Some common prepositions and their correct use

Correct usage of some common prepositions are explained in this article.


In is used with the names of countries and large towns.

  • He was born in Australia.

In and at are used to talk about things at rest; to and into are used to talk about things in motion.

  • He spent the whole day in bed.
  • She ran into the room.
  • He went to the market.
  • The snake crawled into its hole.

Till and until

The prepositions till and until show time.

  • I waited for him till / until he came.

The preposition ‘to’ shows direction.

  • The children have gone to school.

With and by

The preposition ‘with’ denotes the instrument and ‘by’ denotes the agent.

  • The snake was killed by the boy. (NOT The snake was killed with the boy.
  • The boy killed the snake with a stick. (NOT The boy killed the snake by a stick.)

Preposition at the end of the sentence

The preposition can go at the end of a clause. This usage is considered acceptable in modern English.

  • She likes being looked at.
  • This is the boy I was talking about.

When the object of the preposition is the relative pronoun ‘that’, the preposition always goes at the end.

  • This is the file that you were looking for.
  • This is the house that I live in.

When the object is an interrogative pronoun, the preposition sometimes goes at the end of the sentence.

  • What are you looking at? (More natural than ‘At what are you looking?’)