محتويات الصفحة , اضغط على الكلمة للانتقال
A preposition describes a relationship between other words in a
sentence. In itself, a word like "in" or "after" is rather meaningless and
hard to define in mere words. For instance, when you do try to define a
preposition like "in" or "between" or "on," you invariably use your hands to
show how something is situated in relationship to something else.
Prepositions are nearly always combined with other words in structures
called prepositional phrases. Prepositional phrases can be made up of
a million different words, but they tend to be built the same: 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, in turn, takes on a modifying role, acting as an adjective or
an adverb, locating something in time and space, modifying a noun, or
telling when or where or under what conditions something happened.
Consider the professor's desk and all the prepositional phrases
we can use while talking about it.
You can sit
the desk (or
front of the desk). The professor can sit
the desk (when he's being informal) or
the desk, and then his feet are
the desk or
the desk. He can stand
the desk (meaning
the desk and you, or even
the desk (if he's really strange). If he's clumsy, he can bump
the desk or try to walk
the desk (and stuff would fall
the desk). Passing his hands
the desk or resting his elbows
the desk, he often looks
across the desk and speaks
the desk or
concerning the desk as if there were nothing else
the desk. Because he thinks of nothing
the desk, sometimes you wonder
the desk, what's
the desk, what he paid
the desk, and if he could live
the desk. You can walk
the desk, and even
the desk while he sits
the desk or leans
All of this happens, of course, in time:
throughout the class,
the class, etc. And the professor can sit there in a bad mood
[another adverbial construction].
Those words in
font are all prepositions. Some prepositions do other things besides
locate in space or time — "My brother is
like my father." "Everyone
in the class except me got the answer." — but nearly all of them
modify in one way or another. It is possible for a preposition phrase to act
as a noun — "During a church service is not a good time to discuss
picnic plans" or "In the South Pacific is where I long to be" — but
this is seldom appropriate in formal or academic writing.
Is it any wonder that prepositions create such troubles for
students for whom English is a second language? We say we are at the
hospital to visit a friend who is in the hospital. We lie in
bed but on the couch. We watch a film at the theater but on
television. For native speakers, these little words present little
difficulty, but try to learn another language, any other language, and you
will quickly discover that prepositions are troublesome wherever you live
and learn. This page contains some interesting (sometimes troublesome)
prepositions with brief usage notes. To address all the potential
difficulties with prepositions in idiomatic usage would require volumes, and
the only way English language learners can begin to master the intricacies
of preposition usage is through practice and paying close attention to
speech and the written word. Keeping a good dictionary close at hand (to
hand?) is an important first step.
We use at to designate specific times.
We use on to designate days and dates.
brother is coming on Monday.
having a party on the Fourth of July.
We use in for nonspecific times during
a day, a month, a season, or a year.
likes to jog in the morning.
too cold in winter to run outside.
started the job in 1971.
going to quit in August.
We use at for specific addresses.
English lives at 55 Boretz Road in Durham.
We use on to designate names of
streets, avenues, etc.
And we use in for the names of
land-areas (towns, counties, states, countries, and continents).
lives in Durham.
is in Windham County.
County is in Connecticut.
Prepositions of Location: in, at, and
and No Preposition
We use to in order to express movement
toward a place.
were driving to work together.
going to the dentist's office this morning.
towards are also
helpful prepositions to express movement. These are simply variant spellings
of the same word; use whichever sounds better to you.
moving toward the light.
is a big step towards the project's completion.
With the words
home, downtown, uptown,
inside, outside, downstairs, upstairs, we use no preposition.
both went outside.
for when we measure time
(seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years).
held his breath for seven minutes.
lived there for seven years.
British and Irish have been quarreling for seven centuries.
We use since with a specific date or
worked here since 1970.
been sitting in the waiting room since two-thirty.
Prepositions are sometimes so firmly wedded to other words that
they have practically become one word. (In fact, in other languages, such as
German, they would have become one word.) This occurs in three categories:
nouns, adjectives, and verbs.
|NOUNS and PREPOSITIONS
|ADJECTIVES and PREPOSITIONS
|VERBS and PREPOSITIONS
look forward to
A combination of verb and preposition is called a
verb. The word that is joined to the verb is then called a particle.
Please refer to the brief section we have prepared on phrasal verbs
for an explanation.
agree to a proposal, with a person, on
a price, in principle
argue about a matter, with a person, for
or against a proposition
compare to to show likenesses, with to show
differences (sometimes similarities)
correspond to a thing, with a person
differ from an unlike thing, with a person
live at an address, in a house or city, on
a street, with other people
In everyday speech, we fall into some bad habits, using
prepositions where they are not necessary. It would be a good idea to
eliminate these words altogether, but we must be especially careful not to
use them in formal, academic prose.
up with the new coach in the hallway.
The book fell off
of the desk.
He threw the book out
of the window.
She wouldn't let the cat inside
of the house. [or use "in"]
Where did they go
Put the lamp in
back of the couch. [use "behind"
Where is your college
When two words
or phrases are used in parallel and require the same preposition to be
idiomatically correct, the preposition does not have to be used twice.
can wear that outfit in summer and
female was both attracted
by and distracted by the male's dance.
However, when the idiomatic use of phrases
calls for different prepositions, we must be careful not to omit one of
children were interested in and disgusted by the
was clear that this player could both contribute to and learn
from every game he played.
was fascinated by and enamored of this beguiling
- THE END -