Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun (prē-pō˙-zish′ on). The act of preposing, or placing before or in front of something else.
  • noun In grammar, something preposed; a prefixed element; a prefix; one of a body of elements (by origin, words of direction, having an adverbial character) in our family of languages often used as prefixes to verbs and verbal derivatives; especially, an indeclinable part of speech regularly placed before and governing a noun in an oblique case (or a member of the sentence having a substantive value), and showing its relation to a verb, or an adjective, or another noun, as in, of, from, to, by, etc. Abbreviated preposition
  • noun A proposition; exposition; discourse.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Gram.) A word employed to connect a noun or a pronoun, in an adjectival or adverbial sense, with some other word; a particle used with a noun or pronoun (in English always in the objective case) to make a phrase limiting some other word; -- so called because usually placed before the word with which it is phrased
  • noun obsolete A proposition; an exposition; a discourse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To place in a location before some other event occurs.
  • noun grammar Any of a closed class of non-inflecting words typically employed to connect a noun or a pronoun, in an adjectival or adverbial sense, with some other word: a particle used with a noun or pronoun (in English always in the objective case) to make a phrase limiting some other word.
  • noun obsolete A proposition; an exposition; a discourse.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (linguistics) the placing of one linguistic element before another (as placing a modifier before the word it modifies in a sentence or placing an affix before the base to which it is attached)
  • noun a function word that combines with a noun or pronoun or noun phrase to form a prepositional phrase that can have an adverbial or adjectival relation to some other word

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From pre- + position

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin praepositio, from praeponere (to place before); prae (before) + ponere (to put, place); compare French préposition. (See position, and compare provost.) So called because it is usually placed before the word with which it is phrased, as in a bridge of iron, he comes from town, it is good for food, he escaped by running.

Examples

  • Some one once pointed out that the preposition is a dangerous thing.

    Survival At Stake, Our Individual Responsibilities

  • Maybe this comes from my years of Latin in college or maybe it comes from a broken synapse in my frontal lobe, but ending a sentence in a preposition is just something I have decided not to do.

    The no-final-prepositions rule: Not even half right. « Motivated Grammar

  • In French the preposition is followed by a feminine noun (the masculine form is au, a contraction of à + le), but as an English compound preposition it is independent of gender:

    À la carte, à la, Al

  • In French the preposition is followed by a feminine noun (the masculine form is au, a contraction of à + le), but as an English compound preposition it is independent of gender:

    April « 2009 « Sentence first

  • A preposition is a fine word to end a sentence with but the “at” in “Where are you at?”

    2008 August « Motivated Grammar

  • A preposition is a fine word to end a sentence with but the “at” in “Where are you at?”

    Where are you (at)? « Motivated Grammar

  • In this case the word is a Latin preposition meaning “with” and is somewhat misused as a conjunction to convey the notion that “shooting star” might be as good a choice as “rising star”.

    Desperately Seeking Sarah

  • A preposition must by definition be associated with a noun, and it is the separation of the preposition from the noun that offends those who see in the very name ‘pre-position’ the need, which cannot be avoided in Latin languages (or indeed in German), to place it immediately before the noun.

    English in the Times

  • One evening, I remarked that there appeared to be both a bottle of red and a bottle of white on our dinner table, and Fr. Greg responded with the observation of many Catholic apologists, that the great Catholic preposition is “and,” whereas the Protestant preposition is “or.”

    Archive 2008-05-01

  • One evening, I remarked that there appeared to be both a bottle of red and a bottle of white on our dinner table, and Fr. Greg responded with the observation of many Catholic apologists, that the great Catholic preposition is “and,” whereas the Protestant preposition is “or.”

    Letter from Camp

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.

    January 25, 2007

  • This rule is something up with which we should not put.

    January 26, 2007

  • The Naughty Preposition

    --Morris Bishop

    I lately lost a preposition:

    It hid, I thought, beneath my chair.

    And angrily I cried: "Perdition!

    Up from out of in under there!

    Correctness is my vade mecum,

    And straggling phrases I abhor;

    And yet I wondered: "What should he come

    Up from out of in under for?"

    July 20, 2007

  • What did you bring that book I did not want to be read to out of up for?

    October 4, 2007

  • This page gives me hives.

    October 4, 2007

  • Hives give me hives.

    October 5, 2007

  • In prison for his part in the infamous Loeb and Leopold murder case, Richard Loeb was murdered by another prisoner after having allegedly made sexual advances on him.

    The Chicago Daily News reported the incident as follows: "Richard Loeb, despite his erudition, today ended his sentence with a proposition."

    November 18, 2008

  • A snobbish East Coast English Professor is visiting a colleague at a rural university in the Midwest. The colleague takes him to the local cafe for breakfast and introduces him to a few locals she's gotten to know over the years, including a farmer.

    Farmer: Glad to meet you. Where do you come from?

    Professor: It is improper to end a sentence with a preposition.

    Farmer: I'm very sorry. Where do you come from, a**hole?

    November 18, 2008

  • If you want to see 'TWO ADJECTIVE NOUNS VERBING ADVERBLY PREPOSITION EACH OTHER, peek here.

    February 3, 2009

  • Exhausted after a long day of insisting that one must never end a sentence with a preposition, the English teacher took a book about Australia up to her daughter's bedroom.

    "Mommy," said the girl, "what did you bring that book I didn't want to be read to out of about Down Under up for?"

    (via futilitycloset.com)

    July 29, 2009