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spacer Prepositions

  indent A preposition is used to show the position of one thing in relation to another. We use prepositions so that the reader or listener knows where something is or when it is happening in relation to something else. This might be the postition in terms of space or the position in terms of time. An easy way to remember "preposition" is to think of pre = before, position = place.

Some common prepositions are shown in italics in the next paragraph.


spacer Because the shopping centre was being remodelled, Auntie Grace did not know where to go in the supermarket to buy eggs. She went through a turnstile and found that she was on the wrong floor. Down she went to Level 1, only to find that behind her and around her were shelves of baby food. When she looked on the sign, she read that eggs were across the next aisle and near the bread. After she reached the section, she realised that her sister. Who had been with her, had vanished.

spacer Exercise One

indent Write out the paragraph about Auntie Grace in your notebook and replace each of the prepositions in italics with one from the list below.

inside    beside    up    past    by    over    opposite

between    beneath    at    before

Note how the entire meaning of the passage is changed because you have changed where things are and when they happen in relation to each other:


spacer Exercise Two

Complete each of these sentences by using one of the prepostions: for, onto, since, out or among.

Example:    a.   He has been waiting since this morning.
  1. He has been waiting ........ this morning.
  2. They found it ........ the shoes.
  3. I have no time ..... nonsense.
  4. He could see a blue bird ...... the others.
  5. Did he step ...... the puddle?
  6. I bought these ......... your.
  7. How long is it ......... you cleaned your shoes?
  8. You will find that it will lead you ...... trouble.
Using the wrong preposition creates confusion and can change the meaning.

[Source: Monaghan, E. (1999) Grammar Skills 1, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 32-33.]