There are somewhere between 85 to 150 prepositions in the English language, depending on who is listing them.

Here is a sample of several lists of prepositions that are available on the WWW:

http://www.englishclub.net/grammar/prepositions/list.shtml

http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/preposition_list.htm

http://teenwriting.about.com/library/weekly/aa011600c.htm

http://www.lbcc.cc.or.us/dev-studies/quickc/prep.html

 

Just an aside: The prepositions OFF, TO, and IN are among the ten most frequently used words in the English language.

 

The most frequently used prepositions are: http://www.hhs.helena.k12.mt.us/Students/OconnorJean/Clark/tsld003.htm

about

above

across

after

against

along

behind

below

beneath

beside

besides

between

down

during

except

for

from

in

off

on

onto

opposite

out

outside

till

to

toward

under

underneath

until

 

The most frequently used compound prepositions are:

according to

as of

because of

in place of

instead of

next to

out of

prior to

 

THE DEVELOPMENTAL ORDER

The most common meanings expressed with prepositions are listed below. Children develop the comprehension/production in this approximate order:

 

THE TRICK

Prepositions take their meaning from the phrase or sentence in which they are used. A single preposition may communicate more than one meaning depending on how it it used. For example:

"The clock is over the chalkboard". In this example "over" communicates a spatial location. Where as in, "The bird flew over the tree", the same preposition, "over", communicates direction in space.

When teaching prepositions, be sure to maintain the meaning you wish to communicate with the phrase or sentence, and use whatever preposition is appropriate.

 

PREPOSITIONS OF LOCATION

The first prepositions learned communicate spatial location.

The child must understand he/she is going to identify locations of things. Often, the answer to where questions contains a location preposition. Obviously, a child must possess the WH question form, if you are going to use it as a probe question to elicit a location preposition in his/her response.

Frequently used prepositions which express location relationships are: ABOVE, BELOW, OVER, IN, ON, UNDER, UNDERNEATH and AT. Remember, however, that many other prepositions can communicate the notion of spatial location.

Look at the following web sites for examples of exercises to teach these prepositions:

http://isu.indstate.edu/writing/esl/setvi/prints/SETVI4AP.html Twenty five fill in the blank questions for the prepositions IN, ON, and/or AT

http://isu.indstate.edu/writing/esl/setvi/prints/SETVI4CP.html The first five fill in the blank questions on this quiz call for prepositions which communicate location. The next ten fill in the blank questions use prepositions which communicate temporal notions.

http://isu.indstate.edu/writing/esl/setvi/prints/SETVI4DP.html Sixteen fill in the blank questions testing the concept of prepositions of place (location)

http://rwc.hunter.cuny.edu/writing/on-line/preptime.html The second set of twenty one fill in the blank questions at this web site require the child to produce both location and spatial relationship prepositions.

http://www.angelfire.com/on/topfen/testsprepplace3.html Ten fill in the blank questions testing /in/, /on/, and /at/ expressing location notions. The child types in the correct answer and gets graded on percent correct. Correct answers are shown after session is graded.

http://www.angelfire.com/on/topfen/testsprepplace3.html Ten fill in the blank questions. The site scores the quiz and gives feedback.

http://esl.about.com/library/quiz/blgrquiz_prep1.htm Easy level. Fifteen fill in the blank questions testing { in / at / on } - prepositions of place

http://www.colby.edu/~bknelson/exercises/prepositions.html SPANISH - This is a cool little site. The program displays an environmentally relevant picture and asks the student to complete a dozen statements about the picture. Students are required to generate the correct preposition to where questions.

http://www.eslpartyland.com/quiz center/preploc.htm 10 multiple choice questions which all require a preposition expressing the notion of location as the correct answer.

 

PREPOSITIONS OF SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS

The second prepositions learned communicate spatial relationships.

The child must understand he/she is going to identify the relationship between two or more objects. The child has to identify the objects and then understand their relationships to one another.

Common prepositions used to communicate spatial relationships are: AMONG, BETWEEN, BESIDE, IN FRONT OF, BEHIND, NEXT TO, WITH, and IN THE MIDDLE OF.

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/esl/eslprep3.html This web site contains wonderful graphic representations of spatial relationships and the prepositions that are used to express them.

http://rwc.hunter.cuny.edu/writing/on-line/preptime.html The second set of twenty one fill in the blank questions at this web site require the child to produce both location and spatial relationship prepositions.

 

PREPOSITIONS OF DIRECTION

The third prepositions learned communicate direction

The child must understand he/she is going to identify the direction some object is moving in space.

The basic preposition of direction is "to".

"To" signifies orientation toward a goal. When the goal is physical, such as a destination, "to" implies movement in the direction of the goal.

"Toward" suggests movement in a general direction, without necessarily arriving at a destination.

"Into": signifies movement toward the interior of a volume

"Onto" signifies movement toward a surface.

"By" signifies someone or something moving past without stopping

"Over" signifies someone or something moving across the surface from one side towards the other.

"Under"signifies something moving from one side to the other by passing below it.

"Past" signifies moving in a direction so as to pass by

 

Other commonly used prepositions of direction are: AT, FROM, ON, OFF, and OUT OF.

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/esl/eslprep.html This is a complete lesson for teaching the prepositions of direction. Very detailed and is best used by teaching parts of it over time. Good for older students.

http://vlc.polyu.edu.hk/GrammarCourse/Lesson2_Preposition/passage.htm Explains prepositions used to communicate direction. This web site offers pleasant music to accompany your study of prepositions.

http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/quizzes/preposition_quiz2.htm For use with high school students. Students must recognize prepositions of direction in a paragraph about Ernest Hemingway. Answers are provided.

 

 

PREPOSITIONS OF TIME

The fourth prepositions learned communicate temporal notions.

The child must understand he/she is going to identify the time frame that is being expressed.

Commonly used prepositions used to communicate temporal notions are: AT, ON, BY, BEFORE, FROM, SINCE, FOR, DURING, TO, UNTIL, and AFTER.

To express extended time, English uses the following prepositions: since, for, by, from—to, from-until, during,(with)in.

"On" is used with days, such as, • on Monday • on Sunday.

"At" is used with noon, night, midnight, and with the time of day, such as, • at noon • at 6 p.m.

"In" is used with other parts of the day, with months, with years, with seasons, such as, • in the afternoon • in August • in 1999 • in spring.

"For" can be used to express how long or duration.

"Between" can be use to express from the beginning to the end of a period, the action can be taking place several times / continuously during.

"From...To" can be used to express reference to the beginning and ending.

"Before" can be used to express something happening earlier than a particular time or event.

"After" can be used to express something happening later than a particular time or event.

"From" can be used to express reference to the beginning of a period of time.

"Till/Until" can be used to express something happening and then ending at a particular time.

"Beyond" can be used to express point of time after a particular period or date has passed.

"Since" can be used to express something happening at some time or continuously after a particular time or event.

 

http://isu.indstate.edu/writing/esl/setvi/prints/SETVI4EP.html Eighteen fill in the blank questions which test the prepositions which communicate temporal concepts.

http://rwc.hunter.cuny.edu/writing/on-line/preptime.html Twenty-one fill in the blank questions which test the prepositions which communicate temporal concepts.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/Lessons/Vered-TimePrepositions/ This site concentrates on the prepositions /in/, /on/, and /at/ as they are used to communicate notions of time. This is a lesson plan which could be used with a group of children or in a classroom.

http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/studyzone/200/grammar/prepo1.htm More /on/, /in/, and /at/ prepositions expressing time concepts. This is a fill in the blank test. The program gives hints before you answer, if you want them. The program also corrects your answers and gives you a percentage score. Incorrect answers are erased and you are allowed to try again.

http://www.ruthvilmi.net/hut/LangHelp/Grammar/prepositions_of_time.html Sixty-five questions - fill in the blank type. All questions require a preposition communicating the notion of time. The prepositions tested are: at, in, on, from, during, for, by, and since. Some questions show that more than one preposition is appropriate. Other questions show that no preposition is required.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/js/ni/fb-prepositions.html Forty-one questions of fill in the blank type. This quiz is specifically for the prepositions: at, in, and on.

http://www.johnsesl.com/prepquiz.shtml Ten fill in the blank questions for at, in, and on prepositions used to express temporal notions.

http://bezzi.colletta.it/ETB13abcde.html This web site gives examples of using the prepositions at, on, in, before, until, and from in phrases which express time. This web site also 'speaks' the phrases. The accent of the speaker is British English, so it is distinctive and may serve as an attention device in therapy.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/9704/dg-in-at-on.html Thirty multiple choice quetions testing the prepositions (in, at, on).

http://esl.about.com/library/quiz/blgrquiz_prep4.htm Easy level. Fifteen questions testing the prepositions for / while / and / during /.

http://www.englishday.com/test/esl/prep_time.htm Fifteen questions. Multiple choice format. Three choices for each question.

http://www.eslpartyland.com/quiz center/preptime.htm 10 multiple choice questions all of which require a preposition expressing a temporal notion as the correct answer.

 

WEB SITES GALORE

These web sites mix several meanings associated with prepositions in the exercises provided. Children should be able to generate/identify the correct preposition AND identify the meaning expressed by the preposition.

http://cctc2.commnet.edu/grammar/quizzes/preposition_quiz1.htm The child has to produce the correct response.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/vm/prep02.html The child has to produce the correct response.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/fb-bd-preposition.html Easy quiz where the child has to produce the correct response.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/vm/prep03.html The child has to identify the correct response.

http://gabiscott.com/bigdog/prep_exercise.htm The child has to identify the correct response.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/9704/cn-prepos.html This is a multiple choice format quiz. Choose from 2 choices.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/vm/prepos01.html This is a multiple choice format quiz. Choose from 2 choices.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/vm/prepos02.html This is a multiple choice format quiz. Choose from 3 choices.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/vm/prepos03.html This is a multiple choice quiz format. Choose from 2 choices.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/vm/prep01.html This is a multiple choice format quiz. Choose from 3 choices.

The following four quizzes are all very short (5 question) quizzes in a multiple choice format with three choices:

http://www.pacificnet.net/~sperling/quiz/prep1.html

http://www.pacificnet.net/~sperling/quiz/prep2.html

http://www.pacificnet.net/~sperling/quiz/prep3.html

http://www.pacificnet.net/~sperling/quiz/prep4.html

http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/prepositions/index.htm Great graphics for use with younger children. Three different types of games: Choose the Preposition, Spot the Preposition, and Where is the Mouse. Have the child read the questions (or read them to a child) and have the child choose between three possible answers. This is an interactive site, so you must have a computer in the therapy room.

http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Square/6264/index71.htm This site is appropriate for junior high-high school students. Twenty-five fill in the blank questions. Three choices offered. All the questions are lyrics from songs, and the client must fill in the appropriate preposition. From this site there are an additional three sets of questions.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/js/ck/fb-prepositions.html Twenty-five fill in the blank questions. This is an interactive site where you type in the answers and can check each answer immediately. A cumulative scoring system informs you of your level of success after each question is answered.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/js/vm/ci-prep.html This is a metalinguistic recognition task. Twenty sentences containing correct and incorrect prepositions. The child simply has to judge correct from incorrect. It might be a good idea to ask the child to correct the incorrect sentences as an addition to this work sheet.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/js/vm/mc-prep.html A multiple choice test. Twenty-five questions on preposition use. Four possible answers to each question.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/9801/mg-australia2.html Do you have a child who is doing a unit in the classroom on Australia? This is a ten question multiple choice quiz testing correct use of prepositions. It is a thematic quiz, as all questions are about Australia.

http://www.ruthvilmi.net/hut/LangHelp/Grammar/prep6.html This is appropriate for an older child. The child must read the paragraph and generate the appropriate preposition to fill in the blank. Three different paragraphs are presented.

http://www.ruthvilmi.net/hut/LangHelp/Grammar/prep7.html This is a list of 10 everyday phrases that contain a preposition.

http://www.ruthvilmi.net/hut/LangHelp/Grammar/prep11.html High school level paragraph about the human body's natural electrical conductivity to transmit electronic data. Fill in the blanks with the appropriate preposition. This is a high content paragraph, but still a simple activity for learning prepositions.

http://www.ruthvilmi.net/hut/LangHelp/Grammar/prep12.html Another high school level paragraph. The content is about the sun and skin cancer. There are seven fill in the blank questions requiring prepositions.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/js/dt/mc-confusedprep.html Thirty question quiz on prepositions which are often confusing in their usage. Multiple choice questions. Answers are provided and feedback for correct answers is immediate.

http://busboy.sped.ukans.edu/pix_lit/symbol/symbtext/pic_word.html This site could be useful with very young children. It is a picture literacy system that uses a standard set of 23 picture/word symbols to depict typical verbs and prepositions. Nice combination of verbs and prepositions which can be taught separately and in combination with one another.

http://home.ptd.net/~hmsstaff/poetrysixth.html#Clair This site features works by ten sixth grade students who were asked to write preposition poems when studying prepositions in English class. A fun activity for secondary or high school students.

http://itc.sulross.edu/raustin/preposit.htm Definitely a high school level task. Ten sentences which you print out and have the student put parentheses (  ) around each prepositional phrase in the sentences. They must also underline the preposition once and its object twice. A correct response answer sheet is provided.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/9901/jh-wisconsin.html Thirty five fill in the blank questions. A thematic lesson all about Wisconsin. Good for Cheeseheads :-). The answers to the questions are from he following list of prepositions: by, from, in, of, to.

http://www.reggie98.freeserve.co.uk/teaching/unopreps.htm A unique link. You can download the cards for a Uno card game which is testing a child's knowledge of the prepositions "in," "on," "under," "by," "in front of," and "behind". The rules of play are also available, so it's a nice little package all at one site.

http://www.james.rtsq.qc.ca/Virtgram/prepth.htm This site lists various prepositions and explains the different meanings a single preposition may communicate. This could be a very useful site if you are teaching your child to recognize the meaning a specific preposition communicates.

http://esl.about.com/library/quiz/blgrquiz_prep2.htm Easy level. Test your knowledge of the prepositions{ in / at / to / nothing } - communicating either place or movement. Fifteen multiple choice questions. Be sure to tell the child there are some sentences which do not require a preposition.

http://www.ruthvilmi.net/hut/XE/Demo/books/demo/stand-alone/exercise3.html Twenty-four fill in the blank questions. Lots of options for filling in the answers, editing, checking the responses, and getting hints.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/cw/1/vm-prep.htm This is a crossword puzzle. Each of the responses requires a preposition. 14 answers are needed to complete the task.

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/7583/rdprep1pr.html This is a story about Halloween. Children have to fill in the appropriate preposition (choose from in, on, at, to) in the blank spaces. An answer key is provided.

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/internet-grammar/preps/ex1.htm Scroll down on this web site until you come to the exercise. You simply read the paragraph and click on the prepositions. Responses are saved in a box at the bottom of the paragraph. Then you can check your answers.

http://www.lingolex.com/prepositions/prepositionsen.htm Need to teach Spanish prepositions? Here's a web site that will get you started.

http://www.englishbos.com/interactive/index.html This page will link you to three different interactive quizzes on prepositions. Instructions are both in Spanish and English. Questions are in English.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/0101/es-prepositions.html Suitable for more advanced students. A quiz that tests use of multiple prepositions in a sentence.

http://www.eflnet.com/grammar/grampage.htm Scroll down this page until you see the four preposition quizzes. On each quiz there are ten questions. This is a multiple choice task with three choices for each question. An unexpected positive feedback is given for correct responses. Multiple meanings for prepositions are assessed at this site.

http://www.talkeasy.co.uk/link/materials/preps.html For beginners. Cute graphics. The student has to use the correct preposition to identify where the cat is. The cat could be: in, on, under, beside, or next to.

http://www.johnsesl.com/prepquiz.html A little 10 question quiz testing in, on, or at. Very straightforward. Fairly easy. Not much fanfare at this site, just good practice.

http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/fb-bd-preposition.html This web page has a dozen fill in the blank statements. A variety of meanings expressed with prepositions are tested.

The following three sites test a variety of prepositions. Both a verbal and auditory reinforcement is given for each correct response. An angry auditory response is given for incorrect answers and the correct alternative is shown. Each quiz is a multiple choice format with students having to choose between three alternatives.

http://www.eflnet.com/grammar/prep1.htm

http://www.eflnet.com/grammar/prep2.htm

http://www.eflnet.com/grammar/prep3.htm

http://www.uni-lueneburg.de/einricht/fremd/fremdspr/walsh/preps.htm Here is a web site that is very straight forward. Ten incomplete sentences are listed. Students are asked to fill in the appropriate preposition in each empty box.

http://www.englishlearner.com/online/grint6.html High School or Junior High students. This site features two paragraphs. One is about Rome and the other about Amsterdam. Students must fill in the appropriate prepositions to complete the paragraphs.

http://www.englishlearner.com/online/grint10.html High school students can fill in the blanks in this paragraph with one of the following prepositions: out of, on, off, of, from, at, away, for, along, to.

http://www.eslpartyland.com/quiz center/mtprep.htm Do you have a student who likes movies? This site has 10 questions which are all movie titles. In each title the preposition is missing. Students must fill in the correct preposition.

http://www.eslpartyland.com/quiz center/bruce.htm Do you have a student that knows Bruce Springsteen Lyrics. That's what you'll find here. The only problem is, all the prepositions are missing. The student must fill them in. 10 lyrics in all.

http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/8255/hp/preps.htm Here are some statements that need prepositions. Choose from in, for, to, from, under, over, about, or at. Fairly easy level. This is a multiple choice format task.

http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/8255/hp/preps2.htm Another set of prepositon-less statements. Similar to the format of the site listed above.