A preposition is a word that tells you when or where something is in relation to something else. There are over 100 prepositions in English and using them correctly can be difficult, especially for learners.

Although most prepositions are single words such as ‘at’, ‘on’, ‘to’, ‘from’, some pairs and groups of words operate like single prepositions, for example ‘up to’, ‘out of’ ‘in front of’ etc.

Below is a list of commonly-used prepositions with their meaning and a sentence example.

PrepositionMeaningExample
abouton the subject of; connected withHave you heard about the party? We’re all invited.
abovehigher than, or overThe sun is above the clouds.
acrossfrom one side to the otherIt’s dangerous to run across the road.
after– following something; behind
– later than
– The boy ran after the ball.
– I’ll phone you after lunch.
against– in opposition to
– in contact with
– Stealing is against the law.
– The sofa is against the wall.
alongfrom one end to the other They are walking along the street.
amongsurrounded byPeter was among the spectators.
around– in a circle
– near, approximately
– He walked around the table.
– It costs around 50 euros.
away (from)at a distance fromThe boy ran away from home.
before– earlier than
– in front of
– The day before yesterday.
– He bowed before the king.
behindat the back of Passengers sit behind the driver.
belowlower than His shorts are below his knees.
beneathunderThe pen was beneath the books.
besidenext toThe bank is beside the cinema.
betweenin the space separating two thingsMary sat between Tom and Jane.
by– near, at the side of 
– not later than
– The restaurant is by the river.
– The boss wants the report by Friday.
close tonearThe school is close to the church.
downfrom higher to lowerShe pulled down the blind.
forwhat is intendedI bought this book for you.
fromwhere something starts or originatesThe wind is blowing from the north.
inat a point within an areaThe pen is in the drawer.
in front ofdirectly beforeThe child ran out in front of the bus.
insideon the inner part of The bird is inside the cage.
intoenter a closed spaceHe went into the shop.
nearclose toThe school is near the church.
next tobesideThe bank is next to the cinema.
offdown or away fromHe fell off the horse.
onin a position touching a surface The plate is on the table.
ontomove to a position on a surface The cat jumped onto the roof of the car.
oppositefacing, on the other sideEva sat opposite Tom at the table.
out of– move from a closed space
– without
– He got out of the taxi.
– She’s out of work.
outside– opposite of inside
– on the outer side 
The garden is outside the house.
over– above/across
– on the surface of
– The plane flew over the Atlantic.
– She put a sheet over the furniture.
pastbeyondShe drove past the supermarket.
roundin a circular movement The earth moves round the sun.
throughfrom one side to the otherThe Seine flows through Paris.
throughoutin every part ofThe virus spread throughout the country.
toin the direct of; towardsOn the way to the station.
towardsin the direction ofThe child ran towards her father.
underbeneath, belowWater flows under the bridge.
underneathbeneathThere was dust underneath the rug.
uptowards or in a higher positionShe walked up the stairs.
withincluding
as a result of
-Vegetables are served with the fish.
-The boss was annoyed with Tom for arriving late.
withininsideThey live within the old city.
withoutnot have or lack somethingI don’t like coffee without milk.