This is “Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases”, section 1.17 (from appendix 1) from the book Writers' Handbook (v. 1.0). For details on it (including licensing), click here.

For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. You can browse or download additional books there. You may also download a PDF copy of this book (17 MB) or just this chapter (453 KB), suitable for printing or most e-readers, or a .zip file containing this book's HTML files (for use in a web browser offline).

Has this book helped you? Consider passing it on:
Creative Commons supports free culture from music to education. Their licenses helped make this book available to you.
DonorsChoose.org helps people like you help teachers fund their classroom projects, from art supplies to books to calculators.

21.17 Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases

Prepositions are words that show the relationships between two or more other words. Choosing correct prepositions can be challenging, but the following examples will help clarify how to use some of the most common prepositions.

Types of Prepositions Examples of Prepositions How to Use Prepositions Used in Sentences
Time at Use with hours of the day and these words that indicate time of day: dawn, midnight, night, and noon We will eat at 11:30.
We will eat at noon.
by Use with time words to indicate a particular time I’ll be there by 5:00.
I’ll be finished by October.
in Use with the and these time-of-day words: afternoon, evening, and morning We’ll start in the morning.
Use on its own with months, seasons, and years The rainy season starts in June.
on Use with days of the week I’ll see you on Friday.
Location at Use to indicate a particular place I’ll stop at the dry cleaners.
in Use when indicating that an item or person is within given boundaries My ticket is in my pocket.
by Use to mean “near a particular place” My desk is by the back door.
on Use when indicating a surface or site on which something rests or is located Place it on the table, please.
My office is on Lincoln Boulevard.
Logical relationships of Use to indicate part of a whole I ate half of the sandwich.
Use to indicate contents or makeup I brought a bag of chips.
for Use to show purpose Jake uses his apron for grilling.
State of being in Use to indicate a state of being I am afraid that I’m in trouble.