English Preposition Rule
There is one very simple rule about prepositions. And, unlike most rules, this rule has no exceptions.
A preposition is followed by a "noun". It is never followed by a verb.
By "noun" we include:
- noun (dog, money, love)
- proper noun (name) (Bangkok, Mary)
- pronoun (you, him, us)
- noun group (my first job)
- gerund (swimming)
A preposition cannot be followed by a verb. If we want to follow a preposition by a verb, we must use the "-ing" form which is really a gerund or verb in noun form.
Quick Quiz: In the following sentences, why is "to" followed by a verb? That should be impossible, according to the above rule:
- I would like to go now.
- She used to smoke.
Here are some examples:
|Subject + verb||preposition||"noun"|
|The food is||on||the table.|
|Tara is looking||for||you.|
|The letter is||under||your blue book.|
|Pascal is used||to||English people.|
|She isn't used||to||working.|
Answer to Quick Quiz: In these sentences, "to" is not a preposition. It is part of the infinitive ("to go", "to smoke").
For a full list of 150 prepositions, including one-word and complex prepositions, with 370 example sentences, download the free EnglishClub e-book English Prepositions Listed.