This post is going to show you how to identify and state the functions of prepositions.
Definition of preposition
The Cambridge Dictionary defines a preposition as “A word which is used before a noun, a noun phrase or a pronoun, connecting it to another word”
e.g. We jumped into the lake
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She drove slowly down the track
Technically therefore the preposition is that word which expresses a relationship between two entities be they objects, actions, movements etc.
- Some very commong propositions are: In, on, of, off, at, after, before, into, onto, for, with, to , under, behind, below, beneath etc. They are simple prepositions
- COMPLEX PREPOSITIONS
i) Adverb / preposition + preposition: e.g. He stood away from the crowd.
ii) Verb/adjectives/conjunction + proposition e.g. because of, depend on, responsible for
iii) Preposition + Noun + Preposition: e.g. by dint of, under the auspices of
Functions of prepositions
The functions of prepositions vary depending very much on the context within which they appear.
- A preposition expresses a relationship between two entities (objects actions, etc) in terms of:
The boy is standing under the tree (i.e. it expresses the relationship between the boy and the tree in terms of place)
The examination will take place on Monday
He stabbed the murderer with a dagger.
He walked in the park with his mistress.
v) Reason / purpose:
They killed him for money
- A preposition introduces a prepositional phrase.
e.g. He met her behind the house.
- A preposition may function as an adverb.
This constitutes one of the most interesting functions of prepositions.
Consider the following sentences.
E.g. Stay off. (Place)
Get inside. (Place)
The bench is outside. (Place)
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