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Prepositions of Place in English | IN ON AT BY UNDER OVER


Prepositions of Place in English

Prepositions of Place in English | IN ON AT BY UNDER OVER

Prepositions of Place in English | IN ON AT BY UNDER OVER

In this lesson you will learn the difference between many prepositions of place in English grammar, including IN, ON, AT, BY, UNDER and OVER.

Students commonly make mistakes when using prepositions of place in English, and so we will look at the rules and some common examples of these prepositions in use.

Keep watching to the end of the video for Greg’s interactive quiz! 

Prepositions of Place in English: IN ON, AT, BY, UNDER, ABOVE, OVER, BEHIND, IN FRONT OF

Lesson Notes


IN = The object is in an enclosed space (e.g. four walls surround it)


  • The ball is in the box.
  • Paris is in France.
  • The fridge is in the kitchen.
  • The flowers are in the garden.

INSIDE = The object is completely enclosed space (e.g. four walls and a ceiling surround it)


  • It’s raining so the kids are inside the house.
  • The CD is inside the CD player.
  • My bag is inside the car.




ON = One objects is touching the surface of another object 


  • My phone is on the table.
  • The picture is on the shelf.
  • The food is on the plate.

ON TOP OF = The same as ON, but emphasising the top part of something.


  • The magnets are ON the fridge, but the keys are ON TOP OF the fridge. 
  • The house is ON the mountain, but the cross is ON TOP OF the mountain.


ABOVE = objects not touching


  • The shelf is above the plant.
  • Your nose is above your mouth.

OVER = Similar to above (i.e. at a higher level but not touching). However, we normally use OVER together with a verb. 


  • You have to fly over the Atlantic Ocean to get to America.
  • I can see a rainbow going over the city.
  • In tennis, you hit a ball over a net.




UNDER = one object is covered by another.


  • My legs are under the table.
  • There’s a coin under my foot.
  • I lost my watch under the bed.


UNDERNEATH = a more formal word for UNDER 


BELOW = The opposite of ABOVE. One object is in a lower position than the other.


  • The plant is below the shelf
  • Your mouth is below your nose


BENEATH = a more formal word for below.




BY / NEXT TO = The distance between two objects is small / non-existent


  • The park is by / next to the supermarket
  • My phone is by / next to my laptop


BESIDE = a more formal word for BY




Used for a specific place.


  • I live at 5 Beverley Road
  • My daughter is at the swimming pool.
  • I’ll meet you at the train station
  • Someone’s at the door




If the pen is in front of the book, the pen is closer to you than the book.

If the pen is behind the book, the pen is further from you than the book.

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