Preposition Rule | Grammar | EnglishClub


There is one very simple rule about prepositions. And, unlike most rules, this rule has no exceptions.

Rule:
A preposition is followed by a “noun”. It is never followed by a verb.

By “noun” we include:

  • noun (dog, money, love)
  • proper noun (name) (Bangkok, Mary)
  • pronoun (you, him, us)
  • noun group (my first job)
  • gerund (swimming)

A preposition cannot be followed by a verb. If we want to follow a preposition by a verb, we must use the “-ing” form which is really a gerund or verb in noun form.

Quick Quiz: In the following sentences, why is the preposition “to” followed by a verb? That should be impossible, according to the rule that you have just read.

  • I would like to go now.
  • She used to smoke.
See answer

The answer is that in “I would like to go now” and “She used to smoke”, the word “to” is not a preposition. It is part of the infinitive (“to go”, “to smoke”).

Here are some examples:



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