: Business Grammar Builder. : (.. .. )


: 4302

Unit 38 prepositions of place



1 A man with a scarf around his neck is in a lift. He is leaning against the wall of the lift. The lift is coming up from the street below.

2 In a moment the man will walk through the lift doors and into the office. He will put his jacket on the coat stand which is by/near the lift.

3 There is a man waiting for the lift. He has pressed the button

to go down.

4 On the other side of the lift doors is Jane. She is walking away from the lift across the room, past the photocopier towards a meeting room.

5 Jack is beside/next to the photocopier. Above the photocopier is a shelf. He is moving the boxes of paper off the shelf onto the floor.

6 Sue and Mark are sitting at their desks opposite each other. Their computers are in front of them on their desks. Between them is a waste-paper bin and the photocopier is behind


7 Mark has put his coat over the back of his chair. Sue's bag is under her chair.

8 Sue is putting a letter inside an envelope and Mark is taking something out of his drawer.



On an impulse he threw up his job and went abroad.(=to suddenly leave a job or a course of study)

 At or in? A


 We use at to talk about the position of something, or about the place where something happens. At shows a general location. Meet me at my office. There's someone at the door. (position) I'll see you at the meeting. (where something happens)


 We use in with the name of a container, place or area to show you: someone or something is inside it. There's plenty of paper in the photocopier.


 Study these examples for public buildings:


I'll see you at the airport. (the place in general)

I'll see you in the airport terminal. (inside the building)

/ had a hard day at the office. (perhaps I spent some time out of the building)

I'll be back in the office at three, (inside the building)


 Expressions with at, in and on B


 Note these fixed expressions with at

at the front/back at the top/bottom at the beginning /end

at the seaside at the station /airport at home/work/school


 Note these fixed expressions with in:

in the middle in my hand in a queue /line /row

in the corner in the country in a book/magazine/newspaper

in the mirror in the photo/picture in hospital/prison in the chair (= in charge of the meeting)


 Note these fixed expressions with on:

on the left/right on television/the radio on the phone/the computer

on the screen on the page/map on the M6 (motorways and roads)

on the first floor on the platform/pavement on the Rhine (rivers)

on the plane/bus/train (but in a car/taxi because you are contained in a smaller space where you can't stand up)


 With addresses, we use in for the street name and at when we say the street number as well. Americans use on for streets. Our offices are in Piccadilly Our offices are at 14 High Street. I went shopping on Fifth Avenue.



Every time she asked for her money back they kept putting her off with some excuse or other.(=to delay meeting someone, talking to someone, paying someone etc)

 Above/below, Over/under C


 Above/below mean 'higher/lower than'. They can be used without an object.

The floor above/below us is occupied by an insurance company From the mountain I could see the lake below.


 Over/under mean 'directly above/below'. They both need an object. We flew right over Windsor Castle on our way into Heathrow. There's still a lot of oil under the sea.


Over can also be used for movement. In this case it is like 'across'. We have to go over/across to the other side of the street.

Over can also mean 'covering'.

They've put a plastic sheet over the hole in the roof.


 All four words can be used for positions in a management hierarchy. Above me

is the Sales Director. Under me there are four sales staff.


 Opposite, next to/beside, near/by D


 Opposite means exactly on the other side of a space. We sat opposite each other in the meeting.


 Next to and besides mean exactly at the side of. Beside can be more formal.

John should sit next to/beside Irene at the meeting.


 Near means close to . By means at the side of. There are one or two good restaurants near here. Can we have a table by the window?



When the worldwide economic recession set in, many poorer nations faced bankruptcy.(=if a difficult period sets in, it begins and seems likely to continue)



Exercise 1 ( A, B, C, D)

Complete this email by choosing the correct preposition from the list below.

Towards over past through in front of by in to at (2) on (2)



Exercise 1 ( A, B, C, D)


Complete this email by putting one suitable word in each space. As well as the words in sections A, B, C, and D it is also possible to use to.




Twenty staff walked out yesterday when a colleague was fired.(=to stop working in order to protest about something)

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