·        To become familiar with the rules that govern the use of prepositions in well-written sentences

·        To develop basic skills in the use of prepositions in well-written sentences




·        To correctly recognize properly applied prepositions in pre-written sentences




Consider the following paragraph about a professor’s desk.  The words in bold, blue font are all prepositions:


You can sit before the desk (or in front of the desk).  The professor can sit on the desk (when he’s being informal) or behind the desk, and then his feet are under the desk or beneath the desk.  He can stand beside the desk (meaning next to the desk), before the desk, between the desk and you, or even on the desk (if he’s really strange).  If he’s clumsy, he can bump into the desk or try to walk through the desk (and stuff would fall off the desk).  Passing his hands over the desk or resting his elbows upon the desk, he often looks across the desk and speaks of the desk or concerning the desk as if there were nothing else like the desk.  Because he thinks of nothing except the desk, sometimes you wonder about the desk, what’s in the desk, what he paid for the desk, and if he could live without the desk.  You can walk toward the desk, to the desk, around the desk, by the desk, and even past the desk while he sits at the desk or leans against the desk.


New Instruction:


Click on for an introduction to prepositions.  When you feel ready, take the pop quiz at the end of the material.  Immediate feedback is provided.  Goal:  at least 8 out of 10 correct.


Feedback and Review:


Prepositions show relationships among other words in sentences.  As their name suggests, they often are used to show position in time or space.  A preposition word will always have an object noun or pronoun to go with it, and since the preposition almost always comes before the noun, think of it as a pre-position—hence the name.  Together, a preposition and its object are known as a prepositional phrase.  Being able to identify prepositional phrases in sentences will clarify some tricky subject-verb agreement situations, since the subject of a sentence can never be the object of a preposition.  (Example:  One of my sisters lives in Toronto.)  By recognizing that “of my sisters” is a prepositional phrase, it becomes much more obvious that “One” is the singular subject, taking “lives” as its singular verb. 


Transfer of Knowledge or Skills:


Go to for a 20-question practice exercise using prepositions in everyday English expressions.  Immediate feedback is provided.        


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