Saturday, February 9, 2019

Prepositions, How to use Prepositions.



The students have the main problems with prepositions. They have to know – (a) whether in a conjunction a preposition is required or not, and (b) which preposition to use when required. The students will need to acquire the knowledge of both these skills by sheer practice, for very few prepositions are governed by general rules. First, let us discuss those prepositions which follow certain specific conventions of usage :



(a) Time and Date :

at, on, by, before, in

at down                at midnight 

at six                     at 4:30        

at sixteen              at the age of seventeen

on Monday          at night (exception)

On the morning/afternoon/evening/night of a certain   date

We arrived on the morning of the sixth at 9.30 a.m.

(b) by, before :

by a time/date period: at that time/ before/ not later than that date

You had better be at the station by 6.00 p.m.

By the end of July, my results will have been declared.

(c) on time, in time, in good time

on time: at a time arranged, not before, not after.

The 8.15 train started on time.

in time = not late

Passengers should be in  time for their train

in good time = with a comfortable margin

I arrived at the theater for a good time.

(d) at the beginning/end, in  the beginning,/end, at first/ last :

At the beginning of a book, often there is a forward (literally at the beginning)

In the end, there may be an index.

In the beginning/ At first = In the early stages. It implies that later there was a change :

In the beginning, we used hand tools, later we had machines.

In the end/ At last = eventually/ after some time :

At first he opposed marriage, but in the end, he gave his consent.

(e) Time: from, since, for, during

i. from, since and for :
 ‘from’ is usually used with to or till/ unit. For example :

Most people work from nine to five.

‘Since’ is used for time and means from that time to the time referred to. It is used with perfect tense.

He has been here since Monday. (It means from Monday till now)

He wondered where Nina was. He had not seen her since their quarrel.

ii.  During and for :
‘For’ is used for a period of time :

for six years, for two months, forever

Bake it for two hours.

He traveled in the desert for six weeks

‘During’ is used with known periods of time :

during the Middle Ages  ®  during the summer of that year

during Christmas ® during May holidays.

For indicating purpose may be used before known periods :

I rented a house for my holidays.

(f) Travel and Movement :

from, to, at, in, by, on, into, onto, off, out, out of

i. We travel ‘from’ our starting place ‘to’ our destination :
They flew/drove/cycled/walked from Delhi to Chandigarh.

When are you coming back to Bombay?

ii. arrive at/in, get to, reach (without preposition):
They arrived in India in March.

I arrived at the airport/ at the hotel/ at the bridge.

I got to the station just in time.

What time does the train arrive?

They reached the top of the mountain before sunrise.

iii. home (without preposition) :
They went home by bus. 

She returned to her parent’s home.

iv. by, on, get in, into, on, onto, off, out of :
We can travel by car/ sea/ air/ bus/ train. (But in the/ my/ Raj’s car)

We get into/ onto a bus.              

We go on board a boat.

We get on/onto a horse/ camel/ bicycle.

We get off a bus.

v. get in/ into/ out/ out of :
You have no keys. How are we going to get into the flat?

It is difficult to get into a college nowadays.

(g) at, in; in, into; on, onto :

i. at, in :
We can be at home/ work/ the office/ school/ university/ an address.

We can be in a country/ town street/ room/ wood/ field/ desert or ant place which has boundaries or is enclosed.

We can be ‘in’ or ‘at’ the sea, a river, a lake, a swimming pool, etc.

‘in’ here means actually in the water.

The children are swimming in the water.

At the sea/ river/ lake etc.., means near/ beside the sea. But at sea means on a ship.

ii.   in, into : In normally indicates position, into indicates  movement.
They climbed into the lorry. Thieves broke into my house.

iii. On, onto, upon can be used for both, position and movement :
He was sitting on his case.

His name is on the door

The cat jumped up on the table.

People climbed onto their roofs.

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