Definition of preposition
: a function word that typically combines with a noun phrase to form a phrase which usually expresses a modification or predication
prepositionalplay \-ˈzish-nəl, -ˈzi-shə-nəl\ adjective
Examples of preposition in a Sentence
The preposition “on” in “The keys are on the table” shows location.
The preposition “in” in “The movie starts in one hour” shows time.
Recent Examples of preposition from the Web
The grammar here is both plain and elaborate: there is no internal punctuation, just a repetitive chain of prepositions (of, on, of, on), but there are delicate changes of light and shade and scale as the sentence unfolds.
The translation hinges on a single Hebrew preposition: ‘
More children today seem to lack the language skills needed to retell a simple story or to use basic connecting words and prepositions.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'preposition'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
What is a preposition?
Prepositions show direction, location, or time, or introduce an object. They are usually followed by an object—a noun, noun phrase, or pronoun. The most common prepositions are little and very common:
at, by, for, from, in, of, on, to, with
Also common are:
about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, because of, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, close to, down, during, except, inside, instead of, into, like, near, off, on top of, onto, out of, outside, over, past, since, through, toward, under, until, up, upon, within, without
Prepositions typically show how the noun, noun phrase, or pronoun is related to another word in the sentence.
a friend of mine
the dress with the stripes
hit by a ball
no one except me
Prepositions with their objects form prepositional phrases. A preposition may appear at the end of a sentence or clause, but only when its object comes earlier. Contrary to what some may say, there is nothing ungrammatical about such structures.
Was he the man you worked with?
That isn't what a hammer is for.
It's the chair you're sitting on.
She just needs someone to talk to.
Many prepositions (such as past, under, off, along, and on) may also act as adverbs. A few (including before, after, for, and since) may act as conjunctions (words that join together other words or groups of words).
Origin and Etymology of preposition
Middle English preposicioun, from Anglo-French preposicion, from Latin praeposition-, praepositio, from praeponere to put in front, from prae- pre- + ponere to put — more at position
First Known Use: 14th century
PREPOSITION Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of preposition for English Language Learners
grammar : a word or group of words that is used with a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to show direction, location, or time, or to introduce an object
PREPOSITION Defined for Kids
Definition of preposition for Students
: a word or group of words that combines with a noun or pronoun to form a phrase that usually acts as an adverb, adjective, or noun “With” in “the house with the red door” is a preposition.
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