English in Use/Prepositions, Conjunctions, and Interjections

English in Use
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A preposition is a word used to express some relation of different things or thoughts to each other, and is generally placed before a noun or a pronoun: as,

  • "The paper lies before me on the desk."

In that sentence, before is the preposition, me is the governed term of a preposition, "before me" is a prepositional phrase, and the verb lies is the prior term of a preposition. "On the desk" is the other prepositional phrase, and lies is its prior term.

To a preposition, the prior term may be a noun, an adjective, a pronoun, a verb, a participle, or an adverb; and the governed term may be a noun, a pronoun, a pronominal adjective, an infinitive verb, or a participle.

Although overlooked in common speech, prepositional phrases should not be placed at the end of a question: as,

  • "Who do I give this to?"
  • Say, "To whom do I give this?"

Prepositional phrases can be placed at the end of a sentence: as,

  • "She did not sign up for tennis."

See also: List of English prepositions

Some words are linked with their prepositions, e.g. compared with, similar to, and different from (possibly different than in USA).

Commonly used prepositions include:

  • About—In concern with; engaged in; intent on; on the point or verge of; in act of; concerning; with regard to; on account of.
  • Above—In or to a higher place; on or over; superior to; surpassing; beyond; higher in measure or degree.
  • Across—From side to side; athwart; crosswise; quite over.
  • After—Behind in place; below in rank; later in time; subsequent to; following; in search of; in pursuit of; concerning; in relation to; in imitation of; in conformity with; after the manner of; according to; in accordance with; in proportion to.
  • Against—Abreast; opposite to; facing; towards; in opposition to; counter to; in contrariety to; adverse to; by of before the time; in preparation for.
  • Along—By the length.
  • Amid(st)—In the midst or middle of; surrounded or encompassed by; among.
  • Among—Conjoined; associated with; making part of.
  • Around—On all sides of; encircling; encompassing; at random through; about; on another side of.
  • As—Similar of like. It can be used as conjunction and preposition.
  • At—Expresses the relations of presence, proximity to, nearness in place or time, age or order, state or condition, employment or action, point or position, rate or value, source, occasion, reason, consequence or effect, direction toward an object or end; occupied with.
  • Before—In front of; preceding in space, order, rank, right, worth, or time; ahead of; earlier than; previously to; anterior to; an advance of; farther onward; in presence or sight of; face to face with; under the jurisdiction of; open for; free of access to; in the power of.
  • Behind—At the back part; in the rear; toward the back part or rear; backward; out of sight; remaining.
  • Below—Under, or lower in place; beneath; inferior to; unworthy of; unbefitting.
  • Beneath—Lower in place; under; underneath; lower in rank, dignity, or excellence.
  • Beside(s)—Over and above; separate or distinct from; in addition to; other than; else than.
  • Between—In the space which separates; betwixt; from one place to another; shared by both; affecting mutual relation; with relation to two.
  • Beyond—On the further side of; further on or away than; at a place or time not yet reached; out of the reach or sphere of; further than; greater than; exceeding or surpassing.
  • During—In the time of; as long as the action or existence of.
  • Except—With exclusion of; leaving or left out; excepting.
  • For—In consideration of; in view of; with reference to; the cause, occasion, motive or inducement of; the reason of; in favor of; in promoting which; on account of which; indicating the object of an act; toward which; in the character of; instead of which; during; in or through the space or time of; in prevention of which.
  • From—Lessening or losing proximity to; leaving behind; by reason of; out of; by aid of; indicates the point of space or time at which the action or state is regarded as setting out or beginning; the source; the cause; the correlative of to.
  • In—With reference to space or place, circumstances or conditions, a whole, physical surrounding, personal states, reach, scope, movement or tendency, limit of time.
  • Into—To the inside of; expressing penetration beyond the outside or surface; indicating insertion, inclusion, or passing to another form or condition.
  • Like—Similar of as. It can be used as conjunction and preposition.
  • Of—Out from; proceeding from; belonging to; relating to; concerning; about; belonging to; connected with; indicating origin, source, descent, possession or ownership, relation of subject to attribute, material, part, source of a purpose or action, distance in space or time, identity or equivalence, agent, or passage from one state to another.
  • Off—Not on; away from.
  • On—At, to or against the surface; by means of; with; adjacent to; in addition to; besides; indicating dependence or reliance; at or in the time of; during; in consequence of; toward; for; at the peril of; for the safety of; by virtue of; with the pledge of; to the account of; in reference or relation to; occupied with; in the performance of; in the service of; connected with; of the number of; forward; onward; in continuance; without interruption or ceasing; adhering; not off; attached to the body; in progress; proceeding.
  • Over—Above, or higher than; across; from side to side of; on the whole surface of; throughout the whole extent of; superiority in excellence, dignity, condition, value or authority; across or during the time of; from beginning to end of; beyond; in excess of; in addition to; more than; across; crosswise.
  • Past—Beyond, in position, degree or time; further than; beyond the reach or influence of; above; exceeding; more than; by.
  • Through—From one end to the opposite; between the sides or walls of; by means of; by the agency of; over the whole extent of; among or in the midst of; to the end; to a conclusion; to the ultimate purpose.
  • To—Indicates motion, course, or tendency toward a limit; connects adjectives, nouns and verbs with their governed terms and contains less the idea of appropriation than for; a sign of the infinitive; extent; limit; degree of comprehension; inclusion as far as; effect; end; consequence; apposition; connection; antithesis; opposition; accord; adaptation; comparison; addition; union; accompaniment; character; condition of being.
  • Toward(s)—In the direction of; with respect or reference to; regarding; concerning; tending to; in behalf of; near; about; approaching to.
  • Under—Below or lower; lower than; beneath; denoting relation to some thing, condition or person that is superior, or to something that comprehends, includes or furnishes a cover.
  • Underneath—Under; beneath; below.
  • Until—To; unto; towards; up to; till; before.
  • With—Denotes relation of nearness, proximity, association, connection, opposition or hostility, connection of friendship, support, alliance, assistance, countenance, accomplishment of cause, means, instrument, simultaneous happening, immediate succession, consequence, possession or appendage; among; in the company of.
  • Without—On or at the outside of; out of; not within; out of the limits of; out of reach of; in absence of, separation from, or destitution of; not with use or employment of; independently of; exclusively of; with omission; unless; except.

A short syntax


A noun or a pronoun made the object of a preposition, is governed by it in the objective case, as "From whom."

Prepositions show the relations of words, and of the things or thoughts expressed by them, as "He came from Rome," except the following cases: the preposition to, as "To learn to die," and the preposition for, as "For us to learn."



A conjunction is a word used to connect words or sentences in construction, and to show the dependence of the terms so connected: as,

  • "You and he are happy, because you are good."—Murray.

Conjunctions are divided into two general classes, copulative and disjunctive; and a few of each class are particularly distinguished from the rest, as being corresponsive.

A copulative conjunction is a conjunction that denotes an addition, a cause, a consequence, or a supposition: as,

  • "He and I shall not dispute; for, if he has any choice, I shall readily grant it."

The copulatives: and, as, both, because, even, for, if, that, then, since, seeing, so.

A disjunctive conjunction is a conjunction that denotes opposition of meaning: as,

  • "Though he were dead, yet shall he live."—St. John's Gospel.
  • "Be not faithless, but believing."—Id.

The disjunctives: or, nor, either, neither, than, though, although, yet, but, except, whether, lest, unless, save, provided, notwithstanding, whereas.

The corresponsive conjunctions are those which are used in pairs, so that one refers or answers to the other: as,

  • "John came neither eating nor drinking."—Matt., xi, 18.
  • "But if I cast out devils by the spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come to you."—Ib., xii, 28.

The corresponsives: both, and; as, as; as, so; if, then; either, or; neither, nor; whether, or; though, yet; although, yet.

A short syntax


Conjunctions connect words, sentences, or parts of sentences, as "Between me and you," except the following cases: introducing a sentence, as "That you have wronged me," corresponding conjunctions, as "Neither sun nor stars," and either and neither, as "It is not dangerous neither."



An interjection is a word that is uttered to indicate a strong or sudden emotion. The following are the principal interjections, arranged according to the emotions which they are intended to indicate:

  • Of joy; yoo! hey! oi! yeah!
  • Of sorrow; oh! ah! hoo! alas! alack! lackaday! welladay! or welaway!
  • Of wonder; gotit! ha! strange! indeed!
  • Of wishing, earnestness, or vocative address; (often with a noun or pronoun in the nominative absolute;) O!
  • Of praise; well-done! good! bravo!
  • Of surprise with disapproval; whew! hoity-toity! really! no-way! what!
  • Of pain or fear; oh! ooh! ah! eh! O dear! Oh, no!
  • Of contempt; fudge! pugh! poh! pshaw! pish! tush! tut! humph! fine!
  • Of aversion; foh! faugh! fie! fy! foy!
  • Of expulsion; out! off! shoo! whew! begone! avaunt! aroynt!
  • Of calling aloud; oi! yo! dude! hollo! holla! hallo! halloo! hoy! ahoy! hey!
  • Of exultation; ah! aha! hazza! hey! heyday! harrah!
  • Of laughter; ha, ha, ha; he, he, he; te-hee, te-hee.(lol)
  • Of salutation; welcome! hail! all-hail!
  • Of calling to attention; ho! lo! la! law! look! see! behold! hark!
  • Of calling to silence; hush! hist! whist! 'st! aw! pst! shhh! zip it!
  • Of dread or horror; oh! ha! hah! what!
  • Of languor or weariness; heigh-ho! heigh-ho-hum!
  • Of stopping; hold! soft! avast! whoh! halt! stop! hold-on! calm!
  • Of parting; farewell! adieu! good-bye! good-day! see ya!
  • Of knowing or detecting; oho! ahah! ay-ay!
  • Of interrogating; eh? ha? hey? no?

A short syntax


Interjections are put absolute, either alone, or with other words, as "Ah Dennis!"