at + a point
He's at the door / the window / the traffic lights / the crossroads / the bus stop.
at + a building
He's at the post office / the bus station / the cinema / the airport.
in + a container
It's in the box / the bag / the drawer / the cupboard / the car boot.
in + a room, city or country
They're in the kitchen / the bedroom / Madrid / England.
on + a surface
It's on the ground / the floor / the table / the wall / the pavement.
under + an object
It's under the table / the chair / the book / the blanket.
We can use in + a building. We often use in + a building when we are thinking of the building itself.
There are lots of people in the pub.
I live in Broadfield Street.
I live at 237 Broadfield Street.
I arrived at the airport.
I arrived in Manchester.
You use arrive + home (no preposition).
I arrived home.
It is often possible to use a definite or indefinite article (a, an, the), a demonstrative adjective (this, that, these, those) or a possessive adjective (my, your, his, her, its, our, their) after a preposition.
It's in a bag. It's in the bag. It's in that bag. It's in your bag. It's under the hat. It's under one of those hats. It's under my hat.
These are common expressions with at, in, and on.
at home / work
at school / university
at a party
at the doctor's / the dentist's
at the bottom / the top
at the end of the street
at the seaside
in the world
in the middle
in a street
in a photograph / a picture
in a book / a newspaper / a magazine / an article
on a bus / a train / a plane
on the ground / the first floor
on a horse / a bicycle
on the left / the right
on the road
on the coast / a river
on a farm / an island
on a page
on TV / the radio
You say on a road but in a street.
There was an accident on the road.
There was an accident in the street.
We say in bed when someone is ill. We say on someone's bed to indicate the position of something.
He's got flu and he's in bed.
I put your new shirt on your bed.
We say at sea to indicate someone is travelling in a boat or ship. We say in the sea to indicate someone is swimming in the sea.
The ship was at sea for two weeks.
She was swimming in the sea.
next to: at the side of someone or something
This is a photo of our football team. That's our star player next to me.
The library is next to the town hall.
between: with people or things on each side
I am sitting between John and Lisa.
The pub is between police station and the bus station.
opposite: on the other side of someone or something
There's a chemist's opposite the butcher's.
There's a book shop on the opposite side of the road.
near: close to
Is there a restaurant near here?
He lives near the medical centre.
in front of: in a position where you can see someone or something if you look forwards
He used to sit in front of me.
There's a police car in front of us.
behind: at someone or something's back
There's a café behind the library.
The children were walking behind their parents.
Some prepositions of place - for example, near, between, opposite and behind - consist of only one word. Other prepositions of place - for example, next to and in front of - consist of more than one word.
I live near a pub.
I live next to a pub. He's sitting behind her. She's sitting in front of him.
across: on the other, or opposite, side
There's a newsagent's across the road.
past: further away than a particular place
You'll find the library on your left, just past the fire station.
round: close to a particular place
There's a Chinese restaurant round the corner.
Is there a bookshop round here?
among: in the middle of other people or things
There's a dictionary among those books.
beyond: past a place or outside an area
There's a small village beyond that mountain.
away from: not near, at a distance from someone or something
House prices are lower away from the city centre.
Round is the same as around. Around is more common in American English.
H lives round / around the corner.
Round / around are also used to indicate that someone or something is surrounding something.
They are sitting round / around a fire.
beside / next to / by: at the side of someone or something and close to them.
She was standing beside / next to / by me. He was standing by the window.
near / by: close to someone or something (We use by + a person or object. We use near + a person, an object, or a city or town.)
The girl stood near her father. She was sitting by the stream. It's a small town near Manchester.
over: in a higher position (It is used when something is directly above something else.)
There's a window over the door.
above: in a higher position (It is often used when something is above something else but not necessarily directly above it. Above usually indicates that the object is further away than over.)
The plane was flying above the clouds.
under: in a lower position (It is used when something is directly below something else.)
I keep my toys under my bed.
below: in a lower position (It is often used when something is below something else but not necessarily directly below it. Below usually indicates that the object is further away than under.)
The birds were flying below some clouds.
Over can also mean:
across from one side of something to another:
Theres a footbridge over the road.
on the opposite side of something:
She lives over the road from her best friend. covering something or someone:
I put my hand over his mouth.
Underneath and beneath mean the same as under and it is more formal. Underneath is less common than under. Beneath is less common than under and it is more formal.
I found some money underneath / beneath the sofa.
Above and below are often used as adverbs. Adverbs are not followed by an object.
From the top of the hill, I could see a forest below. (adverb) There were lots of dark clouds gathering above.
in: indicates where someone or something is.
inside: indicates that someone or something is in a three-dimensional object - for example, a building, a vehicle or a box.
He's in the garden.
She's in France.
In: is also possible for three-dimensional objects but inside is more emphatic.
The ball is inside / in that box.
When it started to rain, I was already inside / school.
outside: indicates that someone or something is close to a three-dimensional object but not inside it.
She was waiting for me outside school.
on: indicates that someone or something is on a surface.
on top of: indicates that someone or something is on a relatively high surface.
On top of is often used for emphasis or to indicate height.
It's on the carpet.
It's on / on top of the cooker.
It's on / on top of that pile of leaves.
between: indicates that there is someone or something at each side of someone or something. We use between + two people or things.
among: indicates that someone or something is in the middle of a group of people or things.
We use among + more than two people or things.
She was sittinging between two classmates.
He was standing among his classmates.
The man was standing between a his wife and his son.
He felt safe sitting among his friends.
We use in to indicate that someone or something is in a car.
She was waiting for me in her car.
We use on to indicate that someone is on a bus, train, or plane.
I met Jane on the bus.
out of: is usually a preposition of movement but it can be used as a preposition of place in a few expressions such as out of town, out of reach, out of hospital, or out of school.
She was coming out of the building. (preposition of movement) She's out of town. (preposition of place) He's out of hospital. (preposition of place)