We use prepositions every day in both written and spoken language and we dont think about it much. Prepositions are a neccessary part of our everyday communication. But what is a preposition? The word preposition means the word before. On the most general level preposition is an uninflected word class, a function or grammatical word. In grammar, a preposition is a type of adposition, a grammatical article that establishes a relationship and connecting between an object (usually a noun phrase) and some other part of the sentence, often expressing a location in place or time.

In common speech, the object of a preposition may be implied. For instance, “Get in the car” may be shortened to “Get in. ” One school of thought believes that it is acceptable to treat prepositions as adjectives, nouns, or adverbs, in which case, the “in” in “Get in” acts as an adverb. Even if the object can be implied the preposition does never work as a clause constituent on its own. Only the prepositioonal phrases make sense. In itself, a preposition is rather meanless and hard to define in mere words. Its easier to use our hands to show that something is situated in relationship to something else then to describe it by words.


As mentioned above, prepositions are nearly always combined with other words in structures called prepositional phrases. A prepositional phrase consist of a preposition, which is a head of a prepositional phrase and a prepositional complement which is usually a noun phrase, a noun or a pronoun I gave it to him, a nominal wh- clause from where he stood, a nominal -ing phrase by standing here or a prepositional phrase until after the war.

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Prepositional phrases usually tell when or where is something happening, they can also perform other functions. For instance in the sentence He owns the house on the corner, the preposition on indicates that the words the corner express the location of the house referred to in the rest of the sentence. Similarly, in the sentence We are waiting for her, the preposition for indicates that the word her expresses the reason for the action of waiting refered to in the rest of the sentence.

A prepositional phrase at the beginning of a sentence constitues an introductory modifier, which is usually a signal for a comma. Prepositional phrase can be made up of a lot of different words. A preposition followed by a determiner and an adjective or two, followed by a pronoun or noun (called the object of the preposition), this whole phrase takes on a modifying role, acting as an adjective or an adverb, locating something in time and spare, modifying a noun, or telling when or where or under what conditions something happend.

Although the basic object of a preposition is a noun phrase, there are cases in which another kind of phrase forms a preposition’s object. For instance, in the sentence “Come out from under the bed”, the object of the preposition from is another prepositional phrase under the bed. Furthermore, according to some analyses, in the sentence “I opened the door before he walked in”, before is not a conjuction but rather a preposition whose object is a full sentence (he walked in). A combination of verb and preposition is called a phrasal verb (hold on, keep back).

The word that is joined to the verb is then called a particle. FUNCTION OF PREPOSITIONS Most English prepositions have several different functions. For example the preposition at has eighteen different main uses (a point in time, a specific location, a condition, an activity, a price, a direction, and many others) and those may correspond to several different prepositions in another language. At the same time, different prepositions can have very similar uses. We say in the morning, on Monday morning or at night.

Many noun, verbs and adjectives are normaly used with particular prepositions. We say the reasons for, arrive at, angry with, on a bus. Often the correct preposition cannot be guessed, and we have to learn the expression. CLASSIFICATION OF PREPOSITIONS Classification according to word- class origin distinguishes between true prepositions (off, in, to, for, with, on, by, at), called primary or central and secondary or marginal prepositions, prepositions having affinities with other word classes.

It is often difficult to distiguish between these two classes, because many prepositions are probably non- prepositional origin, but the origin is not certain (prepositions deriving from adverbs above, around, outside, non- finite verb forms of participles considering, regarding, past, adjectives contrary to, irrespective of, or nouns atop, thanks to and sources of etymology sometimes differ). It is possible to classificate the prepositions according to their source and stylistic uses.

We can also distinguish between native prepositions (from, among) and foreign prepositions (Latin circa, pro,pace, French apropos of, chez, la and of other languages von). We also know standart prepositions and dialectal prepositions (Scottish forbye, outwith) and also neutral and marked prepositions which shows a degree of formality. We can also distinguish between general- language prepositions and prepositions used in technical language (minus, over, plus).

Very importent is also the structural classification which divides prepositions into simple, single- word prepositions (but, because) and complex, multi- word prepositions (in the eyes of, for the prevention of). According to the number of their constituents multi word prepositions may be subdivided into two- word sequences (along with, up to) and three- word sequences (in regard to, in view of).


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