Used for a multitude of purposes, prepositions can be troublesome simply because in many instances there is no logic, or pattern, to their use. Often used to express the relationship between words, prepositions can in fact be split into definable categories to assist in their understanding and use.
Prepositions of time
Prepositions of time may not be logical, but they can be learnt by heart. Examples:
|Months eg in January
Years eg in 2018
Seasons eg in summer
Parts of the day eg in the morning
|Times eg at 2 o’clock
Holidays eg at Christmas
At the weekend
|Days eg on Saturday
Prepositions of place or movement
These prepositions give information regarding the position of something in relation to something else. These prepositions include above, across, at, away, behind, below, beside, between, by, down, in, in front of, into, near, next to, on, onto, through, towards, under, up. Examples:
The painting is on the wall in the living room.
The man walked under the bridge and through the park.
Many verbs, nouns and adjectives require a preposition to accompany them, and these are called dependent prepositions. Once again they are often not logical, but can be learned by heart. Examples:
I enjoy listening to music.
I enjoy learning lyrics by heart.
My Dad is good at golf.
With these types of prepositions, it is normal and necessary for them to be included in any question or sentence containing its partner word, even if the prepositions feature at the end of that question or sentence. Examples:
What are you listening to?
There are not many sports that my Dad isn’t good at.
Dependent prepositions should not be confused with phrasal verbs, which are a verb and preposition combination used to create a specific meaning. It is also important to recognise the reason for the preposition included. Examples:
Wait for me. (dependent preposition)
I am not here to wait on you. (phrasal verb, meaning to offer a waiter service)
You often must wait in summer. (a preposition of time)