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Describing language
Describing language

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3.3 Prepositions

An image showing the words on, beside, under, below, beneath, at, from, to, etc. in relation to a patch of trees in the centre of the picture.
Figure 4 What prepositions can tell us.

Prepositions are words that indicate location or movement in physical space, mental space, or time. In other words, they tell you where (or when) something is, was, or will be. Examples include to, from, of, for, on, off, in, out, over, under, above, below, around, in front of, behind, before, after, inside, outside.

Activity 6 Add the prepositions

Timing: This activity should take around 10 minutes

Look at the sentences below. What prepositions from the list above would fill the gaps? The correct number of letters is given.

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1. Mary met John in Paris on Tuesday.

2. On Tuesday we travelled to Paris.

3. Mary drove to Paris with John.

4. John arrived at the Louvre before Mary.

5. At 5pm precisely John greeted Mary with a friendly smile at the Louvre.

6. In an instant the meeting changed from business to celebration.

The parts of these sentences that begin with a preposition are examples of what we call prepositional phrases. They usually act as a single unit and we can move them around in the sentences quite a bit:

On Tuesday Mary met John in Paris

In Paris Mary met John  on Tuesday

Mary met John on Tuesday in Paris