English Prepositional Phrases: At, By, For, From, Under, and Without

A hand fills out a worksheet with prepositions

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Prepositional phrases are set phrases that are introduced by prepositions. These set phrases are also often used with specific verbs. The placement of prepositional phrases are often placed at the end of sentences. Here are some examples:

  • He learned the play by heart.
  • The company had to sell the property at a loss.
  • We decided to move to New York for better or worse.

Other prepositional phrases can also be placed at the beginning of sentences.

  • From my point of view, I'd say we need to change our provider.
  • By the way, Tom told me he would come over this afternoon.
  • From now on, let's try to talk once a week on the phone.

Prepositional phrases often have opposite forms such as at most/least, at a profit/loss, for better/worse, under obligation/no obligation, etc. It's important to learn to identify prepositional phrases, as they are used to connect ideas and modify verbs. Practice prepositions by quizzing yourself.


at first: You should only jog one mile at first.
at least: Peter tries to learn at least ten new words every day.
at most: The bus ride will take one hour at most.
at times: It can be difficult to use correct grammar at times.
at any rate: At any rate, I'll give you a call next week and we can discuss the plans.
at last: At last, I can finally relax a little bit this weekend!
at the latest: I'll finish the report by Monday at the latest.
at once: We need to leave at once.
at short notice: Will you be able to come at short notice?
at an advantage: I'm afraid Peter is at an advantage when it comes to golf.
at a disadvantage: It's true that I'm at a disadvantage, but I still think I can win.
at risk: Unfortunately, this tree is at risk of dying if we don't do something.
at a profit/loss: He sold the stock at a profit to make up for the stocks he had sold at a loss.


by accident: The boy lost his toy by accident.
by far: Practicing speaking is by far the most important thing to do.
by all means: He should take some time off by all means.
by heart: I learned the song by heart.
by chance: We met in New York by chance.
by and by: I'd like to learn some French by and by.
by the way: By the way, have you spoken to Alice yet?
by the time: He'll be finished by the time we're ready to leave.
by no means: Grammar is by no means the most difficult thing about learning English.
by name: I try to know all my students by name.
by sight: She can play almost anything on the piano by sight.
by now: He should be finished by now.
by then: I'll have dinner ready by then. 


for now: Let's take care of dinner for now.
for instance: For instance, you could get a job!
for example: For example, use a broom to clean up.
for sale: There are a number of beautiful dresses on sale.
for a while: I'd like to live in New Mexico for a while.
for the moment: For the moment, let's focus on getting this job done.
for ages: I've known Jennifer for ages.
for a change: Let's concentrate on grammar for a change.
for better or worse: Peter got a new job for better or worse. 


from now on: From now on, let's do a better job.
from then on: He decided to get serious from then on.
from bad to worse: Unfortunately, it looks like the world is going from bad to worse.
from my point of view: He's guilty from my point of view.
from what I understand: From what I understand, they will be in town next week.
from personal experience: She was speaking from personal experience. 


under age: Children under 18 are considered under age.
under control: Do you have everything under control?
under the impression: Jack was under the impression that it was easy.
under guarantee: Our refrigerator is still under guarantee.
under the influence of: Mary is obviously under the influence of her husband.
under no obligation: You'll be under no obligation to purchase this.
under suspicion: Tom is under suspicion of murder.
under his thumb: Jack has Peter under his thumb.
under discussion: A new building is under discussion.
under consideration: That idea is currently under consideration. 


without fail: He came to class without fail.
without notice: I'll have to leave without notice next week.
without exception: Sara gets As on her tests without exception.
without someone's consent: I'm afraid you can't come without Peter's consent.
without success: She grew tomatoes without success.
without warning: He might surprise you without warning.

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Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "English Prepositional Phrases: At, By, For, From, Under, and Without." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2020, thoughtco.com/prepositional-phrases-in-english-4086585. Beare, Kenneth. (2020, August 29). English Prepositional Phrases: At, By, For, From, Under, and Without. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/prepositional-phrases-in-english-4086585 Beare, Kenneth. "English Prepositional Phrases: At, By, For, From, Under, and Without." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/prepositional-phrases-in-english-4086585 (accessed June 4, 2023).