What Are Prepositions of Direction and Movement?
Prepositions of direction and movement are used to describe the movement of a person or object from one place to another. These prepositions always describe movement and we usually use them with verbs of motion. They are especially useful when giving directions, describing a location, or providing spatial orientation.
Prepositions of Direction and Movement: Types
Based on their meaning, prepositions of direction and movement can be classified into two groups:
- Prepositions that show the destination of a movement
- Prepositions that show movement relative to something else
Look at the examples:
The manager walked
In this example, the noun after the preposition ‘into’ shows the destination which is ‘the office’.
The manager walked
In this example, the noun after the preposition 'around' doesn't show the destination. It means that ‘the manager’ was already in the office and he moved throughout the office.
The following is a list of common prepositions of movement and direction:
Across, Along, Past
'Across' shows movement from one side to the other side of something.
'Along' or 'alongside' indicate movement from one point to the other point of something in a line.
'Past' indicates a movement to the further side of something.
Pay attention to the examples:
Joe and Molly walked
When Tom runs, his pet dog runs
The bookstore is just
The police car drove right
'Around' (or 'round', especially in British English) is a preposition that shows movement in or along a curved line, not straight and not going through it.
The children ran
A big pile of clothes was on the floor so she had to walk
'Through' shows a movement into one side and out of the other side of something. For example
He got shot and the bullet went
The train went
Through vs. Across
'Through' suggests movement that passes from one side or end of an object or space to the other side or end, moving within the space. 'Across' suggests movement that goes over the surface of an object or space without necessarily moving within it.
Up and Down
'Up' shows being in or moving toward a higher position. It also means further along a street or a road.
'Down' is the opposite of 'up'. It indicates a movement to a lower position. It also means towards the direction in which you are facing.
Pay attention to the examples:
He pulled his socks
The church is just
We started running
Our school is just
'Into' is a preposition that shows a direction towards a position in or inside something. Here are some examples:
In vs. Into
The difference between 'in' and 'into' lies in the indication of movement. 'Into' is used to describe the act of going or being moved to another location, suggesting movement towards the interior of a place or object. On the other hand, 'in' is used to describe where someone or something already is, suggesting that the subject is already located within a place or object.
'Out of' is the opposite of 'into'. When we want to indicate that something or someone is coming out of a place, we use 'out of'. Let us take a look at the following examples:
Jessica is coming
In American English, it is very common to use 'outta' instead of 'out of'. Bear in mind that it is only used in informal, spoken English.
'Off' as a preposition, shows separation, removal, and disconnection. It indicates moving away from something. For example:
He bought an island
Try not to fall
'Onto' is used to express movement into or on a particular place or position.
At the interjection, turn right
'Over' as a preposition can show a movement from one side of something to the other; It is somewhat synonymous with 'across'. For example:
I watched a bird fly
When we want to talk about something or someone that is in a lower position than something else, we can use 'under'. Take a look at the following examples:
The basement is located
'Toward' (or 'towards', especially in British English) shows a movement in the direction of something. For example:
I was walking
The baby was pointing
'To' indicates a movement in the direction of something; it can be synonymous with 'toward'.
'To' and 'toward' both show direction or movement.
On my way
Normally, when we want to show the movement in the opposite direction of someone or something, we can use 'away from'. Study the following examples carefully:
Take this cockroach
As you know, prepositions of directions and movements are used to talk about how things are placed or how they move from one place to another. We gathered all of them at the table so that we can learn them easily.
|1. across||5. around||9. off||12. past|
|2. through||6. down/ up||10. onto||13. toward|
|3. along||7. into||10.over||14. to|
|4. away from||8. out of||11.under|
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Prepositions of Time
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Prepositions of Place
Prepositions allow us to talk about the relationship between two words in a sentence. Here, we will discuss the different prepositions of place in English.
Prepositions of Manner
Prepositions of Manner which is also called Prepositions of Method express how a certain thing happens or is done. In this part, we will discuss them.
Compound Prepositions or complex prepositions consist of two or more words that function as a single preposition. You'll learn about them here!