The Prepositions Which Need Special Notice

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There are some prepositions, which need a special attention. They should be used very carefully to convey the correct meaning.

(I) The use of 'in' and 'at':

a) 'in' is used for a place as an area. 'at' is used when we see it as a point.

  1. We lived in London last year.
  2. Our train stopped at London for lunch [Railway station]
  3. They stayed in chennai for 10 days.
  4. The ship was anchored at chennai yesterday. - (Labour)

b) 'at' is used to denote group activities, and shops/work places.

  1. We met her at the jewellery shop.
  2. There were many delegates at the conferences.
  3. We saw him at the birthday party.

c) 'in' is used with the names of streets. 'at' is used with the door number and street.

  1. We are living in st. George street.
  2. We are living at 5/163, st. George street.

d)'on' is used to denote a surface.

  1. She is sitting on a stool
  2. I saw beautiful paintings on the wall.

e) 'till' is used for time. 'to' is used for place.

  1. They were writing till the bell rang.
  2. She rode on a bicycle to the market.

f) 'with' is used for instrument. 'by' is used for agent.

  1. She cut the fruits with a knife.
  2. He was shot head by his enemy.

g) 'since' -used to denote a point of time. 'for' - used to denote a period of time.

  1. They have been practicing the game since 8 a.m.
  2. She has been singing for the past 3 hours.

[Usually in the perfect tenses]

h) 'in' - denotes a period of time - at the end of. 'within - denotes before the end of.

  1. We shall finish it in a week.
  2. I will return it within a month.

i) 'beside' denotes at/by the side of. 'besides' denotes in addition to.

  1. The child is playing beside the sleeping mother.
  2. Besides her relatives, she invited her office friends.

(II) Omission of articles:

a) 'by' is used for transport and no article a/an/the is used.

  1. They traveled by train. (not by a train)
  2. We crossed the river by boat. (not by a boat).

b) 'by' is not used with specific reference:

  1. The tourists traveled in my car. (not by my car)
  2. Sheba went to the shop on my cycle. (not by my cycle).

c) 'on' is used to mean a specific bicycle, bike, bus, train, ship, plane. 'in' used to mean specific car, taxi, van, lorry or ambulance.

  1. We shall go on the 11 o'clock bus.
  2. My friends travel in a taxi.

d) 'on' is used for foot.

  1. We will go to church on foot. - (not by foot)
  2. The stranger went to the village on foot.

Exercises:

I. Fill in the blanks with appropriate prepositions:

  1. My father gets up ______ 5.30 ________ the morning.
  2. My sister is __________ Bangalore. She lives ______ 55D, Kamaraj Street, Bangalore.
  3. He has been working here _______ 2001.
  4. We killed a snake _____ a knife.
  5. Her mother was sitting _______ her.
  6. Sheela is working _________ London and I am studying ________ India.
  7.  You have to finish it _______ 6Pm.
  8. He was attacked _______ a smuggler _____ a log.
  9. They own a theatre _______ a marriage hall.
  10. He used to go to his office _______ foot.

II. Choose the correct option:

  1. My sister is residing _______ 61/A, Gandhi Road, New Delhi. (in/at)
  2. The advocate went to the court _______ my bike. (by/on)
  3. He drew the picture _______ a pen. (with/by)
  4. The flight took off _______ 6.30 p.m. (on/at)
  5. My son is working ________ the U.S.A. (at/in)
  6. ________ being a student, she is a compare. (besides/beside)
  7. He was appointed here ______ 1998. (from/in)
  8. You should submit the record _________ a week. (with / within)
  9. She has been swimming ________ morning. (at/since)
  10. We shall wait here ________ she finishes her duty. (till/to).

Answers:

I. Fill in the blanks with appropriate prepositions:

  1. at, in
  2. in, at
  3. since
  4. with
  5. beside/by
  6. in, in
  7. before
  8. by, with
  9. besides
  10. on

II. Choose the correct option:

  1. at
  2. on
  3. with
  4. at
  5. in
  6. besides
  7. in
  8. within
  9. since
  10. till

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