COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUES- I ENGLISH GRAMMAR (CONTINUED) 8. PREPOSITIONS In Unit I, you had acquired an awareness of rules connected with the many aspects of verbs. In the previous lesson of this unit you learnt of the importance of articles for proper construction of sentences. In this second lesson under Unit II, you will learn about the characteristics of prepositions and how to use them appropriately for meaningful sentence formation. ___________________________________________________________________
Objectives By the end of this lesson you will:
Identify the kinds of Prepositions Use Prepositions correctly in spoken and written language
Introduction A preposition describes the relationship between words in a sentence. During the process of communication, use of the correct preposition in sentences is very important for understanding the relationship between words. This lesson on prepositions will help you understand how to use them correctly. Do pay special attention to the situations when a particular kind of preposition is used and put this to use in written or spoken sentences. This way you will strengthen your language skills.
What is a Preposition? A preposition is a word (or a group of words) that is placed before a noun or a pronoun and shows the relationship between that noun or pronoun and another word in the sentence. Prepositions get their name from the fact that they are placed before their object. Look at the following sentence. We saw a cat, the chair This sentence has no meaning by itself. One important word is missing and as a result, we cannot arrive at the exact meaning. 1
Now let us write a few words between cat and chair and see what meanings we get out of the sentence. 1. 2. 3. 4.
We saw a cat on the chair. We saw a cat under the chair. We saw a cat near the chair. We saw a cat behind the chair Study the above sentences carefully. The words cat and chair are connected by a single word that shows a relationship between the words. These connecting words in italic letters are called prepositions. Note: Each sentence gives a different meaning of the cat and chair with respect to the connecting word (preposition) used.
Use of Prepositions Prepositions are special words that tell us the relationship between words in sentences. We will now look at the relationships denoted by prepositions. Looking at the following examples we can say that a preposition is a word that shows a connection between:-
1. A noun/pronoun and a noun. Example: The pen is on the table. 2. A verb and a noun. Example: I came from your house. 3. An adjective/adverb and a noun/pronoun. Example: He is angry with me. In all the above sentences we will not know the real connection between two words without the preposition. In other words, prepositions are like nuts and bolts that keep the words connected.
Types of Prepositions The use of prepositions can be broadly classified into categories relating to space/place, movement/direction, time, course of action and â€˜meansâ€™ or part of a process. We shall discuss them with examples in the following paragraphs.
8.4.1 Relating to space and place Some prepositions denote space and place such as at, in, on, opposite, below, of, behind, near, beside, under, over, etc. Examples:
i. ii. iii. iv. v.
The girl is standing under a tree. Ram is sitting opposite Sita. The plant is behind the piano. The paper is beside the telephone. The cat jumped over the wall.
Self-Check Questions Fill in the blanks with the correct preposition (relating to space and place). 1. 2. 3. 4.
He jumped ____ the hurdle. The temple is located ____ the school. The child hid ____ the door. The Headmaster sat ____ the Chief Guest.
Some prepositions denote movement and direction such as from, to, towards, into, onto, away, round, across, along, etc. Examples: i. ii. iii. iv. v.
A dog swam across the river The moon travels round the earth. The little girl ran towards her mother. The cat fell into the well. We went for a walk along the river.
Self-Check Questions Fill in the blanks with the correct preposition (relating to movement and direction). 5. 6. 7. 8.
The child ran _____ the gate. The friends decided to cycle ____ the countryside during the vacation. She looked ____ her handbag for the keys. We travelled _____ Bombay to Goa.
8.4.2 Relating to time Some prepositions are used with reference to time such as at, in, on, during, after, till, until, far, since, etc.
Examples: i. ii. iii. iv. v.
I spoke to him during our lunch break. We all went for a walk after dinner. Since it was late we decided to take a taxi. I waited till the end of the meeting to present my view. The doctor received a call at night.
Self-Check Questions Fill in the blanks with the correct preposition (relating to time). 9. 10. 11. 12.
Daddy gave me an ice-cream ____ I completed my homework. We are planning to leave ____ six in the evening. We have a study room ____ our apartment. She has been ill _____ Tuesday.
8.4.3 Relating to a course of action Some prepositions denote a course of action such as beyond, past, through, down, up, etc. Examples: i. ii. iii. iv. v.
He quickly went up the stairs. The car sped past the policeman. The old road goes through the tunnel. The box is beyond my reach. The mother lifted the baby up when he began to cry.
Self-Check Questions Fill in the blanks with the correct preposition (relating to a course of action). 13. 14. 15. 16.
The river runs _____ three states. Please put _____ the box, here. The cost of the car is _____ our budget. He managed to run ____ the others in the final lap.
8.4.4 Relating to means or part of a process Some prepositions are used as â€œmeansâ€? or part of a process such as with, by, without, within, etc. Examples: i. ii. iii.
I will go with my brother to the party. The children go to school by bus. The little girl finds it difficult to cross the road without help.
Self-Check Questions Fill in the blanks with the correct preposition (relating to means/part of a process). 17. Please share the toy _____ your sister. 18. We should complete the project ______ three months. 19. We are traveling ____ road to Bangalore. 20. The company could not have made profits _____ the support of its employees.
8.4.5 Other prepositions There are a number of prepositions that do not belong to the grouped list above. Some of such prepositions commonly used are given in the list below. About Above As Around Against Among amid (st)
because of before between besides beneath
instead of including inside
off out (of) outside (of) over owing to regarding
Some prepositions denote a point of time. This is better understood through the examples given below: 1. I will meet you at noon tomorrow. 2. Exams will be held in the month of May. 3. Gandhi Jayanthi, which is on October 2nd, is a national holiday.
Self-Check Questions Fill in the blanks with a suitable preposition from the options given in the table above. 21. 22. 23. 24.
You should visit Agra _______ Delhi, for a holiday. We completed the cooking _____ the visitors arrived. I am worried ______ my mother’s health. She topped the class _____ her schooling.
Something to Remember You should know that some of the more common prepositions could be used in a number of different ways to convey different ideas. Subject/verb I went I gave my pen I like
Preposition to to to
Object Bombay. her. sing.
Remember the correct uses of the word “of”. Of is used to mean a number of things. For example Subject/Verb Please get me a glass Who is the owner The view
Preposition of of of
Object water. this house? the valley is excellent.
There are no hard and fast rules regarding use of prepositions. One has to learn the correct use of prepositions by paying close attention to conversations around us and while reading. If the correct preposition is not used, a sentence may convey a wrong meaning. Extensive reading will enable you to become familiar with the correct use of prepositions. You can also consult a dictionary whenever you are in doubt.
Summing Up In this lesson you have learnt about prepositions which denote many different things. They
• • • • • • 6
show us the relationship between a noun/pronoun and a noun show us the relationship between a verb and a noun show us the relationship between an adjective/adverb and a noun/pronoun denote space and place denote movement and direction may be used with reference to time
• • •
denote a course of action may be used as a part of a process denote a point of time
Answers to Self-Check Questions
1. He jumped over the hurdle. 2. The temple is located behind/beside/opposite the school. 3. The child hid behind the door. 4. The Headmaster sat beside the Chief Guest. 5. The child ran towards the gate. 6. The friends decided to cycle across the countryside during the vacation. 7. She looked into her handbag for the keys. 8. We travelled from Bombay to Goa. 9. Daddy gave me an ice-cream after I completed my homework. 10. We are planning to leave at six in the evening. 11. We have a study room in our apartment. 12. She has been ill since Tuesday. 13. The river runs through three states. 14. Please put down the box, here. 15. The cost of the car is beyond our budget. 16. He managed to run past the others in the final lap. 17. Please share the toy with your sister. 18. We should complete the project within three months. 19. We are traveling by road to Bangalore. 20. The company could not have made profits without the support of its employees. 21. You should visit Agra instead of Delhi, for a holiday. 22. We completed the cooking before the visitors arrived. 23. I am worried about my mother’s health. 24. She topped the class throughout her schooling.
1. I Jayakaran. Everyone’s guide to English Grammar. Chennai: 2M Publishing International, 1999. 2. Wren P.C & Martin H. English Grammar & Composition. New Delhi: S.Chand & Company, 2005 3. www.englishpage.com 4. owl.english.purdue.edu 5. esl.about.com 6. www.learnenglish.org
8.8 â€˘ â€˘
Glossary Noun: a word that names a person, animal, place, thing, or idea Preposition: refers to a word (or a group of words) that is placed before a noun or a pronoun and shows the relationship between different words in a sentence