Learning English Online: Tips on Mastering Prepositions

Grammar has always been a huge concern for students who are learning English online. One of the trickiest aspects that many learners find challenging is using prepositions correctly. 

Many of those who are taking an English course online find using prepositions confusing because these words don’t have a solid definition, unlike nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. Moreover, most of them could sound correct in different sentences, making it more difficult to distinguish the correct preposition to use appropriately. However, using the wrong preposition could change the meaning of your sentences completely.

There are 150 different prepositions in English, but only 70 are used more commonly. Let’s take a closer look at prepositions and how we can master them.

What are prepositions?

Prepositions are words that express the relationship between the noun and another phrase in the sentence. Prepositions appear before a noun or pronoun and do not have a function on their own, as they need an object (object of the preposition) for them to make sense in the sentence.

There are three different types of prepositions: time, place, and directions. Time prepositions denote the time of action, while place prepositions are used to specify the position of an object. Meanwhile, direction prepositions are for clarifying the direction of an object.

Examples of commonly used prepositions are:  to, of, in, for, on, with, at, by, from.

Mastering Prepositions

Learning prepositions does not have to be tricky. Online resources and study guides are readily available for those who wish to practice using them correctly.

Here are some other valuable tips to guide you as you master prepositions:

1. Avoid translation

Online English learners fall into the trap of translating expressions from their native language to English, word-for-word. In the case of prepositions, this approach does not always work simply because they are function words. The definition of function words would vary from one sentence to another, as they don’t contain an actual meaning.

2. Learn in chunks

One of the reasons why children quickly learn a new language is because they learn in chunks. They pick up sentences and utterances rather than memorising syntax and grammar rules. For that reason, one effective way of learning about prepositions is through learning different phrases and full expressions. Online English courses also encourage students to learn the language in full expressions rather than rules.

Take this as an example: My meeting is on Friday.

You can take this sentence as a ‘template’ to specify the day of an event that would take place, such as ‘The party is on Tuesday’.

3. Familiarise yourself

As mentioned earlier, there are 150 different prepositions, and 70 are the most used. While we don’t need to memorise how each preposition is used, it wouldn’t hurt to go over these prepositions and their functions. Look for online grammar guides to learn more about them.

4. Learn according to their function

Another way to master prepositions is to learn them according to their function. As previously stated, there are three kinds of prepositions – time, place, and directions. Try to know their functions and practice them according to their tasks to be easier for you to remember and use them appropriately.

5. Remember the golden rule

Lastly, always keep in mind the golden rule of prepositions: They have an object. Usually, the preposition precedes the object. But they can also be near the object. 

Ace English grammar with Anglia Education

We all know that grammar can get challenging to master for many learners of English. Anglia Education offers online AI-powered courses that can help you ace English grammar and apply them in your communication. Anglia Education has English courses for business English and general English for all levels – from beginners to advanced.

Master prepositions and other aspects of English grammar with Anglia Education.


Learn more English tips online here.



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