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Prepositions of Direction

Prepositions of direction give readers a sense of place or location. The following chart lists different prepositions of direction, their definitions, and examples.

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Preposition Meaning Example
above higher relative to something else The milk is above the soda in the refrigerator.
across on the other side of My friend lives across the street from me.
along beside The ducks are eating along the river.
among within a group The girl was sitting among her friends.
around in a circular way They told stories around the campfire.
at indicates a particular point Meet me at the stop sign.
behind at the back of The employees parked behind the store.
below lower relative to something else I hung the poster below the mirror.
beside next to Come stand beside me.
close to near The flowers are close to the produce section.
over above The spices are over the sink.
through from one point to the next The river runs through the woods.
toward in the direction of The man started walking toward the exit.
up from low to high The store is right up the road.
down from high to low The boy tumbled down the hill.
between in the space separating two things The ring fell between the couch cushions.
by near The thrift store is by the church.
inside/in within Have you ever been inside an abandoned building?
near close by The movie theater is by the interstate.
next to beside The library is next to the post office.
on touching something Put the mail on the table.
onto moving on top of something The dog climbed onto the bed.
off away from Don’t jump off that wall.
past on the farther side of She drove right past the house.
under below something The cat slept under the bed.

Some prepositions are trickier than others. For example, it’s not so logical to be on a bus or a train or a plane rather than in one, yet that’s the way we say it. While you are on the plane (i.e., inside the plane), there is also a logo on the plane, and two wings on the plane, though they’re not inside with you. When in doubt about how to use a specific preposition, look up the proper term in a dictionary.

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