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What Are the Types of Prepositions?

There are five types of prepositions and they are the glue that holds a sentence together. Learn more about each and how to use them correctly.

There are five types of prepositions. They are simple, double, compound, participle, and phrase prepositions. A preposition is used to show a relationship between the noun, pronoun, or phrases in a sentence. They are used to connect people, objects, time, and locations.

What Is a Preposition?

The definition of a preposition is a word or phrase that connects a noun or pronoun to a verb or adjective in a sentence. They are usually short words, and they normally are found in front of nouns. On rare occasions, prepositions can be found in front of gerund verbs.

If the subject, noun, and verb are the bricks of sentence, then prepositions are the mortar that connects them. They express position, movement, possession, time, and how an action is completed.

How Many Types of Prepositions are There?

There are five types of prepositions: Simple, Double, Compound, Participle, and Phrase prepositions.

These 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.

For example, for, with, on, that, of, and to are all prepositions.

Handwritten collection of common prepositions in various black font styles against a white background
Common prepositions are also some of the shortest words | Jane SamoilovaShutterstock.com License

What are the Most Common Prepositions?

The Top 10 most common prepositions in the English language are: of, with, at, from, into, during, including, until, against. These represent the most frequently used prepositions. They are also called “simple prepositions”.

What is a Simple Preposition?

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

List of Simple Prepositions

Here are some of the most common, or “simple”, prepositions:

Homework is the object and the preposition is without.

aboard
about
above
across
after
against
along
alongside
amid
among
around
at
before
behind
below
beneath

beside
besides
between
beyond
but
by
concerning
considering
despite
down

Many common prepositions are also “Prepositions of Place”. These are used to indicate a noun’s location.


during
except
excepting
for
from
in

inside
into
like
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 Simple Prepositions Used in Sentences

— The dog jumped out while the car was moving.

Car is the object of the preposition out.

— Dorothy came upon the Tin Man.

Upon is the preposition. Tin Man is the object.

Drawing of two cups of tea inside a heart with the pun
A silly take on an iconic prepositional phrase using the preposition of place “in” |eclecticworks Shutterstock.com License

— She came home without her homework.

What are Prepositions of Place?

Writers use this type of preposition to describe where something is located. There are four Prepositions of Place. “At” describes a specific point in space. “In” describes an enclosed space. “On” describes an object’s relationship to a surface. “By” describes an object’s proximity to something else.

Prepositions of Place Examples

“At”: Meet me at the library.

“In”: I’m trapped in the elevator!

“On”: Is that a cat sleeping on your car?

“By”: I’ve always wanted to try that cafe by the train station.

Prepositions of Direction

If you ask “Where?”, this type of preposition is usually part of the answer. Prepositions of Direction let you know where something is going. They indicate which direction something is moving. There are dozens of examples, but the most common Prepositions of Direction are: above, across, along, among, around, at, behind, below, beside, over, through, toward, up, down, between, by, inside, in, near, past, under.

A meme depicting an armadillo with the words
“Without” is an example of a preposition of direction, a common preposition, and a simple preposition | QuickMemeCreative Commons License

What is a Double Preposition?

Easily form a Double Prepositions by joining two simple prepositions.

Examples of Double Prepositions in Sentences

— The dog jumped out of the moving car.

— The child hid inside of the cabinet.

What is a Compound Preposition?

Double prepositions and compound prepositions are very similar. Both are two-word phrases. The double preposition is formed through the conjunction of two simple prepositions. Whereas the compound preposition is formed through the conjunction of a non-prepositional word and a simple preposition.

Note: Compound prepositions can sound dated or stuffy. For readability’s sake consider attempting to simply the phrase.

I use INK which is a web content optimization editor. It identifies wordy or complex sentences and suggests that I edit to make my articles easily digestible.

For example: At that point in time I didn’t know the answer.

This sentence can be simplified to:

Then, I didn’t know the answer.

or

I didn’t know the answer.

The Most Common Compound Prepositions

according to

ahead of

along with

alongside of

apart from

around about

Preposition Pig helps fatten up sentences with the right types of prepositions | GrammarIsEasyCreative Commons License

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

except for

for fear of

for lack of

for the purpose of

for the reason that

for the sake of

from above

from among

from behind

from beneath

from between

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

A meme of a sleazy-looking middle-aged man in a suit pointing at the camera. Overlayed are a list of prepositions followed by the the pun response from a woman:
Thankfully, you don’t need a prepositional phrase to decline any of these types of prepositions | Bobberino01Creative Commons License

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 lieu 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

inside of

instead of

Gorgeous lateral view of an Asian tiger heading left with the sentence
One of the gravest Grammatical Sins | Arjuna Gihan Shutterstock.com License

on account of

on behalf of

on the basis of

on the part of

on the point of

on top of

out of

outside 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

Participle Prepositions

Participle prepositions have endings such as -ed and -ing.  Some of the most common examples are: assumingbarringconsideringduringgivennotwithstandingprovidedregarding, and respected. 

Prepositional Phrase Example Sentences

— The baby cries during the day and sometimes at night.

— All the children were in the classroom including the teacher.

Considering she was sick, she still put up her best times.

“Sing along” is an example of a command using a Preposition of Direction | The Bazillions

How do you Identify a Prepositional Phrase?

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that doesn’t contain a verb or a subject. It functions as a unified part of speech. A prepositional phrase normally has a simple preposition and a noun or a simple preposition and a pronoun.

Think of prepositional phrases as making a hamburger. You must have meat (or a protein) and bread. A simple preposition and the object of the preposition are the basics of a prepositional phrase.

You can jazz up your hamburger by adding cheese, grilled onions, mustard, tomatoes, etc. The same can be done for prepositional phrases. Add adverbs and adjectives to make your sentence more enjoyable to read.

Prepositional Phrase Examples

— The hamburger with cheese is yours.

Let’s spice up this sentence.

— The hamburger with ooey-gooey cheese is yours.

— I danced on the stage.

Next, we add more details.

— I danced on the concert stage.

The puppy ran through the grass.

Adjectives make the sentence more enticing to read.

— The puppy ran through the lush green grass.

— Of the types of prepositions, I think simple prepositions are the easiest.

Adding a number adjective makes the sentence for informative.

Of the five types of prepositions, I think simple prepositions are the easiest.

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