Prepositions and the rules concerning their usage can be confusing to learners of English as a second language. Basically, prepositions are connecting words that join objects to other parts of sentences. Preposition choice is determined by the noun, verb, adjective or particle which precedes it.
Noun + Preposition Combinations
English has many examples of nouns coming after prepositions…
Adjective + Preposition Combinations
English also has many instances of prepositions coming after adjectives. In many cases, the prepositions precede phrases containing nouns, as in example (a), or pronouns, as in example (b). It is also possible for the prepositions to precede an -ing verb, as in (c).
(a) I was amazed at all the improvements.
(b) We were all shocked by his behaviour.
(c) Because the exam was more difficult than I expected, I’m worried about passing.
Here are some more adjectives and prepositions that are used together:
Verb + Preposition Combinations
Many English prepositions also follow verbs. Sometimes they introduce a phrase that contains a noun, as in example (a). They can also introduce a noun, as in example (b), or an -ing verb, as in example (c).
(a) I don’t know how long we can depend on his generosity. He has already done so much for us.
(b) Many of the town’s residents relied on neighbours for help during the flood.
(c) She believes in helping people who are less fortunate than her.
Here are some other verbs and prepositions that are used together:
Prepositions that indicate other relationships
Asking questions with prepositions