What is a Preposition?
A preposition is a word or phrase typically placed before a noun and indicates the relation of that noun to a verb, adjective, or other noun.
Richard Lanham’s “Paramedic Method” consists of six steps to create clear and concise copy. The first step is to find and eradicate unnecessary prepositions. But, if you don’t know how to spot a preposition, how can you eradicate it?
Mrs. Moore, my third-grade teacher, taught me to identify most prepositions by asking the question, “Can a cat do it to a box?” For example, a cat can go over, by, beyond, behind, around and through a box. This is a quick and easy way to single out most prepositions, but it doesn’t work every time. A cat can’t go like, subsequent to, or aside from a box, but these are all prepositions. To assist you, I’ve put together a list of the most common prepositions in English.
Four Types of Prepositions:
Combined One-Syllable Prepositions
Combined Word Prepositions
17 One-Syllable Prepositions:
21 Two-Syllable Prepositions:
6 Combined One-Syllable Prepositions:
6 Combined-Word Prepositions:
||on account of
||by means of
|in front of
For those of you that a picture speaks a thousand words, check out the article on the Visual Representation of Prepositions.
Return to Main Writing Tips Resource Page