English grammar rules for prepositionsMy experience over the last so many years tells me that students should never underestimate the importance of Grammar rules. They could make / break your exam (and sometimes life). This post deals with troublesome prepositions and the English Grammar rules that will definitely help you.

What is covered below should be enough for you to go ahead and attempt correctly some very important questions on English, Grammar & related in any competitive exam – be it CLAT, CSAT, UGC-NET, Bank PO, CAT, GRE, GMAT, SSC, NDA or any that happens in India.

So, let’s begin!

Prepositions are a part of speech used to show a relation of a noun or noun equivalent (the object of the preposition.) to some other word in the sentences.

1. All, of

Do not use of after all, unless the next word is a prnoun.

  • All the men belong to the rotary club.
  • All of us belong to the rotary club.
  • All of us boys belong to the Lake View hostel.

2. Among, between

Among always implies more than two; between literally imp;ies two. Between however, is now often used for 3 or more items, when each is regarded individually.

  • The teachers distributed the paint among the students. (More than 2)
  • Distribute these clothes among the workers. (More than 2)
  • The commission is divided evenly between the two partners. (only two persons)
  • What is the difference between a thief and a robber? (only two attributes)

However, between maybe used for more than 2 persons or things in order to bring each person or thing into the relation expressed.

  • The difference between the three girls was so slight that they might have been triplets.
  • While packing glass tumblers, be sure to place paper between them.
  • The three children had but Rs 10 between them.

3. At,In

Both at and in are used in reference to places. Mostly, in is used for larger places and at for smaller places.

  • He lives at Chandni chowk in Delhi
  • I live in Chandigarh and work at DAV College.

4. In, into, in to

In implies the position within and into implies motion without to within. In to is a two word phrase in which in is an adverb.

  • The correspondence is in the file.
  • He walked into my office.
  • Mr. Sharma came in to see me.

5. Beside, besides

Besides means in addition to; beside means by the side of.

  • Besides, we need your support in this venture.
  • Besides being fined, he was also jailed.
  • I sat beside the girl I was supposed to marry. It was unnerving!
  • I live beside the temple.

6. On, upon, up on

Both on and upon are interchangeable, although upon is a little more formal and emphatic. In the two word phrase up on, on is an adverb.

  • Please place the book on the table.
  • His statements were based upon the scientific data.
  • It will be necessary to step up on the school.

7. Some words like senior, junior, prefer, prior, superior, inferior, preferable, etc. are followed by to and not than.

  • He is senior to me in service.
  • Health is more preferable to wealth.
  • This phone is inferior to that phone.

8. Certain words are used in gerund (first form of a verb followed by -ing) along with prepositions. For e.g. abstain, confident, fond, insist, keen, persist, prohibit, refrain, succeed etc.

  • I prohibited him from parking his car near the entrance.
  • She is confident of speaking English within six months.
  • One should abstain from drinking and smoking.
  • He worked and succeeded in securing a good percentile in the entrance exam.

9. Certain words are used in gerund without a preposition if followed by the first form of a verb. For e.g. avoid, enjoy, help, dislike, stop, remember etc.

  • He enjoys wasting time on his smartphone.
  • Stop fooling yourself.
  • I dislike the smell of hookah.
  • Many people avoid drinking before their superiors.

10. Certain words are followed by different prepositions in different contexts. For e.g.

  • I agree with Mr. X
  • I agree to your proposal.

Here, the word agree is used with two different prepositions with and to. Agree with is used for agreement with a person. Agree to is used for agreement to a plan / proposal / idea.

Prepositions are important concepts that examiners like to test students on. Read the post again and in case of any doubts, do post in the comment section below!

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About Author

Akash Gautam is a Motivational Speaker & Corporate Trainer in India. Hundreds of Top Corporates like Google, CIPLA, Vodafone, McKinsey & Co., Maruti, HDFC, RIL, M&M & premier colleges like IIMs, IITs, SRCC etc go to him whenever they need a refreshing, big bang impact. Write to usWrite to us to know how he can transform your Team.

  • yash

    sir point no. 8 n 9 is not clear.can you please explain it in a better way

  • gurprataap

    Hi akash sir.. Love ur blogs specially the recent one..
    Iam due to give an interview for time institute as a verbal ability trainer.. Any tips.. My comm skills personality is top notch..

    If I had it my way I wanna be at the top post or a big post like manager or VP.. But I don’t have any teaching experience

    Any way I can foolproof my grammar quick..

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