Rules for Prepositions
Prepositions are relationship words. They give clues and guidance regarding how the remainder of the sentence fits together. There are several important rules when using prepositions in the context of a sentence. These rules relate to how prepositions can be used, which prepositions can be used when, and where prepositions have to go in the sentence.
What is a Preposition?
A preposition is a word that explains the time, space or logical relationship between the other parts of the sentence. In other words, it links all the other words together, so the reader can understand how the pieces of the sentence fit.
There are hundreds of prepositions in the English language. One easy way to remember prepositions is that they are words that tell you everywhere a bunny can run; for example, a bunny can run
1. The first major rule deals with preposition choice. Certain prepositions must follow certain words, and the correct preposition must be used to make relationships between words in the sentences clear.
2. The second major rule deals with the prepositions place in the sentence. Prepositions must be followed by nouns, and prepositions can only go on the end of the sentence in certain situations.
Here are some examples of idioms, along with the correct prepositions:
- Able to
- Capable of
- Preoccupied with
- Concerned by
- Prohibited from
Prepositions In the Context of Sentences
- The bone was for the dog. This is correct- the preposition for is followed by the noun "dog."
- The bone was for walked. This is not correct. The preposition for is followed by a verb "walked." Walked can't be the object of a preposition.
- I like to ski or These boots are for skiing.
- In the first example, to ski is part of the infinitive. An infinitive is NOT a verb. An infinitive occurs when a verb is used as a noun, adjective, or adverb. Here, "to ski" is a THING that the person likes doing, not an action that they are doing. It is a verbal noun.
- In the second example, skiing is a gerund. Like an infinitive, a gerund is NOT a verb, but is instead a noun, adjective or adverb. Here, "skiing" is a thing that the boots are for. No one in this sentence is doing the action of skiing.
Using Prepositions at the End of Sentences
- The table is where I put my books on.
In the above example, "The table is where I put my books on." the use of the preposition "on" isn't necessary. We could take the "on" out of the sentence and the meaning would be the same. So, the use of the preposition was extraneous or unnecessary and we don't need it.
However, here is an example where it is perfectly acceptable to use a preposition to end a sentence:
- "I turned the TV on."
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