manner similar to 
  • in care of 
  • in case of 
  • in close connection with 
  • in common with 
  • in comparison to 
  • in compliance with 
  • in connection with 
  • in consequence of 
  • in consideration of 
  • in contrast to 
  • in default of 
  • in deference to 
  • in exchange for 
  • in excess of 
  • in favor of 
  • in front of  
  • in opposition to 
  • in order to 
  • in place of 
  • in preference to 
  • in receipt of 
  • in regard to 
  • in relation to 
  • in search of 
  • in spite of 
  • in terms of 
  • in the course of 
  • in the event of 
  • in the face of 
  • in the immediate vicinity of 
  • in the nature of 
  • independently of 
  • instead of 
  • on account of 
  • on behalf of 
  • on the basis of 
  • on the part of 
  • on the point of 
  • on top of 
  • owing to 
  • previous to 
  • prior to 
  • pursuant to 
  • regardless of 
  • relating to 
  • relative to 
  • short of 
  • similar to 
  • subsequent to 
  • under cover of 
  • what with 
  • with a view to 
  • with regard to 
  • with reference to 
  • with respect to 
  • with the intention of 


Examples of sentences 

(1) (according to) According to the report, Malaria is slowing down.  

(2) (apart from) Apart from this report, other reports are saying the same thing.  

(3) (at the time of) At the time of departure, everyone was ready.  

(4) (because of) The train delayed because of the rain.  

(5) (by means of) We decided to travel by means of railroad.  

(6) (in accordance with) We have come in accordance with the schedule.  

(7) (with reference to) With reference to the book 'Passed Like a Shadow', HIV/AIDS can be controlled by maintaining good behaviour.  

(8) (in spite of) In spite of the rain, we started the journey.  

(9) (in terms of) In this supermarket, everything is paid in terms of US Dollars.  

(10) (regardless of) We travelled regardless of the rain.  



A preposition of time shows the relationship of time between the nouns and other parts of a sentence. 

Examples of prepositions of Time: at, in, since, for, on, at, from, to, ago, before, till/until, by, after.  

Example of sentences: 

(1) (at) She wakes up at 7 AM.  

(2) (in) Tanzania got its independence from Britain in 1961. 

(3) (Since) She has been cooking since morning.  

(4) (in) There is a holiday in December. 

(5) (for) We have been walking for two hours.  




(A) "On" is used with days: 


(1) I will see you on Monday.  

(2) The weekend begins on Friday.  


(B) "At" is used with noon, night, midnight, and with the time of day: 


(1) The bus leaves at noon.  

(2) The movie starts at 6:00 p.m. 


(C) "In" is used with other parts of the day, months, years, seasons: 


(1) He likes to read in the evening.  

(2) This book was published in 1999.  


(D) Extended time: 

To express extended time, use these prepositions: since, for, by, from-to, from-until, during, (with)in: 


(1) I will have finished the assignment by tomorrow.  

(2) She has been gone since yesterday.  

(3) I’m going to Shinyanga for two weeks.  

(4) The rainy season starts from November to May.  

(5) This advertisement will remain here until May 2023. 


In Summary:  

* 'At’ designate specific times. 

* ‘On’ designates specific days and dates.  

* ‘In’ is used for nonspecific when we measure time (seconds – year).  

* ‘Since’ is used with specific date or time. 




A preposition of place shows the relationship of place between the nouns to the other parts of a sentence. We use preposition of place to describe where something is located.  

Examples of prepositions of place: under, over, across, behind, on, at, in, by, from, to, towards, up, down, between, among, through, in front of, above, below.  

Examples of sentences: 

(1) (at) We stayed at the village for two weeks.  

(2) (under) The cat is under the table.  

(3) (at) He is at home. 

(4) (from) He came from Lindi. 

(5) (behind) Our house is behind the Postal Bank.  

(6) (into) The police broke into the house. 

(7) (across) They live across the river. 

(8) (in) I have been living in Ruvuma for two years now.  



(A) "At" describes a specific point in space.  


(1) They are at the station.  

(2) Meet me at the library. 


(B) "In" describes an enclosed space.  


(1) I'm trapped in the forest! 

(2) I'm in the tunnel.  


(C) "On" describes an objects relationship to a surface.  


(1) I'm on the roof.  

(2) The cat is sleeping on the mat.  


(D) "By" describes an objects proximity to something else. 


(1) She lives by the river.  

(2) His cafe lies by the train station.  



A preposition of direction shows where something is going or which direction something is going to.  

Prepositions of direction indicate which direction something is moving. They express notions of location.  

Examples of prepositions of direction: 

through, behind, along, above, across, along, among, around, at, below, beside, over, toward, up, down, between, by, inside, in, near, past, under.  

Examples of sentences:  

(1) (along) The train is moving along the beach.  

(2) (across) She walked across the road quickly.  

(3) (over) The birds flew over the trees.  

(4) (behind) The angry buffalo was running towards us.  

(5) (around) The children are running around the house.  




IN talks about the point itself.  


(1) There was a snake in the room.  

(2) She is in her room.  


INSIDE is used to express something contained.  


(1) Go inside.  

(2) Put the gift inside the box.  


ON talks about the surface.  


(1) Put that box on the cupboard.  

(2) I left your keys on the table.  


AT talks about a general vicinity.  


(1) He is at the bar.  

(2) She is waiting at the corner.  


OVER and ABOVE are used to talk about something higher than a point: 


(1) He threw the ball over the roof.  

(2) Hang this picture above the cupboard.  


UNDER, UNDERNEATH, BENEATH, and BELOW are used to talk about something lower than a point: 


(1) The mice dug under the ground.  

(2) This valley is below sea level.  


NEAR, BY, NEXT TO, BETWEEN, AMONG, and OPPOSITE are used to talk about something close to a point: 


(1) She lives near the school. 

(2) I found my pen lying among the books.  


Note: "Sing along" is an example of a command using a Preposition of Direction 



Participle prepositions are prepositions with '-ed' and '-ing' endings. These are called participle prepositions because present participles (-ing) and past participles (-ed and -en) are used as prepositions instead of being used as verbs.  


Examples of participle prepositions: during, considering, assuming, regarding, barring, considering, given, notwithstanding, provided, respected, gone, barred, taken. 

Examples of sentences: 

(1) (Notwithstanding) Notwithstanding the rain, children played outside.  

(2) (Barred) Barred from the entrance, football fans climbed the stadium walls. 

(3) (given) The fans were happy given the fact that they wanted to watch the match. 

(4) (Assuming) Assuming the possibility of rain, the match was postponed. 

(5) (during) The babies cry during the day and sometimes at night. 

(6) (including) All students are in the classroom including the teacher. 

(7) (Considering) Considering the possibility of rain, the players were told to return to their changing rooms. 



These are the prepositions which are usually disguised as some other elements in English language.  

This is a preposition that is not directly used in a sentence but is mentioned indirectly.  

These prepositions unrecognizable but they are identified as "a" and "o" in sentences. “On” changed into “a”, and “of” can be changed into “o” respectively.  

Examples: the words; o'clock, ahead, onshore.  

Examples of sentences:  

(1) I wake up at 6 o'clock. (Of the clock) 

(2) We have to move ahead. (on the head) 

(3) Paul went ashore. (onshore) 

(4) Rama visits the garden once a day. (in a day)  

(5) She earns one Dollar a day. 

(6) They play football once a week. 



A detached preposition is a preposition that has been removed from its original place and moved at the end of the sentence. These prepositions are mostly detached from the interrogative or relative pronouns and adverbs. 

Examples of detached prepositions: to, from, ahead, at.  

Examples of sentences:  

(1) (ahead) Are you moving ahead?  

(2) (from) Where are you coming from? 

(3) (for) What are you looking for?  

(4) (to) What are you listening to?  

(5) (at) What are you screaming at?  

(6) (at) What are you looking at?  



Prepositions of agents or things indicate a causal relationship between nouns and other parts of the sentence. 

Examples of prepositions of agents or things: about, of, for, by, with, at. 

Examples of sentences: 

(1) (of) Most of the students have failed.  

(2) (about) This report is about women empowerment.  

(3) (for) I will always be here for you. 

(4) (with) I'm going to play with you.  

(5) (with) He is playing with his brothers. 

(6) (by) He will be accompanied by his friends.  


Other examples of Prepositions of Agents or Things. These prepositions introduce the objects.  

(A) At:  

- glance at 

- laugh at  

- look at 

- rejoice at 

- smile at 

- stare at  


(B) Of:  

- approve of 

- consist of 

- smell of  


(C) Of (or about):  

- dream of/about  

- think of/about  


(D) For: 

- call for  

- hope hope 

- look for 

- wait for 

- watch for 

- wish for  



A prepositional phrase is a group of words that has a simple preposition and a noun or a simple preposition and a pronoun. Prepositional phrases usually contain a preposition followed by an article followed by a noun.  

A prepositional phrase does not contain a verb or a subject. It just functions as a unified part of speech. In English, many verbs are followed by prepositions and adverbs. Prepositional phrases are sometimes called phrasal verbs or prepositional verbs.  


In other words, prepositional verb is a verb that is followed by a preposition. The meaning of these two words together is usually very similar to the original meaning of the verb.  

Examples of prepositional phrases/verbs: get in, look for, think about, wait for.               

To agree = to agree with (someone or something)  

To worry = to worry about (someone or something) 



(1) A phrasal verb is often different to the original meaning of the main verb, while the meaning of a prepositional verb is similar to the meaning of main verb.  

(2) Phrasal verbs use adverbs as well as prepositions, while prepositional verbs do not. 

(3) Phrasal verbs are normally separated by nouns and pronouns. For example, "Put your shirt on" or  

"Put it on." 'Put' and 'On' are separated. But prepositional verbs cannot be separated. The two words must remain together. 



These are prepositional verbs that we use every day. Try to learn them and remember how to use them.  



(1) (care for) She cares for her mother. 

(2) (believe in) She believes in Allah.  

(3) (consist of) This exam consists of three sections.  

(4) (deal with) I have so many things to deal with.  

(5) (depend on) Rains depends on the weather. 

(6) (look after) She looks after the kids after school. 

(7) (agree with) I agree with you. 

(work for) Who do you work for? 

(8) (laugh at) They will laugh at you.  

(9) (listen to) He likes listening to Bongo Fleva music. 

(10) (look at) Look at this picture. It's beautiful, isn't it? 



  • approve of                       
  • decide on                      
  • get on                      
  • get off             
  • get out of                         
  • insist on                          
  • pay for                           
  • specialize in 
  • go away  
  • come in  
  • watch out  
  • grow up  
  • check up  
  • answer back  
  • call back  
  • hand over  
  • throw away     
  • print out  
  • try out  
  • pull down  
  • sort out  
  • look forward to  




There are a few prepositional verbs that have an object which can be put between the verb and the preposition.  

Examples of these prepositions: remind of, provide with, thank for.  

Examples of sentences:  

(1) (Thank + object +for) Thank you for your help.  

(2) (Remind + object +of) You remind me of someone.  

(3) (Provide + object +with) They will provide us with the items.  




English Grammar is a home to countless number of rules. Here are some rules that will be fundamental in understanding prepositions, detailed parts of speech, and English Grammar in general.  

Prepositions have behaviours and rules that are important to consider. Some of them are: 


RULE #1:  

Prepositions are always followed by a noun group which is called the object of the preposition.  


(1) We stood behind the wall.  

(2) They are outside the compound.  


RULE #2:  

Some prepositions can be used both for place and direction.  


(1) The Post Office is across the street. (place)  

(2) I walked across the street. (direction)  


RULE #3:  

"At" is also used with words such as 'back', 'bottom', 'end', 'front', and 'top' to talk about the different parts of a place.  


(1) The cat escaped at the back of the house.  

(2) I saw her at the end of the street.  


RULE #4:  

When talking about addresses, use "at" when you give the house number, and use "in" when you are giving the name of the street.  


(1) I live at 3, Mapinduzi Street.  

(2) He got a job in Mapinduzi Street.  


RULE #5:  

When you talk about the type of vehicle or transport you use to travel somewhere, use "by":  

(1) (by car) We traveled by car.  

(2) (by plane) He travels by plane.  

(3) (by bicycle)  

(4) (by bus)  

(5) (by train)  

(6) (by coach)  


RULE #6:  

When you walk somewhere, use "on foot".  


(1) They walk to school on foot.  

(2) I continued to walk on foot.  


RULE #7:  

When you are talking about cars, vans, lorries, taxis, and ambulances, use 'in', 'into', and 'out of'.  


(1) He got into his lorry.  

(2) I followed her in my car.  

(3) They were in a black van.  


RULE #8:  

When you are talking about forma of transport like busses, coaches, trains, ships, and planes, use 'on', 'onto', and 'off'.  


(1) He stepped off the train and run away.  

(2) He jumped back onto the bus.  

(3) Come with me on the train. I'm going to Morogoro.  

(4) She was already on the plane.  


RULE #9:  

Some adjectives can be alone or they can be followed by a prepositional phrase.  


(1) He is aware.  

(2) He is aware of the dangers.  


RULE #9:  

Some adjectives cannot be used without a prepositional phrase.  


(1) She is fond. (INCORRECT)  

= She is fond of you. (CORRECT)  

(2) He used. (INCORRECT)  

= He used to smoke. (CORRECT)  


RULE #10:  

Adjectives that can be used alone or with "of" (preposition) to specify the cause of a feeling:  

- tired   

- afraid  

- scared  

- ashamed  

- jealous  


RULE #11:  

Adjectives that can be used alone or with "of" (preposition) to specify the person who has a quality:  

- stupid - I broke the stick, which was stupid of me.  

- clever - That was clever of you!  

- nice - It was nice of you!  

- kind - It was very kind of you!  

- careless  

- good  

- silly  

- polite  


RULE #12:  

Adjectives that can be used alone or with "to" (preposition) referring to:  

- close  

- loyal  

- equal  

- devoted  

- related  

- similar  

- identical  

- married  

- dedicated  

- engaged  

- junior  

- senior  


RULE #13:  

Adjectives that can be used alone or with "with" (preposition) to specify the cause of a feeling:  

- satisfied  

- content  

- dissatisfied  

- bored  

- pleased  

- impressed  

- displeased  

- impatient  


RULE #14:  

Adjectives that can be used alone or with "at" (preposition) usually referring to:  

- surprised  

- amazed  

- alarmed  

- shocked  

- astonished  

- useless  

- good  

- excellent  

- bad  

- hopeless  


RULE #15:  

Adjectives that can be used alone or with "for" (preposition) to specify the person or thing that a quality relates to:  

- difficult  

- unnecessary  

- necessary  

- essential  

- possible  

- easy  

- usual  

- common  

- important  


RULE #16:  

Adjectives that can be used alone or with "about" (preposition) to specify a thing or "with" to specify a person:  

- happy (I'm happy about that/I'm happy with you)  

- disappointed (I'm disappointed about that/I'm disappointed with your behavior)  

- upset  

- delighted  

- annoyed  

- angry  

- fed up  

- furious  


RULE #17:  

Nouns that can be followed by "to" (preposition):  

- resistance  

- answer  

- approach  

- attitude  

- solution  

- reference  

- return  

- reaction  

- alternative  

- introduction  

- invitation  

- reply  


RULE #18:  

Nouns that can be followed by "for" (preposition):  

- taste  

- thirst  

- demand  

- reason  

- room  

- desire  

- recipe  

- search  

- sympathy  

- cure  

- need  

- responsibility  

- respect  

- admiration  

- dislike  

- substitute  


RULE #19:  

Nouns that can be followed by "on" (preposition):  

- tax  

- agreement  

- attack  

- comment  

- decision  

- effect  


RULE #20:  

Nouns that can be followed by "with or between" (preposition):  

- link  

- relationship  

- contact  

- connection  


RULE #21:  

Nouns that can be followed by "in" (preposition):  

- rise  

- increase  

- decrease  

- difficulty  

- fall  


RULE #22:  

Verbs that can be followed by "about" (preposition) indicate the subject matter:  

- know  

- care  

- write  

- speak  

- complain  

- hear  

- dream  

- talk  

- think  


RULE #23:  

Verbs that can be followed by "at" (preposition) indicate direction:  

- look  

- stare  

- laugh  

- shout  

- smile  

- grin  

- glance  

- glare  


 RULE #24:  

Verbs that can be followed by "for" (preposition) indicate purpose or reason:  

- wait  

- look  

- apologize  

- ask  

- apply  


RULE #25:  

Verbs that can be followed by "into" (preposition) indicate the object involved in a collision:  

- run