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Parts of Speech

Learn more about English parts of speech, such as prepositions and articles, to help you become a more confident writer.

Prepositions

Prepositions indicate some kind of relationship between two items. Please review the links below for information on the four types of prepositions.  For more information on which words and concepts to use with prepositions, please see The Preposition Pyramid (Queen's University) and Preposition Combinations (Queen's University). 

  • Time, place, and to introduce objects
  • Direction
  • Location
  • Spatial relationships

Time, place, and to introduce objects

There is an extensive list of prepositions that are used to indicate time, place, and to introduce objects. The list includes:

  • On
  • At
  • In
  • Near
  • Over
  • Among
  • Of
  • For

For example:

  • I'll meet you at four o'clock.
  • You can find your hat on the shelf.
  • The bird flew over the tree.
  • I'm looking for my sweater.

For more information regarding this type of preposition, including examples, please refer to The OWL at Purdue: Prepositions of Time, of Place, and to Introduce Objects.

Direction

Prepositions of direction express a movement toward something and appear with verbs of motion:

  • To
  • On(to)
  • In(to)

For example:

  • Please give the paper to me.
  • Place the paper on my desk.
  • The rain fell on(to) the field.
  • Place the paper in my tray.
  • The rain dripped in(to) my eyes.

For more information regarding some of these prepositions, please refer to The OWL at Purdue: Prepositions of Direction--Onto and The OWL at Purdue: Prepositions of Direction--Into.

Location

Prepositions of location assist in describing states of being or condition:

  • At
  • On
  • In

For example:

  • I'll meet you at the house.
  • I put the icing on the cake.
  • Would you like some ice in your drink?

For more information, please refer to The OWL at Purdue: Prepositions of Location.

Spatial relationships

Prepositions that indicate a spatial relationship explain where one object is in relation to another. Prepositions in this category include:

  • Inside
  • Beside
  • Above
  • Across
  • Off
  • Within

For example:

  • Please place the gift inside the box.
  • Won't you sit beside me?
  • I wish my cat would get off my lap.
  • Please mark your choice within the circle.

For more information regarding this type of preposition, please refer to The OWL at Purdue: Prepositions of Spatial Relationship.