What are the Different Types of Prepositions?

Preposition word formed from scrabble cubes.

Prepositions can be very confusing because they are a few of them and used in many different events. According to research done on 55 students, only 18.18% can be classified as excellent in using prepositions in a sentence. 

Prepositions show how and when an event occurred in a sentence. They connect actions, relationships to people, or things that did them.

In this article, you’ll learn about all the types of prepositions and their usage in a sentence using examples. Let’s start!

Related: Types of AdverbsTypes of Diction | Types of Adjectives | Types of VerbsTypes of PronounsTypes of ConjunctionsTypes of Nouns

Types of preposition

Prepositions of Place

Prepositions of place illustrated by a cat vector.

Prepositions of place refer to the location of something or someone. In the English language, there are only three prepositions of place. However, they can be of use in a wide range of descriptions. 

These prepositions are:


This shows a specific/ particular point


This shows an enclosed place.


It is used to discuss a surface.

Prepositions of place allow you to give a detailed location of something in a narration. Let’s look at how they are used in a sentence:

  1. I was at the gate when the bell rang.
  2. The police locked up the thief in a cell.
  3. I saw the apple on the table.

Prepositions of Time

Test paper of English preposition.

These prepositions show when something happened (past), is happening (present), or will happen (future). There are several prepositions of time, which include:


 This preposition is used to show the time. 

For example: at 2 am, at noon, etc.


 It is used to show dates and holidays.

 For example: on 12 January, on Christmas day, etc.


This preposition of time is used to show more prolonged periods. 

For example: in the morning, in summer, etc.


When you add a noun, the preposition shows when something happened.

 For example: during the break, during the game, etc.


This preposition shows the duration of time when combined with a noun.

 For example: for years, for months, etc.


We combine since and a noun to show a specific time when something began. 

For example: since 1945, since January, etc.


It is used to show the duration for which something has happened or has been happening.

 For example: until the sun goes down; until I convince him.

From and to

It shows the start to the end.

 For example: from January to March, from 1940 to 2020.

Example in a sentence;

  1. Obama served as president for four years.
  2. United Nations organization has been in existence since 1946

Preposition of direction

Preposition of direction illustrated by a dragon ventor.

These prepositions indicate the motion of something or someone. There are several prepositions of direction, but we will only cover the most common ones. Preposition of direction includes: above, across along, among, around, at, behind, below, beside, close, through, toward, up, down, between, by, inside, near, next, to, onto, off, past, and under. Get a diagrammatic explanation here and learn how to use prepositions from Grammarly here


It’s the most common directional preposition and does not show any specific direction.


This preposition that shows movement that gets inside or looks inside.


Shows movement from one side to the other.


The preposition shows movement from outside to inside or inside to outside.

Examples in a sentence;

  1. I went to the market and bought some vegetables.
  2. He poured the water into the glass.
  3. I run across the road the road
  4. The bullet went through the wall to the child.

Preposition of manner

Preposition of manner shows how something happened or is done in a sentence. These prepositions include: by, in, like, with, and on. However, the most common prepositions of manner are: by and with.

The preposition “by” shows how or in what way something happened. On the other hand, the preposition “with” is interpreted to mean “in the company of someone.”

Here are several example sentences using prepositions of manner;

  1. We went to school by bus
  2. We reacted with anger to his abuse.
  3. The president arrived on the island on a ferry.

Preposition of measure

These prepositions indicate the relationship between the quantity of something and someone or something else. They are used in measurements or when comparing sizes. Prepositions of manner include: by, at, and of.


Shows standard measurements or value and sometimes in comparing sizes.


Used with exact measurements.


Shows an abstract measurement that cannot be in numbers.

Here are some examples in a sentence;

  1. That bank charges interest rates at 12%.
  2. She is taller than me by 12 inches.
  3. His inheritance was a piece of land.

Preposition of source

Prepositions of source indicate the origin of something or someone when used in a sentence. These prepositions include from and by.

Example in a sentence;

  1. The kidnappers emerged from the bush.
  2. His car was bought by my wife.

Work sheet on wooden table topped with colorful English preposition word cards.

Preposition of possession

These prepositions explain that something belongs to someone or something else. They show ownership. They include: of, to, and with. In some cases, we use them alongside the word “belong.”

Here some examples in a sentence;

  1. I saw the boy with a radio.
  2. That is the car of my dreams
  3. He is the boy with the piercing on his nose
  4. That house belongs to his boss

Preposition of agent of instrument

Prepositions of agents of instrument show us who or what did a particular action. They help you associate a specific activity with someone or something; they connect the doer and the action. They include; 


Shows action done by a person in a sentence 


They relate an action with a thing.

Examples in a sentence:

  1. Rich Dad Poor Dad was written by Robert Kiyosaki
  2. The bull injured him with its horns


To summarize, prepositions can be very confusing and embarrassing, especially when you’re communicating. On the other hand, proper usage of preposition shows great prowess and mastery of the language. The eight prepositions will help you learn the art of using them properly and boost your writing and communicating confidence.


Do you say “I’m on a plane” or “I’m in a plane.”

“I’m on a plane” is the correct way to say it. “On” is one of the trickiest prepositions. It’s funny because the wings too are on the plane, and the logo is also on the plane. 

Is ending a sentence with a preposition a grammatical error?

No. However, ending a sentence with a preposition sounds informal. You can end with a preposition in texts, emails, and friendly notes but probably not in your research paper. You can get more information here.

Should prepositions be capitalized in titles?

No. Prepositions and conjunctions should not be capitalized in titles. However, there are some exceptions.

  • They should not be capitalized unless they end or start in a sentence.
  • A preposition should be capitalized if it has six letters or more.

You can have more insights here.

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