In grammar, a preposition is a part of speech that introduces a prepositional phrase. Grammar is the field of Linguistics that covers the Rules governing the use of any given natural language. In Grammar, a lexical category (also word class, lexical class, or in traditional grammar part of speech) is a linguistic category of words (or For example, in the sentence "The cat sleeps on the sofa", the word "on" is a preposition, introducing the prepositional phrase "on the sofa". In English, the most used prepositions are "of", "to", "in", "for", and "on". Simply put, a preposition indicates a relation between things mentioned in a sentence.
Linguists sometimes distinguish between a preposition, which precedes its phrase, a postposition, which follows its phrase, and as a rare case a circumposition, which surrounds its phrase. Taken together, these three parts of speech are called adpositions. In more technical language, an adposition is an element that, prototypically, combines syntactically with a phrase and indicates how that phrase should be interpreted in the surrounding context. In Grammar, a phrase is a group of Words that functions as a single unit in the Syntax of a sentence. Some linguists use the word "preposition" instead of "adposition" for all three cases. 
In linguistics, adpositions are considered to be members of the syntactic category "P". Linguistics is the scientific study of Language, encompassing a number of sub-fields A syntactic category is either a phrasal category, such as Noun phrase or Verb phrase, which can be decomposed into smaller syntactic "PPs", consisting of an adpositional head and its complement phrase, are used for a wide range of syntactic and semantic functions, most commonly modification and complementation. An adpositional phrase is a Linguistics term that includes (a prepositional phrase(s (which are usually found in head-first languages like English) and In linguistics the head is the word that determines the syntactic type of the Phrase of which it is a member or analogously the stem that determines the The following examples illustrate some uses of English prepositional phrases:
Adpositions perform many of the same functions as case markings, but adpositions are syntactic elements, while case markings are morphological elements. In Grammar, the case of a Noun or Pronoun indicates its Grammatical function in a greater Phrase or Clause; such as the Morphology is the field of Linguistics that studies the internal structure of words
Adpositions form a heterogeneous class, with fuzzy boundaries that tend to overlap with other categories (like verbs, nouns, and adjectives). It is thus impossible to provide an absolute definition that picks out all and only the adpositions in every language. The following features, however, are often required of adpositions.
The following properties are characteristic of most adpositional systems.
Preposition stranding, sometimes called "P-stranding", is the syntactic construction in which a preposition appears without an object. Preposition stranding, sometimes called P-stranding, is the syntactic construction in which a Preposition occurs somewhere other than immediately next to In Linguistics, syntax (from Ancient Greek grc συν- syn-, "together" and grc τάξις táxis, "arrangement" is the In Grammar, a preposition is a Part of speech that introduces a prepositional phrase. An object in Grammar is a Sentence element and part of the sentence predicate. (The preposition is then described as "stranded" or "hanging". ) This construction is widely found in Germanic languages, including English and the North Germanic languages (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic); whether or not German and Dutch exhibit legitimate preposition stranding is debatable. The Germanic languages are a group of related languages that constitute a branch of the Indo-European (IE Language family. English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States The North Germanic languages or Scandinavian languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages P-stranding is also found in languages outside the Germanic family, such as Vata and Gbadi, two languages in the Niger-Congo family, and certain dialects of French spoken in North America. The Niger-Congo languages constitute one of the world's major language families, and Africa 's largest in terms of geographical area number of speakers and number French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people
In English, some grammarians frown upon preposition stranding; see Disputes in English grammar. Disputed English grammar denotes disagreement about whether given constructions constitute correct English.
Adpositions can be organized into subclasses according to various criteria. These can be based on directly observable properties (such as the adposition's form or its position in the sentence) or on less visible properties (such as the adposition's meaning or function in the context at hand).
Simple adpositions consist of a single word, while complex adpositions consist of a group of words that act as one unit. Some examples of complex prepositions in English are:
The boundary between simple and complex adpositions is not clear-cut. Many simple adpositions are derived from complex forms (e. g. with + in → within, by + side → beside) through grammaticalization. In Historical linguistics, grammaticalisation (also known as grammaticisation or grammatisation) is a process of linguistic change by which a Content This change takes time, and during the transitional stages the adposition acts in some ways like a single word, and in other ways like a multi-word unit. For example, current German orthographic conventions recognize the indeterminate status of the following adpositions, allowing two spellings:
The boundary between complex adpositions and free combinations of words is also a fuzzy one. The German language (de ''Deutsch'') is a West Germanic language and one of the world's major languages. For English, this involves structures of the form "preposition + (article) + noun + preposition". Many sequences in English, such as in front of, that are traditionally regarded as prepositional phrases are not so regarded by linguists.  The following characteristics are good indications that a given combination is "frozen" enough to be considered a complex preposition in English:
Complex prepositions develop through the grammaticalization of commonly-used free combinations. This is an ongoing process that introduces new prepositions into English. 
The surface position of an adposition with respect to its complement allows us to define the following subclasses:
These two terms are in fact much more commonly used than the more general adposition. Whether a language has primarily prepositions or postpositions is seen as an important aspect of its typological classification, correlated with many other properties of the language according to research into linguistic universals. Linguistic Typology is an international Peer-reviewed journal in the field of Linguistic typology, founded in 1997 A linguistic universal is a statement that is true for all Natural languages For example All languages have Nouns and Verbs, or All spoken
It is usually straightforward to say whether an adposition precedes or follows its complement, but in some cases, the complement may not appear in its "normal" position. For example, in preposition stranding constructions, the complement appears somewhere to the left of the preposition:
In other cases, the complement of the adposition is missing altogether:
The adpositions in these examples are generally still considered to be prepositions, because when they form a phrase with the complement (in more ordinary constructions), they must appear first.
Some adpositions can in fact appear on either side of their complement; these might be called ambipositions (Libert 2006):
An ambiposition may have distinct meanings, and it may govern distinct cases, depending on its position. The German language (de ''Deutsch'') is a West Germanic language and one of the world's major languages.
Another logical possibility is for the adposition to appear on both sides of its complement:
"Circumposition" can be useful as a descriptive term, although on closer inspection, most circumpositional phrases can be broken down into a more hierarchical structure, or given a different analysis altogether. For example, the Mandarin example above could be analyzed as a prepositional phrase headed by cóng ("from"), taking the postpositional phrase bīngxīang lǐ ("refrigerator inside") as its complement. Alternatively, the cóng may be analyzed as not being a preposition at all (see the section below regarding coverbs).
Melis (2003) proposes the descriptive term interposition for adpositions in the structures such as the following:
These phrases do require special attention, but the term "interposition" cannot be taken literally to mean that the adposition appears inside its complement (because the two nouns do not form a single phrase *mot mot or *page page). Genuine examples of "interposed" adpositions can be found in Latin (e. g. summa cum laude, lit. "highest with praise"), but these are always related to a more basic prepositional structure.
Although noun phrases are the most typical complements, adpositions can in fact combine with a variety of syntactic categories, much like verbs.
Also like verbs, adpositions can appear without a complement; see Adverbs below.
Some adpositions could be described as combining with two complements:
It is more commonly assumed, however, that Sammy and the following predicate first forms a small clause, which then becomes the single complement of the preposition. In some descriptions of English grammar small clauses are minimal predicate structures they possess arguments and predicates but no tense. (In the first example above, a word (such as as) may be considered to be ellided, which, if present, would clarify the grammatical relationship. In the grammar of a sentence an elliptical construction is a construction that lacks an element that is nevertheless recoverable or inferable from the context. )
Adpositions can be used to express a wide range of semantic relations between their complement and the rest of the context. The following list is not an exhaustive classification:
Most common adpositions are highly polysemous, and much research is devoted to the description and explanation of the various interconnected meanings of particular adpositions. Polysemy ( or) (from the Greek πολυσημεία = "multiple meaning" is the capacity for a sign (e In many cases a primary, spatial meaning can be identified, which is then extended to non-spatial uses by metaphorical or other processes.
In some contexts, adpositions appear in contexts where their semantic contribution is minimal, perhaps altogether absent. Such adpositions are sometimes referred to as functional or case-marking adpositions, and they are lexically selected by another element in the construction, or fixed by the construction as a whole.
It is usually possible to find some semantic motivation for the choice of a given adposition, but it is generally impossible to explain why other semantically motivated adpositions are excluded in the same context. The selection of the correct adposition in these cases is a matter of syntactic well-formedness.
Spatial adpositions can be divided into two main classes, namely directional and static ones. A directional adposition usually involves motion along a path over time, but can also denote a non-temporal path. Examples of directional adpositions include to, from, towards, into, along and through.
A static adposition normally does not involve movement. Examples of these include at, in, on, beside, behind, under and above.
Directional adpositions differ from static ones in that they normally can't combine with a copula to yield a predicate, though there are some exceptions to this, as in Bob is from Australia, which may perhaps be thought of as special uses. In traditional Grammar, a predicate is one of the two main parts of a sentence (the other being the subject, which the predicate modifies
Directional spatial adpositions can only combine with verbs that involve motion; static prepositions can combine with other verbs as well.
When a static adposition combines with a motion verb, it sometimes takes on a directional meaning. The following sentence can either mean that Bob jumped around in the water, or else that he jumped so that he ended up in the water.
In some languages, directional adpositions govern a different case on their complement than static ones. In Grammar, the case of a Noun or Pronoun indicates its Grammatical function in a greater Phrase or Clause; such as the In Grammar the term complement is used with different meanings For example, in German, directional adpositions govern accusative while static ones govern dative. The accusative case ( abbreviated ACC) of a Noun is the Grammatical case used to mark the Direct object of a Transitive Adpositions that are ambiguous between directional and static interpretations govern accusative when they are interpreted as directional, and dative when they are interpreted as static.
Directional adpositions can be further divided into telic ones and atelic ones. To, into and across are telic: they involve movement all the way to the endpoint denoted by their complement. In Grammar the term complement is used with different meanings Atelic ones include towards and along. When telic adpositions combine with a motion verb, the result is a telic verb phrase. In Linguistics, a verb phrase or VP is a syntactic structure composed of the predicative elements of a sentence and functions Atelic adpositions give rise to atelic verb phrases when so combined. 
Static adpositions can be further subdivided into projective and non-projective ones. A non-projective static adposition is one whose meaning can be determined by inspecting the meaning of its complement and the meaning of the preposition itself. A projective static adposition requires, in addition, a perspective or point of view. If I say that Bob is behind the rock you need to know where I am in order to know on which side of the rock Bob is supposed to be. If I say that your pen is to the left of my book you also need to know what my point of view is. No such point of view is required in the interpretation of sentences like your pen is on the desk. Projective static prepositions can sometimes take the complement itself as "point of view," if this provides us with certain information. For example, a house normally has a front and a back, so a sentence like the following is actually ambiguous between two readings: one has it that Bob is at the back of the house; the other has it that Bob is on the other side of the house, with respect to the speaker's point of view.
A similar effect can be observed with left of, given that objects that have fronts and backs can also be ascribed lefts and rights. The sentence, My keys are to the left of the phone, can either mean that they are on the speaker's left of the phone, or on the phone's left of the phone. 
Particular uses of adpositions can be classified according to the function of the adpositional phrase in the sentence.
Adpositional languages typically single out a particular adposition for the following special functions:
We observe many similarities in form between adpositions and adverbs. In Grammar, the voice (also called gender or diathesis of a verb describes the relationship between the action (or state that the verb expresses and the participants identified Some adverbs are transparently derived from the fusion of a preposition and its complement, and some prepositions have adverb-like uses with no complement:
It is possible to treat all of these adverbs as intransitive prepositions, as opposed to transitive prepositions, which select a complement (just like transitive vs intransitive verbs). This analysis could also be extended to other adverbs, even those that cannot be used as "ordinary" prepositions with a nominal complement:
A more conservative approach is to say simply that adverbs and adpositional phrases share many common functions.
Phrasal verbs in English are composed of a verb and a "particle" that also looks like an intransitive preposition. In Linguistics, the term particle is a word lacking a strict definition but has the function of changing the relation of the parts of the sentence to one another and is therefore The same can be said for the separable verb prefixes found in Dutch (and German).
Although these elements have the same lexical form as prepositions, in many cases they do not have relational semantics, and there is no "missing" complement whose identity can be recovered from the context. Dutch ( is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people 22 million of which are from the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname
The set of adpositions overlaps with the set of subordinating conjunctions (or complementizers):
All of these words can be treated as prepositions if we extend the definition to allow clausal complements. This treatment could be extended further to conjunctions that are never used as ordinary prepositions:
In some languages, the role of adpositions is served by coverbs, words that are lexically verbs, but are generally used to convey the meaning of adpositions. Coverbs is a term of General linguistics most often applied in languages with Serial verb construction, but also for Complex predicates consisting of two
For instance, whether prepositions exist in Chinese is sometimes considered an open question. Coverbs are often referred to as prepositions because they appear before the noun phrase they modify. However, unlike prepositions, coverbs can sometimes stand alone as main verbs. For instance, in Standard Mandarin, dào can be used in a prepositional or a verb sense:
From a functional point of view, adpositions and morphological case markings are strikingly similar. An adpositional phrase in one language often corresponds directly to a case-marked noun phrase in another language. For example, the agentive noun phrase in the passive construction in English is introduced by the preposition by, while in Russian it is marked by the instrumental case. Sometimes this can be observed within a single language. For example, in certain uses the genitive case in German is interchangeable with a von prepositional phrase.
Despite this functional similarity, adpositions and case markings are distinct grammatical categories:
Still, it can be difficult to draw a clear boundary between case markings and adpositions. For example, the post-nominal elements in Japanese and Korean are sometimes called case particles and sometimes postpositions. is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities This article is mainly about the spoken Korean language See Hangul for details on the native Korean writing system Sometimes they are analysed as two different groups because they have different characteristics (e. g. ability to combine with focus particles), but in such analysis, it is unclear which words should fall into which group.
In these examples, the case markings form a word with their hosts (as shown by vowel harmony, other word-internal effects and agreement of adjectives in Finnish), while the postpositions are independent words. Turkish ( tr Türkçe IPA) is a language spoken by over 63 million people worldwide making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Finnish ( or suomen kieli) is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland (92% As of 2006) and by ethnic Finns outside Vowel harmony is a type of long-distance ( see below) assimilatory phonological process involving Vowels in some languages
In ambiguous cases, there is not always a clear rule which adposition is appropriate, and different languages and regional dialects may have different conventions. Learning the conventionally preferred word is a matter of exposure to examples. For example, most dialects of American English have "to wait in line", but some have "to wait on line". Phonology North American English regional phonology In many ways compared to English English, North American English is conservative in its Phonology. It is for this reason that prepositions are one of the most difficult aspects of a language to learn for non-native speakers. In some cases, the preposition is not translated from one language into another, and is thus omitted. Those learning English may have difficulty distinguishing between the prepositions on, in, and at, as other languages may use only one or two prepositions for the equivalent of three in English. On the other hand, speakers of English learning Spanish or Portuguese have difficulty distinguishing between the prepositions por and para, as both frequently mean for in English. Portuguese ( or língua portuguesa) is a Romance language that originated in what is now Galicia (Spain and northern Portugal.