Comprehensive notes on prepositions and conjunctions

By | November 17, 2021

Grammar is one of the most important aspects of the  English language. The presents on prepositions and conjunctions to help students and users of the English Language understand what these two elements mean and also how to use them.


Sometimes, one can communicate ideas using short sentences such as:

  • Akua danced.
  • The pastor uses oil.

More often, the ideas you want to express are even more complicated. Suppose you want to add that the pastor also uses body spray. Then you will need to use words to show those relationships.


  • Akua danced last week.
  • The pastor uses anointing oil and body spray.

Relationship dealing with people, actions and things are expressed by words that connect other words. Two kinds of connecting words are prepositions and conjunctions.



One kind of connective word is the preposition. They are words that join other words or a group of words. They express a relationship between different parts of a sentence. They are words with a noun, called its object, to show the relationship between the noun or pronoun and some other word in a  sentence. A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition, its object, and any modifiers of the object.

Let us consider the relationships expressed in the following examples and notice how changing the preposition can affect the meaning of the sentence as a whole.


Afua leaped off her bike.

Afua leaped onto her bike.

Akua leaped over her bike.

READ ALSO:  Interesting learner-centered methods of teaching 2021

The preposition off, onto and over show the relationship between bike and the verb leaped. In each of the above sentences, bike is the object of the preposition. Like all prepositions, off, onto, and over connect their objects to another part of sentence.

Prepositions do not show relationship all by themselves. They begin a phrase. A prepositional phrase consists of the preposition, its object, and any modifiers of the object. In the sentences above, off the bike, onto her bike, and over her bike are prepositional phrases. Here are other examples of words often used as prepositions. Many of them like above, beside, before, and until, show a relationship of time. Still others show different kinds of relationships. Take a look at the prepositions below.


Along                     by                           into

inside                    Around                   in

through                 near                        until

From                      during                     concerning

Under                     off                            over

Beneath                  across                      within

After                        among                     except

Without                  toward                     before

Below                       at                             about

Down                       outside                    against

Onto                        through                   on


Many words used as prepositions may be also be used as adverbs. How do you tell if the word is a preposition or an adverb?

A preposition is never used alone. It is always followed by a noun or pronoun as part of a phrase. If the word is in a phrase, it is probably a preposition. If the word has no object, it is probably an adverb.

For example : 1. The prisoners walked around the courtyard. (preposition)

  1. The prisoners walked around. (adverb)
  2. 3. Can you jump over that hurdle? ( preposition)
  3. 4. Can you come over later? (adverb)
READ ALSO:  Step-by-step guide on how to start and make money with blogging



Conjunction is another part of speech that shows the relationship between parts of a sentence. A conjunction connects words or group of words.

examples:  1. Simon  built and painted the house.

  1. My writing is fast but illegible.
  2. The couple shall take the taxi or the salon car.
  3. Rice with cabbage stew is not only nutritious but also economical.

There are three kinds of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions and subordinate conjunctions.


  • CO-ORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS: Coordinating conjunctions are used to connect single words or group of words of the same kind. The most common co-ordinating conjunctions are: for, and, not, but , or , yet, so. The initial letters of these words have been used to coin an acronym called FANBOYS.


Examples:  1. Salon cars and buses have different speed limits.

  1. Eric looked at the tyre but couldn’t find the leak.
  2. In March or April, we shall take our vacation.
  3. The skater tripped and fell.
  4. The contestant appeared hopeful but timid.


  • CORRELATIVE CONJUNCTIONS: Like coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions join similar words or groups of words. However, these conjunctions are always used in pairs.


  • Neither nor
  • Both and
  • Either or
  • Whether or
  • Not only………but(also)


Examples:  1. Abigail is neither lazy nor timid.

  1. 2. Both gold and diamond are valuable minerals.
  2. Chelsea FC shall either play Westham United or Liverpool FC.
  3. The family discussed whether to organize the funeral in Kumasi or in Accra.
  4. The school provides not only books but also uniforms.



  • SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS: This group of conjunctions involves words which begin subordinate clauses. They subordinate, or make independent, the words they introduce. Let’s take a look at the following.
READ ALSO:  Finding the Best Home Loan in South Africa


(a). If you sign the document.

(b). Before the schools re-open.


In the above examples, the words “if” and “before” are subordinating conjunctions. The examples are subordinate clauses which contain subjects and verbs.


However, neither of them expresses a complete thought, and neither can stand alone. Both leave you wondering then what? The words (if and before) that begin the subordinate clauses have an important function. Without them, the clauses above become sentences.


Many, though not all, subordinate clauses begin with subordinating conjunctions.  Words often used as  subordinating conjunctions include: wherever, till, in order, as long as, provided, unless, as though, since, until, after, because, so that, whenever, although, besides, than etc.


Note that the words above are subordinating  conjunctions only when they begin clauses.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *