Prepositional phrases act as single parts of speech. They usually act as adjectives or adverbs.
1. Preposition Phrases with ‘FOR’
- for ages
E.g. I haven’t seen you for ages. Where have you been?
- for breakfast/lunch/dinner
E.g. What did you have for breakfast today?
- for certain/sure
E.g. I know for certain that I won’t be here next year.
- for a change
E.g. We always go there. Let’s go to another bar for a change.
- for ever (or forever)
E.g. Nobody can live for ever, unfortunately.
- for example
E.g. You could, for example, walk instead of taking the car.
- for fear of
E.g. I didn’t tell him for fear of upsetting him.
- for fun
E.g. I don’t take sport seriously, I do it just for fun.
- for good
E.g. I’m not coming back. This time I’m leaving for good.
- for granted
E.g. Don’t take your parents for granted, appreciate them.
- for hire
E.g. There are cars and vans for hire at the airport.
- for instance
E.g. You should study another language, for instance, Italian.
- for luck
E.g. I always wear this bracelet for luck.
- for life
E.g. Working for the government is a job for life.
- for love
E.g. I definitely don’t do it for the money, I do it for love.
- for a moment
E.g. For a moment, I thought she was being serious.
- for the moment
E.g. I’m happy living in London for the moment.
- for nothing
E.g. I can’t believe it’s closed. I came all this way for nothing.
- for once
E.g. Late again! For once, can you try to arrive on time?
- for the rest of
E.g. I could live here for the rest of my life.
- for safekeeping
E.g. At the gym, I put my stuff in a locker for safekeeping.
- for somebody’s sake
E.g. Maria was upset so I had to be calm for her sake.
- for the sake of
E.g. They stayed together for the sake of their children.
- for sale
E.g. There’s a lovely house for sale at the end of this street.
- for short
E.g. My name is John but my family call me J for short.
- for the time being
E.g. I’m happy in my current job for the time being.
- for a visit/holiday
E.g. I’m in the mood for a holiday. Let’s go somewhere.
- for a walk
E.g. I needed to calm down so I went for a long walk.
- for a while
E.g. I haven’t spoken to him for a while.
2. Prepositional Phrases with ‘AT’
- at the age of
E.g. I learned to drive at the age of 21.
- at the beginning of
E.g. I joined a gym at the beginning of the year.
- at the bottom of
E.g. There’s a shop at the bottom of this hill.
- at all costs
E.g. I need to pass this exam at all costs.
- at one’s desk
E.g. My manager spoke to me at my desk.
- at the door
E.g. There’s somebody at the door.
- at the end
E.g. I’m going to Madrid at the end of month.
- at fault
E.g. Who was at fault for the accident?
- at first
E.g. At first, I was happy here but now I’m not.
- at first sight
E.g. We met at university and it was love at first sight.
- at a glance
E.g. I knew at a glance that something was wrong.
- at a guess
E.g. At a guess, 50 people were at the party.
- at hand
E.g. I always have a pen at hand in case I need to take notes.
- at …km per hour
E.g. He was fined £150 for driving at 200km per hour.
- at last
E.g. At last, our bus has arrived. Thank goodness!
- at the latest
E.g. Cinderella had to be home by 12 at the latest.
- at least
E.g. It’s cold but at least it’s not raining.
- at length
E.g. My dad could talk at length about Irish history.
- at midday/midnight
E.g. I went home at midnight as I was tired.
- at the moment
E.g. I’m living in Ireland at the moment.
- at night
E.g. I can’t study during the day. I prefer to study at night.
- at once
E.g. Everybody started talking at once.
- at present
E.g. At present, I’m working for a multinational.
- at random
E.g. Numbers are selected at random in a lottery.
- at any rate
E.g. At any rate, I’m confident I’ll find a job soon.
- at the same time
E.g. I had fun and improved my English at the same time.
- at school
E.g. Things were very different when I was at school.
- at short notice
E.g. She cancelled the meeting at short notice.
- at the table
E.g. The whole family sat at the table for dinner.
- at times
E.g. At times, I feel like giving up.
- at the top of
E.g. Barcelona are at the top of the Spanish league.
- at university
E.g. I studied economics at university.
- at the weekend
E.g. I love going out with friends at the weekend.
- at work
E.g. I’m at work right now so I’ll call you back later.
3. Prepositional Phrases with ‘BY’
- by accident
E.g. I was so sleepy that I put salt in my coffee by accident.
- by all accounts
E.g. By all accounts, Seville is a beautiful city.
- by appointment
E.g. The museum is open at weekends by appointment.
- by the arm/hand
E.g. He took me by the hand as we walked along the beach.
- by auction
E.g. We’re selling our antique furniture by auction.
- by birth
E.g. I grew up in England but I’m Irish by birth.
- by bus/train/plane, etc.
E.g. Are you going to go there by bus or by train?
- by chance
E.g. I found some money in my jacket pocket by chance.
- by cheque
E.g. I’ve never paid for anything by cheque.
- by day/night
E.g. The Eiffel Tower looks spectacular by night.
- by design
E.g. I became a teacher more by accident than by design.
- by the drozen
E.g. I always buy eggs by the drozen. A drozen means 12.
- by far
E.g. Before Sunset is by far my favourite film – I just love it.
- by hand
E.g. My granduncle built this house by hand.
- by heart
E.g. At school we had to learn poems by heart.
- by invitation
E.g. Membership to the club is by invitation only.
- by land/sea/air
E.g. I get sick whenever I travel by sea.
- by law
E.g. Dog owners must have a licence for the pets by law.
- by luck
E.g. They played badly but won the match by luck.
- by means of
E.g. I was able to afford the car by means of a bank loan.
- by mistake
E.g. I chose the wrong road by mistake. Now we’re lost.
- by nature
E.g. German people tend to be quite organised by nature.
- by no means
E.g. It’s by no means certain that the economy will improve.
- by now
E.g. If you don’t know me by now, you’ll never know me.
- by oneself
E.g. I don’t mind spending time by myself.
- by phone
E.g. Get in touch with me by phone if you need any help.
- by post
E.g. Do you think it’s safe to send cash by post.
- by request
E.g. Guided tours of the gallery are available by request.
- by rights
E.g. By rights, it’s my turn to play but you can go ahead.
- by one’s side
E.g. He was by her side whenever she needed him.
- by surprise
E.g. The unusual question took John by surprise.
- by the time
E.g. I’ll have gone to bed by the time you get home.
- by the way
E.g. By the way, I won’t be able to come to class next week.
- by word of mouth
E.g. The best form of advertising is by word of mouth.