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60 Useful Prepositions (Yes, 60!) and How to Use Them for Better English Fluency

Prepositions are a major part of English because they allow us to add a noun or a noun phrase to an existing clause. The preposition also helps give meaning to the noun/noun phrase that is being added. Is it an exception, like when we use "except for"? It is a topic, like when we use "regarding"? Is it something being substituted out, like when we use "instead of"?

This lesson will help you learn a wide range of prepositions with different meanings, as well as synonyms that have the same meaning as each other, and how to use these prepositions correctly to boost your English fluency.

Before learning the vocabulary, it's important to note that a preposition (so all of the words in this lesson) can only connect to a noun or noun phrases. There are typically 3 ways to have a noun or noun phrase:

  1. One noun or a group of nouns combined with prepositions (ex. "I have a question regarding the instructions on the first page of the test")

  2. A gerund (ex. "he did a good job despite having little time to prepare")

  3. A noun clause ("you have to attend the meeting regardless of how busy you are)

The List of Prepositions

about / regarding / concerning / with regard to / with respect to / as for / when it comes to

These prepositions tell us a topic that the main clause is related to

  • We’ve had many problems regarding employees giving the wrong information to customers

because of / due to / owing to / on account of / as a result of / thanks to

These prepositions tell us a reason for something

  • There were major traffic delays owing to the main street being closed for construction

despite / in spite of

These prepositions tell us a point that contrasts the main clause

  • He got the job despite having less experienced than other candidates

besides / alongside / along with / on top of / in addition to / as well as

These prepositions tell us that this is not the only point (the main clause is additional information)

  • On top of owning a large house and two luxury cars, they have a private yacht.

beyond / above / over and above / more than

These prepositions tell us that there is something more meaningful in the main clause

  • We did many practical exercises at the seminar beyond listening to the speakers’ PowerPoint presentations.

apart from / aside from / other than / besides / with the exception of / with the exclusion of / except for

These prepositions tell us an exception to the statement in the main clause

  • I always enjoy camping apart from mosquitos trying to bite me all the time.

instead of / in place of / in lieu of / rather than / as opposed to

These prepositions tell us something that can be substituted out for the option in the main clause

  • You can apply for a visa online as opposed to visiting a service location for one.

barring / save for / outside of / short of

These prepositions tell us one condition that could make the main clause statement untrue

  • Our flight will arrive at 3pm barring any unexpected delays occurring.

following / subsequent to / in the wake of (after)

These prepositions tell us something that happened earlier than the main clause

  • She was hospitalized following her suffering a stroke.

prior to / ahead of / in advance of (before)

These prepositions tell us something that happened later than the main clause

  • All passengers must be seated prior to the airplane taking off.

in light of / in view of / given / taking into account / considering / in consideration of

These prepositions tell us something that gives more context to the main clause

  • We’ll have to look for an alternative route in light of the main road being closed for construction.

regardless of / irrespective of / no matter

These prepositions tell us something that does not matter or does not affect an outcome

  • I’m going to reject the job offer regardless of the salary because I don’t like the company.

in accordance with / in keeping with / in line with / as per

These prepositions tell us guidelines, rules, agreements, expectations etc. that the main clause follows

  • The client will pay the shipping fee in keeping with the purchase agreement.

Prepositions are just one part of the grammar essentials that you'll need to communicate successfully in English. My book, Grammar Essentials will teach you critical lessons (including prepositions) to help you truly understand English and interact more fluently. Learn 50 lessons including all of the tenses, conditionals, adjective and noun clauses, comparatives and superlatives and much more!



Practice

Task #1: Fix the mistakes related to the idea that prepositions must connect with nouns/noun phrases:

  1. We need to save some money before to buy an apartment.

  2. His complaint was related to he had to pay a cleaning fee of $25.

  3. I don’t have a problem with people ask questions during my presentation.

  4. Management is aware of John has been offered a job at a competitor.

  5. It’s hard to make decisions with the team as opposed to can make the decision by myself.

Task #2: Replace the underlined word with the most suitable synonym provided:

 in light of / in spite of / over and above / with respect to / in lieu of / barring

  1. The company  will subsidize the cost of education instead of employees paying for it themselves.

  2. We expect the President to win the next election short of an unforeseen scandal taking place.

  3. There were some questions at the press conference about the CEO resigning.

  4. Given the rising inflation rate, the government has decided to cut interest rates again.

  5. I attended my friend’s wedding despite it being on a Wednesday afternoon.

  6. More than the author explaining theoretical aspects, the book includes many practical applications.

in advance of / on account of / aside from / alongside / no matter / in keeping with

  1. She is a mother of three children as well as her working full-time as a lawyer.

  2. Other than having to wait an hour for a table, our experience at the restaurant was a good one.

  3. In accordance with the company focusing on cost-cutting, the travel budget has been reduced.

  4. We’d like to meet one more time prior to the agreement being signed.

  5. We take every project seriously regardless of the size of the job.

  6. He didn’t want to eat any of the meal due to it containing gluten.

Answers

Task #1:

  1. We need to save some money before buying an apartment.

  2. His complaint was related to (him) having to pay a cleaning fee of $25.

  3. I don’t have a problem with people asking questions during my presentation.

  4. Management is aware of John having been offered a job at a competitor.

  5. It’s hard to make decisions with the team as opposed to being able to make the decision by myself.

Task #2:

in light of/ in spite of / over and above / with respect to / in lieu of / barring

  1. The company  will subsidize the cost of education in lieu of employees paying for it themselves.

  2. We expect the President to win the next election barring an unforeseen scandal taking place.

  3. There were some questions at the press conference with respect to the CEO resigning.

  4. In light of the rising inflation rate, the government has decided to cut interest rates again.

  5. I attended my friend’s wedding in spite of it being on a Wednesday afternoon.

  6. Over and above the author explaining theoretical aspects, the book includes many practical applications.

in advance of / on account of / aside from / alongside / no matter / in keeping with

  1. She is a mother of three children alongside her working full-time as a lawyer.

  2. Aside from having to wait an hour for a table, our experience at the restaurant was a good one.

  3. In keeping with the company focusing on cost-cutting, the travel budget has been reduced.

  4. We’d like to meet one more time in advance of the agreement being signed.

  5. We take every project seriously no matter of the size of the job.

  6. He didn’t want to eat any of the meal on account of it containing gluten.


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