Home > Literary Arts > Prepositions and Conjunctions

Learn about Prepositions and Conjunctions

Use this online lesson on Prepositions and Conjuctions in English grammar for elementary, middle school, high school and college students and teachers to learn and understand what Prepostions and Conjuctions are, and how they should be used correctly in writing and English Grammar.



Prepositions and Subordinating Conjunctions | Prepositions and Coordinating Conjunctions | Prepositions and Correlative Conjunctions


Prepositions and conjunctions are relationship words that are used to connected elements in the sentence. Prepositions and the several kinds of conjunctions perform different functions and should be carefully distinguished from each other.

Prepositions and subordinating conjunctions can be distinguished from each other by what follows them and because there are a limited number of subordinating conjunctions.

The preposition if followed by a nominal. The nomimal can be a noun, pronoun, gerund phrase, or noun clause.

          because of the bad weather [The noun weather is the object of the preposition because of.]

          before leaving home [The gerund phrase leaving home is the object of the preposition before.]

          after what he had done [the noun clause what he had done is the object of the preposition after.]

The subordinating conjunction is followed by a subject-verb structure with no other relationship work involved. Thus he had done can follow a subordinating conjunction, and what he had done can follow a preposition.

          because the weather was bad [Because is a subordinating conjunction introducing the subordinate clause.]

          before he left home [Before is a subordinating conjunction introducing the subordinate clause.]

Before, after, since, as, until are both preposition and subordinating conjunction depending on what follows: Since this morning, since you went away.

If, when, while, although and some others are subordinating conjunctions that can have their subject-verb structures transformed so that they begin to look like prepositional phrases.

          when you were mopping the floor

          when mopping the floor

          if it is at all possible

          if at all possible

          although he was very angry

          although very angry

Most prepositions and subordinating conjunctions by their function are not easily confused with each other.

Prepositions           Subordinating Conjunctions
in                                          if
by                                         why
for                                         how
beneath                                 although
because of                             because
than                                      that
except                                   than
as                                         as

Despite the sustained campaign of advertising agencies, like is still a preposition.

          Like ~*~~ I was saying, it's going to rain. [As I was saying is the preferred form.]

          Like me, Hans enjoyed soccer.

          Samsons smell good like ~*~~ a walnut should. [As a walnut should is still preferred in the standard dialect.]


Coordinating conjunctions join sentence elements of equal importance. These conjunctions are and, but, or, nor, for, yet. They may join a word to another word (bread and better), a phrase to another phrase (into the oven or over the fire), an independent clause to another independent clause (He wanted to learn, but he hated to study), a dependent clause to another dependent clause (Matilda came in after I arrived but before dinner was served).

Coordinating conjunctions are occasionally used effectively to introduce a sentence.

          He said he would do it. And he did.

          She swore that she told the truth. Yet she lied.


Correlative conjunctions are pairs of words used to joint sentence elements of equal importance. they are words like both . . . and, either . . . or, neither . . . nor, not only . . . but also.

          Either you go now, or you stay here forever.


To Use other lessons in our Language Arts go to out Language Arts Index page