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5. Proper Use of Prepositions

Prepositions are simple words, but they are not as easy to use as they appear to be. If used wrongly, they become adverbs or conjunctions and convey different meaning.


A preposition is followed by a noun or a pronoun. 
We go jogging every day after work. (Preposition) 
(The preposition is after and is followed by the noun work.)


An adverb comes after a verb and is not followed by an object. 
We got here not so long ago and she arrived after. (Adverb) 
(After is an adverb that comes after the verb arrived.) 


A conjunction has a clause that comes after it. 
We arrived after he had left. (Conjunction) 
(The clause he had left comes after the conjunction after.)


More examples: 

  • She was up until three o'clock watching the movie. (Preposition)
  • He stayed there until the rain stopped. (Conjunction) 
  • She's got a job as a horse trainer. (Preposition)
  • The husband was fat, and his wife was just as fat. (Adverb)
  • We watched as he was flying his kite. (Conjunction)
  • He didn't tell anyone but his lawyer. (Preposition)
  • We have but one week to meet the deadline. (Adverb)
  • You are not only my best friend but also my business partner. (Conjunction)
  • We walked round the marketplace. (Preposition)
  • They gathered round to listen to his encounter with a wild pig. (Adverb)
  • In that tree, I saw two big, round eyes which must be the owl's. (Adjective)
  • Beautiful pictures can be found inside the book. (Preposition)
  • The book has beautiful pictures inside. (Adverb)
  • The inside pages of the book have beautiful pictures. (Adjective)
Some more words:
Words used as prepositions, adverbs, or adjectives: inside, outside, past, round
Words used as prepositions, adverbs, or conjunctions: after, as, before, but, since.