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English Prepositions List
© Josef Essberger 2009 23 King Street Cambridge CB1 1AH England, UK First Edition 2000 Second Edition (revised) 2005 Third Edition (revised and extended) 2007 Third Edition (revised and extended) 2007 Fourth Edition (revised) 2009 All rights reserved This ebook is distributed in the universal PDF format. Printing: this ebookwill print out on A4 (297 x 210mm) or American Letter size (11 x 8.5in) paper Viewing: this ebook may be viewed on PC or Macintosh computers More ebooks available at
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Why 150 prepositions? 6

5 7 29 33

1 One-word Prepositions
with sample sentences

2 Complex Prepositions
with sample sentences

3 Illustrations
Prepositions of place 33 Prepositions of time 34

4 Quizzes (with answers)
One-word prepositions 36 Complex prepositions 45 Prepositions of place 51 Prepositions of time 52One-word and complex prepositions 53


This ebook contains a list of most English prepositions in use today. The first section lists “one-word prepositions” (for example before, into, on). The second section lists “complex prepositions” (phrases of two or more words that function like one-word prepositions, for example according to, but for, in spite of). The name“preposition” (pre + position) means “place before”. Prepositions usually come before another word, usually a noun or noun phrase: • noun • pronoun • noun phrase • gerund (verb in -ing form) If a preposition does not come before another word, it is still closely linked to another word: • Who did you talk to? • To whom did you talk? • I talked to Jane. Many prepositions can also be adverbs: • They are in thekitchen. preposition • Please come in. adverb A few prepositions can also be conjunctions: • Everyone came but Tara. preposition • I asked her but she didn’t answer. conjunction Abbreviations used in this ebook: conj. = conjunction UK = mainly British English US = mainly American English This ebook is written in British English.

English Prepositions List - An 5

Why 150 prepositions?
It is not possible to produce a definitive list of English prepositions. That means that nobody can create a list of prepositions and say: “Here are all the prepositions in the English language – no more and no fewer.” Why? Because complex prepositions can theoretically be added to the language at any time. This ebook lists all 94 one-word prepositions (which areunlikely to change or be added to) and 56 complex prepositions (which may possibly be added to as the language evolves). This total of 150 prepositions is comprehensive at the time of writing, and represents all the prepositions currently found in a good English dictionary such as the Concise Oxford Dictionary.

English Prepositions List - An eBook 6


One-word Prepositions
aboard about • We went aboard the boat. • Is there a doctor aboard the plane? • • • • • • • • What do you think about Mary? Let’s talk about something different. I’ve just read a book about President Kennedy. The lion was pacing about its cage. We are flying above the clouds. We live in the hills, 1,000 metres above sea-level. It’s only two degrees above...
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