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preposition1

[prep-uh-zish-uh n]
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noun Grammar.
  1. any member of a class of words found in many languages that are used before nouns, pronouns, or other substantives to form phrases functioning as modifiers of verbs, nouns, or adjectives, and that typically express a spatial, temporal, or other relationship, as in, on, by, to, since.
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Origin of preposition1

1350–1400; Middle English preposicioun < Latin praepositiōn- (stem of praepositiō) a putting before, a prefix, preposition. See pre-, position
Related formsprep·o·si·tion·al, adjectiveprep·o·si·tion·al·ly, adverbnon·prep·o·si·tion·al, adjectivenon·prep·o·si·tion·al·ly, adverbqua·si-prep·o·si·tion·al, adjectivequa·si-prep·o·si·tion·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedpreposition proposition

Usage note

The often heard but misleading “rule” that a sentence should not end with a preposition is transferred from Latin, where it is an accurate description of practice. But English grammar is different from Latin grammar, and the rule does not fit English. In speech, the final preposition is normal and idiomatic, especially in questions: What are we waiting for? Where did he come from? You didn't tell me which floor you worked on. In writing, the problem of placing the preposition arises most when a sentence ends with a relative clause in which the relative pronoun ( that; whom; which; whomever; whichever; whomsoever ) is the object of a preposition. In edited writing, especially more formal writing, when a pronoun other than that introduces a final relative clause, the preposition usually precedes its object: He abandoned the project to which he had devoted his whole life. I finally telephoned the representative with whom I had been corresponding. If the pronoun is that, which cannot be preceded by a preposition, or if the pronoun is omitted, then the preposition must occur at the end: The librarian found the books that the child had scribbled in. There is the woman he spoke of.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for prepositional

Historical Examples

  • They also admit of derogative and prepositional inflections.

    The Indian in his Wigwam

    Henry R. Schoolcraft

  • In the first three paragraphs the prepositional phrases are printed in italics.

    Plain English

    Marian Wharton

  • An adverb phrase is a prepositional phrase used as an adverb.

    Plain English

    Marian Wharton

  • An adjective phrase is a prepositional phrase used as an adjective.

    Plain English

    Marian Wharton

  • A prepositional phrase may be either adjective or adverbial.


British Dictionary definitions for prepositional

preposition

noun
  1. a word or group of words used before a noun or pronoun to relate it grammatically or semantically to some other constituent of a sentenceAbbreviation: prep
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Derived Formsprepositional, adjectiveprepositionally, adverb

Word Origin

C14: from Latin praepositiō a putting before, from pōnere to place

usage

The practice of ending a sentence with a preposition (Venice is a place I should like to go to) was formerly regarded as incorrect, but is now acceptable and is the preferred form in many contexts
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for prepositional

adj.

1754, from preposition + -al (1).

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preposition

n.

late 14c., from Latin praepositionem (nominative praepositio) "a putting before, a prefixing," noun of action from past participle stem of praeponere "put before," from prae "before" (see pre-) + ponere "put, set, place" (see position (n.)). In grammatical use, a loan-translation of Greek prothesis, literally "a setting before."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

prepositional in Culture

preposition

A part of speech that indicates the relationship, often spatial, of one word to another. For example, “She paused at the gate”; “This tomato is ripe for picking”; and “They talked the matter over head to head.” Some common prepositions are at, by, for, from, in, into, on, to, and with.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.