Most Common Prepositions and their Uses, Definition, Rules and Types

Prepositions are the small words standing in front of the nouns or the gerund verbs. These are highly confusing, and people often get confused in the matter of which preposition to be used when. There are certain groups of prepositions between which people get confused due to the similarity in their usage and meanings.

Do you also get confused a lot among the prepositions and want to learn them well?

The best way to do so is to learn the group of similar and confusing prepositions together, instead of learning each of them individually.

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Common Prepositions List with Examples

To start with learning the prepositions well and learn their usages briefly, let us start with the following categories:

From…to – 

This set of a preposition is used for explaining the time elapsed between any two fixed times. For example:

  1. I work in the office from 9 AM to 7 PM.
  2. I studied at the university from 2016 to 2020.
  3. It rained heavily from morning to evening.

By – 

This preposition is generally used whenever the person means to say something that will happen by a specific time in the coming future. For example:

  1. I am going out and will be back by evening.
  2. The packet has dispatched and will be delivered by Monday.
  3. I have to return home by 9 PM.

Until/till – 

Until/till is used for showing any situation that continues up to a specific time in the near future. For Example:

  1. I am going out and would not be back until evening.
  2. I will stay in the office till 9 PM.
  3. Wait here until she returns.

Since – 

This preposition is used for describing a continuation of time from a specific point in past to the current period. For Example:

  1. I haven’t seen you since July.
  2. I haven’t used my Instagram profile since Monday.

For – 

For describes a time period without any fixed beginning or ending point. For Example:

  1. I have been waiting for you for 2 hours.
  2. I will stay here for a week.
  3. I have not seen you since last month.

Within – 

This preposition is used for describing the time period that must be finished earlier than a specified endpoint. For Example:

  1. We must complete our work within this month.
  2. The investigation must wrap up within a week.
  3. We must research on the topic within three days.

On, at, by, and with –

On –

Is used as: On holiday/ television/ fire/ time/ the radio/ the phone/ a vehicle. For example:

  1. The manager is on holiday and thus will not be in the office.
  2. I will speak to her on the phone tomorrow.
  3. The thieves set the entire showroom on fire.

At – 

Is used as: at some age/ certain distance/ some temperature. For example:

  1. She got a kick start with the admission in this university at 18.
  2. The train travelled at 110 km per hour.
  3. The water gets too cool at 11 degree Celsius.

By –

Is used like: by some vehicle or some accessory or item by. For Example:

  1. I come to the office daily by bus.
  2. I travel long distances only by plane.
  3. This exotic restaurant is developed by an ancient ruler.

With/ Without – 

Is used for the matter of using something. For example:

  1. The cricketers strike the ball in the match with a bat.
  2. The paper can be cut to different shapes with a pair of scissors.
  3. The weather seems unpredictable. Thus you must not go out without taking any precautions.

Across, along, over, and through –

Across –

This is used to depict any location on the other side of any surface or area, like a sea, land, field, etc. For example:

  1. I saw some crocodiles across the river.
  2. The recent traumatic news broadcasted across several prominent nations.
  3. The ad moves continuously across the screen.

Along – 

This is used for depicting that any person or animal moves on a linear path, like a road, canal, beach, riverfront, etc. For example:

  1. Let us walk along the road and enjoy a bit.
  2. The sandstones were found all along the river.
  3. There were some traces of some marks along the canal.

Over – 

Over helps in depicting a position on the other side of something with more height. For example:

  1. The thief crossed over the gate in the night.
  2. The news of the chairman resigning spread all over the nation.

Through –

Whenever a person moves in a 3D space, through is the right preposition to be used. For example:

  1. The road goes through some valley and mountains.
  2. The ambulance made its way through the traffic.
  3. We walked through the forest to reach the final destination.

Above and over –

Above – 

It is the preposition that is usually preferred when any one thing is not directly over the other. For example:

  1. The height of this peak is 2500m above sea level.
  2. On Monday, the temperature rose above 50 degree Celsius.
  3. The books are kept above the shelf.

Over – 

This preposition is used only when one item touches the other one. This is mainly used during the horizontal movement. For example:

  1. The aeroplane flew over the river.
  2. You must be over 18 years to vote during the elections.
  3. There is a white blanket over the ground after the snowfall.

Below and under –

Both of them are exact opposites of above and over, respectively. The usage of these two prepositions is precisely like that of above and over.

Below –

For example:

  1. The water level in the dam is 2 m below the danger level.
  2. The shelves are kept below the vase.

Under – 

For example:

  1. There is a metro line available under the ground level.
  2. I hid under the bed.

Before, during, and after –

Before – 


  1. We must go through the warm-up sessions before any rigorous exercise.
  2. We must close all the doors and windows before going out.

During –


  1. During the exam times, I prefer not taking any time out for chilling.
  2. One must pay keen attention during the driving lessons.

After – 


  1. After reaching back home, give me a call.
  2. People must disperse only after the completion of the meeting.

About and on –

About – 

This preposition is used for certain verbs that are a wonder, care, laugh, hear, agree, think, learn, enquire, ask, worry, tell, teach, read, quarrel, protest, know, joke, find out, complain, and argue, and specific nouns that are quarrel, misunderstanding, letter, joke, chat, fuss, and argument. For example:

  1. What is this fuss all about?
  2. I am worried about the final practical and examinations.

On – 

On is used for the following verbs – reflect, insist, focus, comment, and concentrate. For example:

  1. I am unable to concentrate on my work due to the loud noise.
  2. We will not comment on the matters of political affairs.

In and into –

In – 

It is the preposition used for indicating any position without movements. For example:

  1. I prefer staying in my bedroom.
  2. My friend lives in an old house.

Into – 

This preposition describes the movement into someplace. For example:

  1. I drove into the market.
  2. I entered into the house from the back door.

On and Onto –

On – 

This preposition describes that one item is above some other in the position, and the two are touching each other. For example:

  1. I can work comfortably on the wet floor.
  2. I kept your plate on the table.

Onto – 

This shows some movement into or on some specified position. For example:

  1. I slipped as soon as I walked onto the wet floor.
  2. She poured some oil onto the paper, and soon it caught flames.

In and inside

In – 

Example: There is a dining table in the master room.

Inside –

Example: My dog stays inside his doghouse.

On-time and in time

On-time – 

This means at some specified time, neither late nor early. It is the opposite of ‘late’. For example:

  1. One must always stay on time for the interview.
  2. This flight is mostly on time.

In time – 

This means early and before the said deadline. For example:

  1. I completed the assigned tasks on time.
  2. Will you return in time for the evening party?

At the end and in the end

At the end – 

This preposition means at a particular time when anything ends. For example:

  1. The players hugged each other and shouted at the end of the match.
  2. I file my taxes at the end of any month.

In the end – 

This preposition is used for describing the final result of any series of events or for explaining the conclusion after considering all the details. For example:

  1. In the end, we decided to party the whole night.
  2. In the end, we finally went to the police station for filing a complaint.


Prepositions play a vital role in the English language’s sentence formation. The writer and content generator, or the ones who have daily tasks of English speaking, there is a necessity to have a deep understanding of different prepositions and their usage. One must also be clear about the usage of confusion and related prepositions.

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