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Prepositions for Time, Place, and Introducing Objects

Summary:

This section deals with prepositions and their standard uses.

Contributors:Chris Berry, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli, Maryam Ghafoor
Last Edited: 2017-02-02 10:15:30

On prepositions

Prepositions are keywords that indicate the start of a prepositional phrase. A prepositional phrase begins with the first preposition in the sentence and ends with the object or noun of the phrase. For example, “She sat on the red carpet while reading.” The italicized portion is a prepositional phrase. Generally, prepositional phrases act as adverbs or adjectives in that they modify either verbs, adverbs, or adjectives. This section will demonstrate how to use prepositions for time, place, and objects in American English.

One point in time

“On,” “at”, and “in” are used to describe a moment in time.

On is used with days:

At is used with noon, night, midnight, and with the time of day:

In is used with other parts of the day, with months, with years, and with seasons:

Extended time

To express extended time, English uses the following prepositions: since, for, by, from—to, from-until, during,(with)in

Place

To express notions of place, English uses the following prepositions:

In: to talk about an object being contained.

Inside: to refer more specifically to where the object is contained.

On: to talk about the surface.

At: to talk about a general vicinity.

Higher than a point

To express notions of an object being higher than a point, English uses the following prepositions: over, above.

Over: to talk about an object that has moved higher and wider than another object.

Above: to talk about an object that has moved higher than another object. 

Lower than a point

To express notions of an object being lower than a point, English uses the following prepositions: under, underneath, beneath, below.

Under: to describe an object that is below a general point

Underneath: to describe something that is below a more specific point 

Beneath: to describe an object that is directly below another object

Below: to describe an object that is lower or less than another object or point

Close to a point

To describe an object as being close to a point, English uses the following prepositions: near, by, next to, between, among, opposite.

To introduce objects of verbs

An object of a verb adds specificity to the verb. In terms of prepositional objects, the object is introduced by a preposition. For example, in the sentence, “They fought about the old chair,” which object did they fight over? The chair. When introducing objects of verbs, there are some prepositions that directly follow specific verbs. Below are some examples: 

“At” is used with the following verbs: glance, laugh, look, rejoice, smile, stare

“Of” is used with the following verbs: approve, consist, smell

“Of” (or “about”) is used with the following verbs: dream, think

“For” is used with the following verbs: call, hope, look, wait, watch, wish

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