Introduction to Prepositions

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Prepositions are used to modify nouns, verbs, or adjectives by expressing their spatial or temporal relations with one another


Prepositions function within phrases to modify
main verbs, nouns, or adjectives.
They also express spatial and temporal
relationships between parts of a sentence.

1. Location: at, on, in: Prepositions differ according to
the number of dimensions they refer to. We can group
them into three classes using concepts from geometry:
point, surface, and area/volume.
a. Point: (at) Prepositions in this group indicate that the noun
that follows them is treated as a point in relation to which
another object is positioned.
b. Surface: (on) Prepositions in this group indicate that the
position of an object is defined with respect to a surface on
which it rests.
c. Area/Volume: (in) Prepositions in this group indicate that an
object lies within the boundaries of an area or within the
confines of a volume.


2. Direction: to, on(to), in(to): These prepositions express
movement toward something. To, into, and onto
correspond respectively to the prepositions of location at,
in, and on. Each pair can be defined by the same spatial
relations of point, line/surface, or area/volume.
3.Temporal relations: Prepositions also express how
objects relate temporally. Prepositions can express a point
in time or an extended time.
a. On, at, and in are each used to express similar relations as
their spatial counterparts.
b. Since, by, for, and from-to are used to express extended time.

. We arrived _the afternoon.
. The waiter was 2 our table
. We have not seen our waiter
iis we arrived.
. The soccer player leaped “the
. The tiger jumped ©) ~my face.
. The tiger jumped _i) the trap.
. [went _“9_ the store today.
8. A light appeared i) _ the window.
9. The cattle will graze _©i)_ the open
range J! the whole summer.
10. Three hockey players are 2) __
the ice.
11. The cowboy ruv___—stthe
setting sun.
12. Three boxers are |i) _ the ring.
is}, The playin)
Seytember___ November.
14. The water spaw_ ss the

GT. oy
J Ait Me 4 | a E
* Foris a personal and personally limiting
preposition and expresses a proprietary
relationship. Also, for refers to temporal
duration (ex: | went to England for two weeks)
and motivation.
* To is a quantitative, directional preposition and
should be used to explain the impersonal
connection between objects.

1. For:
a. “Speak for myself.” Here for refers to motive and is personally
limiting and proprietary. The emphasis is as follows: “I speak on my
own behalf; no one else does it for me.”
b. “This is my first time for a visit.” This sentence lays more stress on
the personal motive for the visit. This preposition stresses the
relationship between the visitor and the visitee.
2. To: “Speak to myself.” Here to explains the direction of the
3. Infinitives: “This is my first time to visit.” To visit is an infinitive not a
preposition. This sentence lays stress on the action of the visit. An
adverb could be added to inform the reader of the specific type of
action (personal visit, professional visit . . . etc.).

7. . (Direction) | went ““ the
bank to deposit my check.
. (Personal) | am waiting
fo! the augmtlanees
. (Motive) John left /
France where he =. to
study French culture.
. (Direction) Thomas is
leaving to go “England

(Motive) ae bookstore
closed i convocation.
{Direction The clerk left
to go .is_ the chapel.
(Motive) The clerk left jor
the chapel.
(Direction) Sally wants to
go © the lake.
(Personal) John spoke i"
(Direction) John spokw)
___ himself.