Prepositions (Dependent Prepositions and Prepositions of Place, Time, Movement)

Prepositions are everywhere. You can’t listen to, speak or read English without finding them. Here are a couple of examples:

What do you know about prepositions?

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Example sentences with prepositions

This guide is divided into sections that deal with:

Prepositions of Place

We use prepositions of place to say where someone or something is, for example “at school” or “in London”.

In, at & on

“In”, “at” and “on” are common prepositions that are used to describe where something is. Here are some common uses of in”, “at” and “on” to talk about place or location.

Infographic showing uses of prepositions of location "in", "at" and "on".


  • In” for enclosed spaces or places with a border or frontier. This could include continents, countries, buildings or rooms.
  • At” tends to be used for more specific locations, at a certain address, or at the corner of two streets.
  • “On” is commonly used for any type of surface (A TV screen, a wall, a floor) and most types of transport (on a bus, on a ship, on a plane). Note that we don’t use “on” with a car (in a car).

Here are some examples of “in”, “at” and “on” used in sentences to describe where something is.

“He lives in Barcelona.”

“The painting was on the wall.”

“He lived at number 56 Yardley St.”

Examples sentences with prepositions of place “in”, “at” & “on”.

Other common prepositions of location

This gallery shows common prepositions of place or location with the position of a red can. In the first image, the can is on (top of) the box.

That’s all you need for talking about where something is, so let’s move on to how to talk about when something is.

Prepositions of Time

Prepositions of time specify when something happens.

Infographic showing when the prepositions of time "in", "on" and "at" are used.


  • In” for longer periods of time such as years and months (in 1888, in January), parts of the day (in the morning, in the evening) and seasons (in the Autumn). A significant exception to the use of in for parts of the day is “night”, which uses “at”
  • At” for more specific times (at midday, at 6 PM, at lunchtime) and festivals (at Christmas, at Easter). “At” is also used for “night” (at night).
  • On” is used for days and dates (on January 5th, on Christmas day, on Monday, on my birthday).

I moved here in 1987, on the 14 of June.

I’m going to see my family at Christmas. I’m looking forward to eating with them on Christmas day.

In the summer the sun comes up really early in the morning and in the winter it gets dark early in the evening.

Examples of prepositions of time in context.

Prepositions of Movement

  • Under
  • along
  • around
  • through
  • into
  • out of
  • across
  • over
  • up
  • past
  • towards
  • down
  • Back / Away

Prepositions of movement describe how something is moving.

As she was driving along the road she saw a man walk across it and go into a shop.

They went through the park, walked around the lake and climbed over the gate to get into the gardens.

Examples of sentences with prepositions of movement .

Test yourself on Prepositions of Place, Time and Movement with this interactive exercise!

And that’s almost everything! The final section of this guide looks at when verbs need prepositions.

Common Verbs with Dependent Prepositions


  • Adapt to
  • Add to
  • Agree to
  • Apologize to
  • Belong to
  • Consent to
  • Devote to
  • Happen to
  • Lead to
  • Listen to
  • Object to
  • React to
  • Refer to
  • Reply to
  • Speak to
  • Talk to
  • Turn to


  • Admire for
  • Apologize for
  • Apply for
  • Ask for
  • Blame for
  • Care for
  • Excuse for
  • Head for
  • Long for
  • Pay for
  • Pray for
  • Prepare for
  • Scold for
  • Search for
  • Vote for
  • Wait for
  • Wish for
  • Work for


  • Agree on
  • Base on
  • Be on
  • Blame on
  • Comment on
  • Concentrate on
  • Congratulate on
  • Count on
  • Depend on
  • Elaborate on
  • Impose on
  • Insist on
  • Play on
  • Pride on
  • Rely on
  • Work on


  • Aim at
  • Arrive at
  • Glance at
  • Guess at
  • Hint at
  • Laugh at
  • Look at
  • Marvel at
  • Peer at
  • Point at
  • Smile at
  • Stare at
  • Wink at


  • Argue about
  • Ask about
  • Be about
  • Boast about
  • Care about
  • Concern about
  • Decide about
  • Dream about
  • Forget about
  • Know about
  • Laugh about
  • Protest about
  • Think about
  • Worry about


  • Acquaint with
  • Agree with
  • Associate with
  • Charge with
  • Clutter with
  • Coincide with
  • Collide with
  • Compare with
  • Comply with
  • Confront with
  • Confuse with
  • Cover with
  • Cram with
  • Deal with
  • Discuss with
  • Help with
  • Tamper with
  • Trust with


  • Abstain from
  • Borrow from
  • Escape from
  • Graduate from
  • Hide from
  • Infer from
  • Prevent from
  • Prohibit from
  • Protect from
  • Recover from
  • Rescue from
  • Resign from
  • Retire from
  • Save from
  • Separate from
  • Stem from
  • Suffer from


  • Absorb in
  • Arrive in
  • Be engrossed in
  • Believe in
  • Confide in
  • Implicate in
  • Involve in
  • Participate in
  • Result in
  • Specialize in
  • Succeed in
  • Trust in

Many verbs are often used with dependent prepositions. These prepositions clarify aspects of the use of the verb. For example in the combination of “listen” and “to” (listen to), the “to” specifies what has the listener’s attention (listen to the radio).

My family and I can’t agree on anything, we’re always arguing about something, so someone always ends up apologising to someone for something that they have been offended by.

Example sentences with verbs and their dependent prepositions.

Learn Dependent Prepositions with This Training Game

The best way to learn verbs and dependent preposition combinations is to use this dependent prepositions training game. With just a couple of minutes a day you can learn these combinations quickly and easily!

Prepositions Exercises

If you want to test yourself and see how well you can use prepositions, check out the interactive quizzes below!