Rules For Prepositions In English Grammar With Examples

Understanding of rules for Prepositions is important for candidates appearing for competitive exams. Almost all the exams such as Bank exam, SSC exam, RRB exam, Insurance exam or any other government exam have a separate section for the English Language in both objective and descriptive paper.

Candidates must be well aware of Preposition rules so as to use different prepositions correctly in a sentence without making any grammatical error in the exam. This can help score good marks in the examination as well as improve fluency in English.  

Prepositions are used to indicate the relationship of a noun or pronoun to something. When using a preposition, it is necessary to have the subject and verb before it and should be followed by a noun. Never follow a preposition with a Verb. 

With this information let us gain familiarity with the important rules for prepositions discussed in detail in this article. 

Candidates preparing for competitive exams can check the given links for preparation:

Government Exam 2020

Sample Questions For English Section

Before understanding the important rules of prepositions, it is important to know the types of questions asked in the examination which makes it necessary to have preposition knowledge. 

Given below is a sample question asked in the English section of competitive exams for prepositions:

Direction (1-5) Read the paragraph given below and choose the correct option for the blanks from the options given for each question.

Renewable energy resources prevail ——-(1) wide geographical areas, in contrast to other energy sources, which are concentrated in a limited number of countries. Rapid deployment ——–(2) renewable energy and energy efficiency is resulting in significant energy security, climate change mitigation, and economic benefits. The results of a recent review of the literature deduced that as greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters begin to be held liable for damages resulting ——– (3) GHG emissions in climate change, a high value for liability mitigation would provide powerful incentives for deployment of renewable energy technologies. In international public opinion surveys, there is strong support for promoting renewable sources such as solar power and wind power. At the national level, at least 30 nations ——–(4) the world already has renewable energy contributing more than 20 per cent of energy supply. National renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow strongly in the coming decade and ——–(5).


  1. In
  2. Over
  3. Across

Answer (2) Over


  1. At
  2. On
  3. Of

Answer (3) Of


  1. From
  2. By
  3. After

Answer (1) From


  1. In
  2. Around
  3. Across

Answer (2) Around


  1. After
  2. More
  3. Beyond

Answer (3) Beyond

Apart from the sample given above, questions on error spotting, rearranging the sentences also forms an important part for prepositions. Knowing about the prepositions rule is imperative for questions like Reading Comprehension, Essay/Letter writing, Precis Writing etc. 

free online quiz for IBPS, SSC and other government exams

Rules For Prepositions

A preposition is a word or set of words that indicates the location or some other relation between a noun or pronoun and other parts of the sentence. The rules for preposition and their correct usage goes as under:

Preposition Rules – 1 – Preposition must have an object – a preposition is not a preposition unless it goes with a related noun or pronoun that is the object of the preposition. A preposition is always with an object  – without object, it is an adverb that never has an object. Lets us understand with examples – 

  • He is in the kitchen. (preposition ‘in’ has object the kitchen)
  • You may come in. (adverb ‘in’ has no object; it qualifies come)
  • There was a car before me. (preposition ‘before’ has object ‘me’)
  • Ram has never seen it before. (adverb ‘before’ has no object; it qualifies seen)
  • We will catch up after gym. (preposition ‘after’ has object ‘gym’)
  • They called soon after. (adverb ‘after’ has no object; it qualifies ‘called’)

Preposition Rules – 2- Must be placed before – As the name says ‘Pre-Position’ – it comes before something. Generally, but not always, a preposition goes before a noun or pronoun. Understand with the examples –

  • I put the things in the box (‘in’ is placed before the noun ‘’box’)

You may not end a sentence with a preposition is one of the undying myths of English Grammar because even when a preposition is not placed before its object, it is closely related to its object. For example – 

  • That is something he cannot agree with (preposition ‘with’ related to the pronoun ‘he’)
  • Who did you talk to? (Preposition ‘to’ related to the pronoun ‘Who’)

Aspirants of government exams can check other topics relevant from exam point of view:

Preposition Rules – 3 – The Pronoun following the Preposition should be an object form. The noun or pronoun following a preposition forms a prepositional object. If a pronoun is following a preposition it should be in the objective form ( me, her, them) and not the subjective form like (I, she, they, etc). See the example below-

  • The gift was from them (preposition ‘from’ followed by the objective pronoun ‘them’)
  • The secret is between him and her (preposition ‘between’ followed by the objective pronoun ‘him’)

Preposition Rules – 4 (A)- Avoid ‘like’ when a verb is involved. The preposition ‘like’ that means “similar to” should be followed by a noun, pronoun, noun phrase as an object of the preposition; but not by a subject and verb. For example – 

  • Correct – She looks like her mother (noun ‘mother’ is the object of the preposition ‘like’)
  • Incorrect – She looks like her mother does (avoid ‘like’ with noun + verb)

4 (B) – When there is a comparison between a subject or verb, instead of like, use as, as if, as though, or ‘the way’. Taking the same sentence as an example –

  • Incorrect – She looks like her mother does
  • Correct – She looks the way her mother does

More examples– 

  • Incorrect  – Do like he asks
  • Correct – Do as he asks
  • Incorrect – She looks like she is angry
  • Correct – She looks as if she is angry

4(C) – unless there is a verb involved do not use ‘as’. ‘as’ means “in the same manner” so avoid using preposition ‘as’ if the verb is not involved. Check the examples – 

  • Incorrect: I, as most people, try to use good words in English.
  • Correct: I, as most people do, try to use good words in English. Or I, like most people, try to use good words in English.

Candidates preparing for the various government exams can refer to the detailed syllabus in the links given below:

Preposition Rules – 5 – Do not confuse preposition ‘to’ with infinitive ‘to’. ‘To’ is an infinitive participle (to sing, to dance, etc) as well as a preposition too like (to me, to Moscow, etc.). Understand the difference between the two with the help of examples – 

‘To’ as a preposition-

  • I am used to swimming
  • I look forward to seeing you (not ‘see you’)

‘To’ as an infinitive participle –

  • I used to live in Australia
  • They love to dance.

Preposition Rules – 6 – A Verb cannot be an object of a preposition. There are words that look like verbs following the preposition ‘to’. This rule of preposition may seem confusing so let us understand with examples – 

  • I like to swim.
  • These goggles are for swimming.

In these examples, “swim” and “swimming” are not acting as verbs.

In the first example, to swim is part of the infinitive that occurs when a verb is used as a noun, adverb or an adjective. Here, to swim is a thing that the person likes doing, not an action that is being performed. 

In the second example, swimming is a gerund which is actually a noun though it is created out of a verb. Here, swimming is a thing that the goggles are for. No one in this sentence is performing the act of swimming.

Preposition Rules – 7 – Do not confuse preposition ‘In’ and ‘Into’. This rule of preposition says, use “into” to express motion toward something and reserve the preposition “in” when you want to indicate a location. See the example for clarity –

  • I swam in the pool. (Indicating location)
  • Look in the Almirah. (Indicating location)
  • The cat jumped into the well. (Expressing motion)
  • He drove into the city. (Expressing motion)

Candidates preparing for the upcoming government exams must carefully go through the concept of rules for prepositions as candidates tend to score the least in the English Language section. Also, check Previous Year Question Papers with solution PDF to understand the type of questions asked in the general awareness section of these examinations.

For any further questions or information regarding the competitive exams, check the following links:

Bank Exams 2020

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