Last month, the CISL Blog explored rules regarding prepositions with time. For December, we are looking at another aspect of prepositions: using this part of speech to express placement. On? Above? Over? Below? The following is a list of prepositions to express  the location of an object in relation to another one.

Location One: Close to a point

Perhaps an object is not touching another one, but you want to express that it is very close to another object. In this case, use the following prepositions: near, by, next to, between, among, opposite.

Near, by: close to

  • My house is near the local market.
  • My residence hall is very close to my school.


Between: in the middle of two things

  • My school is between an art studio and a burger hut.


Next to: Directly located near another thing

  • My school is next to an art gallery.
  • The art gallery is next to a market.

Among: surrounded by other things

  • At  my school, you will find yourself among students from many other countries.
  • I am not nervous speaking in my class because I know that I am among friends.

Opposite: directly opposed to another thing

  • My school is opposite a bank.
  • My residence hall is opposite a park and amphitheater.

Location Two: Higher than a point

If the object you are speaking of is higher than another thing, use over and above.


Over: extending directly upward from; directly on top of without touching

  • I fell over my own feet!
  • The dog jumped over the small fence.


Above: in extended space over and not touching

  • The chandelier is above the table.
  • The picture is above the fireplace.


Lesson Three: Lower than a point

When speaking about something which is lower than other things, use these prepositions: under, underneath, beneath, below.

  • The child is hiding under the table.
  • The cat is also underneath the table.
  • Beneath the child and the cat is a rug.
  • Below the rug is the paper I have been looking for!


Take a look at the photo for this blog post. How many times can you use the prepositions from this lesson (and the first lesson on prepositions) to describe the people and things in the photo?


Is there a difference between under, underneath, below, and beneath? When using these words as prepositions, the meanings are very similar; so similar that students learning about prepositions shouldn’t worry too much about the differences. The real differences are found in the phrases and idioms we use with each of these words: substituting one of these words for another would result in a very strange idiom! Stay tuned later in this month for idioms using these prepositions to fully understand how to use each of them. Until then, Happy December to each of our students!