Prepositions in the English language form an extremely important word class because of their frequent use. In fact, some prepositions, such as from, to, of, and for, are in the list of 50 most frequently used English words.
When you’re teaching prepositions, it’s important to provide students with plenty of resources to help them visualize and understand the concept of prepositions.
In this guide, we’ll explain how to teach prepositions step by step and discuss some important key points that you should keep in mind while teaching prepositions. We’ll also provide some fun preposition activities and resources that you can use in class to teach prepositions.
How To Teach Prepositions: Step-By-Step
Follow these step-by-step instructions to teach prepositions to students easily and effectively. And don’t forget to check the bottom of the page for related resources for teaching prepositions.
The first step is to teaching prepositions is to provide an easy definition of prepositions and explain how they are used in English. Here is an easy definition of prepositions you can use:
Definition: A preposition is a word (or a combination of words) that you typically use in a sentence before a noun or pronoun to show place, time, direction, or spatial relationship.
Of course, just providing a definition is not enough to help students understand prepositions. So, after providing the definition, you should explain prepositions in more detail and provide lots of examples.
After explaining what prepositions are and what function they serve, the next step is to give lots of examples. Most ESL curriculums teach prepositions of place first as these are the easiest to understand for English language learners. Start with showing students some examples of prepositions of place, and when students are ready, move on to the other types of prepositions.
Prepositions of Place Example Sentences
Here are some example sentences using the prepositions of place on, in, under, in front of, behind, next to, and between.
- The eraser is on the desk.
- Let’s meet in the restaurant.
- There is a spider under the bench.
- The car in front of my car is expensive.
- Sarah is hiding behind the tree.
- The bookstore is next to the restaurant.
- Chris is sitting between Kelly and Sam.
Prepositions of Time Example Sentences
Here are some example sentences using the prepositions of time on, at, and in.
- George works in the evening.
- He was born in 1991.
- They go for a walk at night.
- I only work on Mondays.
- Let’s meet at 11 am on Tuesday.
Prepositions of Direction Example Sentences
Here are some example sentences using prepositions of direction:
- Ana drove to the hospital.
- Go into that room over there.
- The dog jumped onto the sofa.
- The Han River runs through Seoul.
Of course, there are more types of prepositions, but teaching students prepositions of place, time, and direction first is best so that students are not overwhelmed. Once you have shown students many examples and they are beginning to grasp the concept, it’s time for students to practice with some fun preposition games and activities.
Step 3: Practice Prepositions With Fun Games And Activities
Once you have explained the basics of prepositions to your students, you’ll need to make sure that they practice a lot so that they can retain the information and use prepositions easily. Here are some games and activity ideas you can use when teaching prepositions:
Prepositions Memory Game
This fun prepositions game is great for practicing prepositions of place. Students will see a picture for 5 seconds and must remember where the objects are. Then, students will be asked to choose the correct sentence that describes the location of the object.
This activity is probably the most common way to teach prepositions of place in class. Ask all students to take out one of their notebooks and a pencil and start giving them directions like the following:
- Place the pencil on top of the notebook.
- Grab the pencil and place it inside the notebook.
- Now remove the pencil and place it beneath the notebook.
- Pick up the pencil again and place it in front of the notebook.
You can also use other prepositions, such as around, below, above, next to, and under, for this drill. This simple activity helps students to visualize and understand the concept of prepositions better.
After that, you can grab a pencil and notebook (or any other classroom object) and perform an action in front of the class, such as placing the pencil on top of the notebook. Then, ask any of the students to explain the action you performed using the correct preposition.
Another great way to help students practice prepositions is to write down a long passage on the board. Then you can start asking students to point out prepositions in the passage. Here is an example passage you can use:
I keep my study room well-organized and tidy. It has white walls and a dark brown rug on the floor. I have placed a single bed beside the room’s entrance. It has a beige-colored bed sheet and a light brown fluffy pillow. I study on the wooden desk that’s placed beside the window. There’s a water dispenser on the right side and a wooden bookshelf on the left side of the desk.
As you can see, this paragraph contains many prepositions. You can ask the following question to draw the students’ attention to prepositions in the passage:
- Where is the dark brown rug placed in the room?
- Where is the study desk in the room?
- Where is the bed located?
- What’s placed on the bed?
Prepositions Of Time Quiz
This fun quiz is a great way to review prepositions of time. Students are asked to choose at, on, or in, to complete the sentence.
The Picture Activity
You can also use different pictures to help students practice prepositions better. You can download a picture of a garden or a room from the internet and show them to your class.
Then, ask students to write sentences in their notebooks about the objects they can see in the picture. After that, check their sentences to find out if they have used correct prepositions or not.
Step 4: Review With Preposition Worksheets
To help students review what they have learned, provide them with plenty of preposition worksheets. To get started, you can download free prepositions of place worsheets here and free prepositions of time worksheets here.
Thanks for reading! We hope you found this guide useful. Before you go, don’t forget to check out these related resources for teaching prepositions:
Why Are Prepositions So Difficult To Learn?
Prepositions Of Time Exercises
Prepositions Of Place Exercises
Prepositions Of Time Lesson Plan
Prepositions Of Place Lesson Plan