Prepositions are one of those confusing matters that students have always a problem with. Because there are 60 to 70 of them and they obey no rules to be memorized and used. Although, there are some definitions about them that can help us to memorize them and make them easier to remember.
Prepositions are short words (on, in, to) that usually stand in front of nouns (sometimes also in front of gerund verbs).
They may have different meanings in different situations even in your own language.
The only way to learn prepositions is looking them up in a dictionary, reading a lot in English (literature) and learning useful phrases off by heart.
To make it easier let’s divide them into time-place and others.
On- days of the week: I go to English classes on Monday.
In- months/seasons: She was born in winter./ My birthday is in May.
time of day: He goes to the gym in the afternoon.
Year: They moved next to us in 2007.
After a certain period of time (when?): I’ll see you in an hour.
At- for night: I usually don’t eat at night.
for weekend: We have invited our friends over at weekend.
A certain point of time (when?): She gets up at 7 in the morning.
Since- from a certain point of time: I’ve worked in this company since 2000.
For- over a certain period of time: He’s been working here for 5 years.
Ago- a certain time in the past: We met each other 3 years ago.
Before- earlier than a certain point of time: Alice got home before her husband.
To- telling the time: Your working hours are 9 to 5.
Past- telling the time: It’s half past eleven.
To/till/until- marking the beginning and end of a period of time: I work from Saturday to/till Friday.
By- in the sense of at the latest: Come back by 11 o’clock.
up to a certain time: By the time she got there, the bus had already left.
Prepositions: (position and direction)
In- room, building, street, town, country: She lives in Green Valley.
Book, paper etc.: I read it in the book you gave me.
car, taxi: When you called me I was in a taxi.
Picture, world: You look great in the picture.
At- meaning next to, by an object: She looked at the clock on the wall to see the time.
for table:Put the glass at the table please.
for events: I gave him my telephone number at the party.
a place where you are to do something typical (watch a film, study, work): let’s meet each other at the cinema.
On- attached: Look at that picture on the wall!
for a place with a river: London lies on the Thames.
being on a surface: Don’t put your feet on the table.
for a certain side (left, right): Turn right on the corner, please.
for a floor in a house: Her room is on the first floor.
for public transport: She left her bag on the bus.
for television, radio: There’s a great show tonight on TV.
To be continued…