Frequently asked questions about prepositions
A preposition is used to link nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. The word or phrase that the preposition introduces is called the object of the preposition. A preposition is used to indicate the temporal, spatial or logical relationship of its object to the rest of the sentence. Here are some examples of the prepositions “at” and “in”:
Used to indicate a specific time:
- I will be there at 12 p.m.
- He reported for duty at 1300.
- My father will be here exactly at 3:30 p.m.
Used to indicate a place:
- We will meet at my house.
- There will hundreds of people at the outdoor concert.
- We went to a baseball game at the stadium.
- She is studying at Virginia State University.
- The doctor works at the hospital.
Used to indicate a destination:
- The children arrived at school.
- The waiter was at our table to take our order.
- I left the rental car at the dealership.
Used to indicate a direction:
- The dog jumped at the intruder.
- The policeman leaped at the criminal.
- The pitcher threw the baseball at third base.
Used for unspecific times during a day, or a month, or a season, or a year:
- He always drinks a cup of coffee in the morning.
- We are going to married in July.
- In the summer, we have the least amount of rain.
- We went swimming in the ocean last year.
Used to indicate, or point out, a location or place:
- The man looked in wallet and pulled out some money.
- While visiting the ocean, we stayed in a rental cottage.
- I live in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Used to indicate a shape, color, or size:
- The painting is in the style of Rembrandt.
- The soldiers stood in formation.
- My dog is very small in size.
Used to tell us the noun is completely, or partially in an enclosed space (surround or closed off on all sides):
- The cat is hiding in the box.
- The table is in the center of the room.
- I live in the city.
Used to indicate the direction of something by adding “to”:
- IN + To = into: signifies movement toward the interior of a volume.
- The frog jumped into the water.