How to use confusing prepositions

Prepositions are one of the most confusing elements of grammar.

But what are they? Prepositions are words that help express a noun or pronoun’s relation to another word or element in a clause.

Ex. Mikey was beside the pizza parlour when he ordered a slice of pepperoni and anchovy pizza.

The word “beside” is the preposition because it shows where Mikey was when he ordered his food.

Additionally, “beside the pizza parlour” is a prepositional phrase because it is the part of the clause that includes the preposition and tells where Mikey was. Prepositional phrases act as an adjective or an adverb because they give us additional information that helps us further understand the sentence.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s move onto how to use prepositions properly.

I have noticed that many new English speakers and some native speakers tend to use the wrong preposition to express what they are saying.

For instance, some of them may use the word “on” when they’re supposed to use “in.” Or they might use “above” instead of “up.”

I had this one student I was tutoring who would constantly get confused with “in,” “on,” and “at.” Every time he had to use one of these words while writing a short story or long answer, he would use the wrong word because he didn’t know the meaning or definition of each one. So, he just used them interchangeably, thinking that they were the same.

I would have to constantly remind him that the words have different meanings and each one has a different level of specificity.

But even so, he kept using the wrong word. And now that I’m thinking about it, I think the reason why he had trouble remembering the meaning of each preposition is that he talked a lot to other students and didn’t listen to me when I explained things to him. It all makes sense now!

But anyways, many confusing prepositions have different levels of specificity.

The word “in” is general. When you are trying to say something that is not specific, like “in 3 weeks,” or “in Canada,” then “in” is the word to use. If you are trying to say something more specific but not exact, use the word “on.” For example, “on Saturday” or “on Miami Beach.” If you want to say something that is exact, use “at.” For example, “At 7:05pm” or “at 111 Miami Beach Hotel.”

This is just one example of how confusing prepositions can be and why you need to make sure you are using the correct one. Because if you don’t, your sentence will not only sound funny, but your message will also not be what you are trying to say. And you don’t want that because people will be confused. But when they figure out what you were actually trying to say, they will mock you. And that, my friend, will suck.

So watch the following videos to learn how to use these other confusing prepositions properly:

…But before you do that, let me ask you a question: do you have trouble sleeping at night?

Nah, just kidding. Here’s the real question: Do you have trouble with grammar? If so, I have this easy-to-follow grammar guide for new bloggers or English learners that will help clear up the confusing parts of English grammar for you. You can click here to check it out on Amazon.

Now on to the grammar videos:

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