what is a preposition?

You are all aware of those pesky little words called prepositions, right? You know the ones, they combine with nouns to form phrases (or prepositional phrases!) and choosing the right one can be tricky. The most commonly confused prepositions are:

  • in – Nobody puts baby in the corner.
  • on – We’re going on holiday,
  • at – I finish work at 6pm.

There are lots more, if you need a re-cap.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they appear in many English idioms and phrases (just to make English learning life that little more difficult for you).

what is a prepositional phrase?

So, here’s the deal… If a preposition appears at the begining of an idiom/phrase, it becomes a prepositional phrase e.g.

Over my dead body. Over = preposition

Over my dead body = prepositional phrase meaning ‘never’. e,g

 

My daughter will go out with that hooligan over my dead body. (My daughter will never date that troublemaker.)

prepositional phrase - meaning and examples
prepositional phrase - meaning and examples

I’ve tried to make it a bit easier for you. So, I’ve grouped the prepositional phrases for ease. Scroll through the list of prepositions below, click on the links and see what you can learn.

**TIP**
Try learning the phrase as a whole and don’t worry about the exact function of the preposition. If you want to refresh your knowledge on prepositions first, check out my grammar section.

prepositional phrases with above
prepositional phrases with against
idioms with prepositional phrases with at
prepositional phrases with behind
prepositional phrases with by
prepositional phrases with down
prepositional phrases with from
prepositional phrases with in
prepositional phrases with off
prepositional phrases with on
prepositional phrases with over
prepositional phrases with to
idioms with prepositional phrases with under
prepositional phrases with up
prepositional phrases with 'with'