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The entry for "preposition" is displayed below.
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
prep•o•si•tion1 /ˌprɛpəˈzɪʃən/USA pronunciation
n. [countable]WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
prep•o•si•tion•al, adj. [before a noun]:The phrase at 17 Lexington Avenue is a prepositional phrase.See -pos-.
- Grammarone of a group of words used before nouns and pronouns to form phrases that give more information about a verb, noun, or other phrase, usually expressing a relationship of time, place, or the like:Some prepositions in English are on, by, to, with, or since.
(prep′ə zish′ən),USA pronunciation n. [Gram.]
- Grammar, Pronounsany 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.
- Latin praepositiōn- (stem of praepositiō) a putting before, a prefix, preposition. See pre-, position
- Middle English preposicioun 1350–1400
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;
(prē′pə zish′ən),USA pronunciation v.t.
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.
- to position in advance or beforehand:to preposition troops in anticipated trouble spots.
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
preposition /ˌprɛpəˈzɪʃən/ n
Etymology: 14th Century: from Latin praepositiō a putting before, from pōnere to placeˌprepoˈsitional adj ˌprepoˈsitionally adv USAGE
- a word or group of words used before a noun or pronoun to relate it grammatically or semantically to some other constituent of a sentence
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