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Prepositions of neither space nor time

Some prepositions describe relationships between people or things. These prepositions don’t include information about time or space.



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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hey grammarians, we've talked about prepositions of time and we've talked about prepositions of space and I couldn't come up with a cute name for these because the following five prepositions are examples of what we would call prepositions that have connotations for neither time nor space. Some of them do have time connotations and some of them do have physical connotations and what we're going to talk about today, however, are the uses of these words, these prepositions, that don't have anything to do with time or space, they just have, they encode other relationships. Let's get to it, I'll show you what I mean. When we say about it can mean you're talking about a specific subject. So I could say to you, "Tell me about yourself!" The word by can be used to denote agency or doing this. You'll see what I mean by that. I mean we can figure out who is responsible for something with the use of the word by. The book was written by Sudhir. So who did the thing? Sudhir did the thing, he's the person with agency, he's the doer. The word for denotes use. So if you were to ask me, for example, "David what's a wood chipper used to do?" I would say, "It's for chipping wood, "for turning wood into chips, it's purpose is chipping." Of has this connotation of belonging or being part of a place. So we can talk about the great green dragon of Inverness. Inverness is a place, it's in Scotland. Are there dragons there? I don't know, I've never been. And with means together or part of. There goes that snail with the painted shell which indicates that the snail and the shell are part and parcel, they're together. So yeah, so these prepositions can be used for all sorts of things. I understand this can be confusing. Prepositions are probably the most complicated part of English and the problem is you just need to memorize them. But the good thing is that there aren't that many because, as I've said before, prepositions are a closed group, we don't mint new ones. So you don't have to be constantly trying to collect more ones, or pick them up, or figure them out. You have a limited set that you need to master and the way to do that is to read, and listen, and talk a lot. You can do that, you can learn anything, David out.