What is Preposition?
A preposition is a word or group of words used before a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to show direction, time, place, location, spatial relationships, or to introduce an object.
Some very common prepositions are: in, of, on, for, with, at, by, etc.
- The book is on the round table. (relationship in space)
- We will meet in November. (relationship in time)
- I sent the information by email. (relationship of method)
Rules of Prepositions
‘In’ is used with the names of countries and large towns; ‘at’ is used when speaking of small towns and villages.
- I live in Delhi.
- I live at Mehrauli in Delhi.
‘In’ and ‘at’ are used in speaking of things at rest; ‘to’ and ‘into’ are used in speaking of things in motion.
- He is in bed.
- He is at the top of the class.
- He ran to school
- He jumped into the river.
- The snake crawled into its hole.
‘On’ is often used in speaking of things at rest, and ‘upon’ for the things in motion.
- He sat on a chair.
- The cat sprang upon the table.
‘Till’ is used for time and ‘to’ is used for place.
- He slept till eight o’clock.
- He walked to the end of the street.
‘With’ often denotes the instrument and ‘by’ the agent.
- He killed two birds with one shot.
- He was stabbed by a lunatic with a dagger.
‘Since’ is used before a noun or phrase denoting some point of time and is preceded by a verb in the perfect tense.
- I have eaten nothing since yesterday.
- He has been ill since Monday last.
‘From’ is also used before a noun or phrase denoting some point of time but is used with non-perfect tense.
- I commenced work from 1st January.
- He will join the school from tomorrow.
‘For’ is used for a period of time.
- He has been ill for five days.
- He lived in Bombay for five years.
Use of ‘in’ before a period of time means at the end of the period, but the use of ‘within’ before a period of time means before the end of the period.
- I shall return in an hour. (means I shall return at the end of an hour).
- I shall return within an hour. (means I shall return before the end of an hour).
‘Scarcely’ should be followed by ‘when’ and not by ‘than’.
- Scarcely had he gone when (not than) a policeman knocked at the door.
The phrase ‘seldom or ever’ is wrong ‘Seldom or never’ is right.
- Such goods are made for export and are seldom or never used in this country.
‘Beside’ means at the side of while ‘besides’ means in addition to.
- Beside the ungathered rice, he lay.
- Besides being fined, he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
‘Above’ and ‘Below’ merely denote a position, while ‘over’ and ‘under’ also carry a sense of covering or movement.
- The bird flew above the lake. (Incorrect)
- The bird flew over the lake. (Correct)
Here ‘over’ is used to denote upward position and movement also.
‘During’ is used when reference is made to the time within which something happens. ‘For’ is used when we are talking about how long something lasts.
- There are few incidents of irregularity for the emergency years. (Incorrect)
- There are few incidents of irregularity during the emergency years. (Correct)
Compare is followed by ‘to’ when it shows that two things are alike. It is followed by ‘with’ when we look at the ways in which two things are like and unlike each other.
- Rohit Sharma’s batting may be compared to the sales of a useful book; they score right from the beginning. (Incorrect)
- Rohit Sharma’s batting may be compared with the sales of a useful book; they score right from the beginning. (Correct)
- If we compare Delhi University with the regional ones, we find the former to be much more efficient. (Incorrect)
- If we compare Delhi University to the regional ones, we find the former to be much more efficient. (Correct)
Examine the following sentences:
- This is as good, if not better than that. (Incorrect)
- This is as good as, if not better than, that. (Correct)
- This is as good as that, if not better. (Correct)