Prepositions are important parts of the English language. Prepositions, used frequently in sentences, perform the function of describing the relation of nouns or pronouns to other words in a sentence. Prepositions are useful when communication involves place, time, and direction. They are also useful when relating to objects, especially when there is more than one noun. This is the first of two High English quizzes which will help you to understand prepositions and how they describe the relation of nouns to other words in a sentence.
Prepositions are few in number. Here is a list of some and in which situations they are used:
AT, ON, IN, AROUND, INTO and BEHIND are prepositions in relation to place and time.
AFTER, ACROSS, BEHIND, TO, THROUGH, UP, AROUND, UNDERNEATH, OPPOSITE and AGAINST are prepositions in relation to direction.
DOWN, BELOW, UNDER, AFTER, ON, IN, BESIDE and ABOVE are prepositions in relation to objects.
Besides these prepositions, other prepositions are used that are not common. Look at these sentences:
‘The sun shone THROUGHOUT the cricket match.’
‘The sun shone DURING the cricket match.’
In these examples the words in capitals are prepositions. Although both appear to convey the same meaning, a closer examination of the sentences reveals that in the first sentence, the sun shone for the entire match whereas in the second sentence, there could have been periods when the sun did not shine because it went behind the clouds.
Prepositions, besides being single words, also come in groups of words, as in the following examples:
‘There is a parking place IN FRONT OF my house.’
‘The racing driver got AHEAD OF the others by the 29th lap.’
In these two sentences the words in capitals form the preposition.
Compared to verbs and nouns, prepositions are very few in number but their usage is very high. About 80 to 100 single words are prepositions and another 50 to 70 groups of words are non-single word prepositions. The quiz that follows shows us how to use prepositions to make our communication more meaningful.