Prepositions of Place for intermediate learners

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 Place" in English Grammar

What Are Prepositions of Place?

Prepositions of place are used to describe the location of a noun or pronoun in relation to other objects or places.

Prepositions of Place: Types

Based on their meaning and usage, prepositions of place are categorized into five groups listed below:

  • Prepositions used to show Location (on, at, in)
  • Prepositions used to show Position (above, over, below, under, on, beneath)
  • Prepositions used to show Distance (near, beside, next to, by, beyond)
  • Prepositions used to show Direction (up, down, in front of, behind)
  • Prepositions used for Enclosed Areas (in, within, inside, outside)

In this lesson, we are going to get to know three of them.

Prepositions Used to Show Location

'On', 'at', and 'in' are very common among native speakers. They are simply used to indicate the location of something or someone. Let us discuss each one separately:


'On' is a preposition of both time and place. It is typically used as a preposition of place to refer to a floor in a building, public transport, rivers, lakes, streets, or something physically attached to a surface. Take a look at the following examples:

She is waiting for you on Apple Street.

Mr. Hedwig's office is on the second floor.

There are many pictures of rock and metal bands on the walls of that café.


'At' is used to indicate specific places and locations such as addresses, events, public places, and some buildings like institutions and organizations. Let us take a look at the following examples:

She's standing at the door.

Can you meet me at the doctor's office?

I'll see you at Rick's party.


When we want to talk about a specific area within a larger space, we use 'in'. Let us take a look at some examples:

Mike is in his bedroom right now.

I said we can talk in the car.

Prepositions Used to Show Distance

'Near', 'beside', 'next to', 'by', and 'beyond' are frequently used to indicate how close someone or something is to another. These prepositions are also called prepositions of proximity. Let us look at some examples below:

I'm standing right next to the entrance, mom!

Would you please sit beside me?


Keep in mind that 'beside' and 'next to' both emphasize the closeness of something or someone more strongly than 'by'.


Beyond is used to refer to something or someone that is far off. Study the following examples:

We drove a bit beyond the station to see the beach.


Beyond can also mean that something is not in our control or power. Take a look at the following example:

Such projects are far beyond the country's budget.

Here, beyond is used to indicate that something cannot be done.

Prepositions Used to Show Direction

When we want to refer to different directions, we use prepositions like 'up', 'down', 'in front of', and 'behind'. Let us examine each below:


We can use these two prepositions to talk about the position of something relative to something else. 'Up' is used when the object is in a higher position whereas, 'down' is used when the object is in a lower position. Let us study some examples below:

The mansion is located on the hill up there.

You can find a cheap restaurant down this road.

In Front of/Behind

When we want to refer to the front or backside of something or someone, we can use these two prepositions. 'In front of' is used to refer to something facing another, and 'behind' is used when something is on the back of another. Take a look at the following examples:

How dare you stand right in front of me!

The blue truck is behind the red van.


There are some other prepositions that we can use to show direction, such as 'after', 'before', and 'opposite'. 'After' indicates that one object is located further along in a sequence than another object, while 'before' indicates the opposite. 'Opposite' indicates that two objects or places are facing each other. Take a look at the following example:

Turn left after the gas station.

They're sitting opposite each other.


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