1. Prepositions of place
The prepositions of place express the exact position in which an element (person, object, animal, etc.) is found.
The keys are in the handbag.
The dog is behind me because it's shy.
2. How are prepositions of place used?
These prepositions are always placed before the element which expresses where something or someone is. The most common ones are the following:
The clock is in the box.
The kid is on the whale.
The baby's dummy is under the table.
The cinema is next to the restaurant.
IN FRONT OF
The girl is in front of the sheep.
The boy is behind the curtains.
My car is between those two trees.
These cats are around the rubbish bin.
The balloon is above the table.
We use above but not on when something is on a higher position than something else. There's no contact between the object and the surface.
The table is below the lamp.
We use below when something is in a lower place or position. There's no contact between the object and the surface.
The athlete is jumping over the hurdle.
She is wearing a shawl over her dress.
Over and above have a similar meaning and can be used interchangeably in many cases. However, over, unlike above, can be used when there's contact with the surface, in this case it has a similar meaning to cover. When there's movement, we can only use over.
The rabbit is among the boxes.
Among is translated as between but it is used when something or someone is in a group of 3 or more things, while between is used when something or someone is in the middle of 2 things.
BY / BESIDE
She is sitting by/beside her bed.
By and beside are used to refer to something which is very close to something else. They could be replaced by next to.
The boy is sitting opposite the girl.
Opposite is used to express that two things, people, buildings... are face to face.
The bank is across the street from the saloon.
Across is used to express that something or someone is on the other side of a street, road, river, table...
3. Prepositions of place: at, in, on
In English, the three most common prepositions of place are in, on and at, and are used according to the element they accompany:
It is used to refer to the particular point at which an element is located.
|At the airport
||At the bus station
||At the door
||At the table
|At the entrance
||At the desk
||At a concert
||At a tennis match
|At a party
||At a meeting
For addresseswhen number and street are mentioned
|At 16 Oxford Street
||At 26 Spring Gardens Street
|At 88 Tree Ave
||At 100 William IV Street
It is used to express that an element is in a closed space, or in an open space that has defined limits.
|Cities, towns, countries, etc.
|Parts of a house
||In the kitchen
||In the garden
|In the bedroom
||In the sitting room
||In a car
||In a taxi
|In a newspaper
It is used to express that an element touching a surface.
|Means of transport
||On a bus
||On a train
|On a plane
||On a ship
||On the wall
||On the ceiling
|On a door
||On the floor
For addresses when only the street is mentioned(In is also used)
|On Oxford Street
||On Tree Street
|On Spring Gardens Street
||On William IV Street
||On the Internet
|On the grass
||On a farm
Sometimes one preposition or another can be used before the same expression of place, but the meaning will slightly change.
My sister is in hospital.
My sister is at the hospital.
Martin is sitting on the table.
Martin is sitting at the table.
He is at the cinema.
He is in the cinema.
The prepositions of place express the exact position of an element (person, object, etc.).
In front of
By / Beside