15 | 03 | 2013
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3a Prepositions - Предлоги

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Level: high beginner - intermediate.

This is a lesson in 3 parts. The topic is prepositions of location and direction. The list of prepositions is long, so this is meant to be a review and not an introduction.

Practice with Prepositions (Part One)

In this lesson, we’re going to look at words to answer the question where,


for example, in front of the lion, in the snow, at the hospital.

The list of these prepositions for location and direction is quite long, but we’ll take it by step by step and I think by the end of lesson, you’ll feel more comfortable using them.


First, let’s gain a basic understanding of prepositions.

[see screen and listen]


These are the object of prepositions.


[see screen and listen]


We’re going to start prepositions of location. “Location” means where someone or something is.


At and In


At means a general place , a point.


So we say at school, at the theater, at the beach. In means an area, a place with limits.


For example, a city has a limit, so we say in Mew York. The swimming pool has an area, area for swimming; it also has limits because it has size so we say in the swimming pool. The box also has a size; it has a top / and a bottom as well / so we say in the box.


Let’s try an exercise. I want you to complete the following sentences with at or in. You read the sentence to yourself and then I’ll tell you the answer. [see screen and listen] Let’s pause for a second / because this is interesting sentence.

The correct answer is at the bank / because we’re making a general statement: where’s Oliver? He’s at the bank. 

You can’t say in the bank, but then you’re explaining that he’s inside the building, and not outside. If that explanation is not important, then it’s best to say at the bank. 


[see screen and listen]


Now let’s talk about “On.”


[see screen and listen]


Let’s pause and try another exercise.


This time I want you to complete the sentences with on or in.

[see screen and listen] 


Again read the sentence to yourself and then I’ll tell you the answer. 


[see screen and listen


That’s the end of Part 1, be sure to check out Part 2 so we can finish our discussion of / prepositions of location.


A fellow teacher requested material on prepositions of location to accompany an old video of mine that addresses this topic. I’ll share two activities below that would serve as a review of a large set of prepositions. If you have ideas of your own, please feel free to share them.

  • Quirky Questions

Create several items as follows: Give a choice of two prepositions followed by an object. Ask the students to create two questions with both prepositions. They must then answer the questions appropriately. This can be done as a class or in pairs.

Model:                 in / on   – your head

                                Q: What’s in your head?              

                                A:  A brain.

                                Q: What can be on your head?

                                A: A hat.


  1. in/ on            – a house during a cold winter
  2. in/ on            – a refrigerator
  3. on/ under    – a kitchen table
  4. next to/ in   – a swimming pool
  5. near/ at       – a beach
  6. on/ opposite  – a theater stage
  7. beside/ on   – your bed
  8. above/ in  – the trees
  • Scenic Portraits (A spin on a classic activity)

STEP 1 – Create five categories: places, professions, animals, foods, containers. As a class, list 3-4 items for each category. Ask questions to prompt students. For example: Name a place you like to visit. Name a place you don’t like spending time in. Name an interesting profession. Name an animal you’re scared of. Etc.


PLACES: beach, mountains, work, hospital

PROFESSIONS:  astronaut, dancer, soccer player

ANIMALS: snake, bat, bear, shark

FOODS: banana, spaghetti, ice cream

CONTAINERS (things that hold other things): box, backpack, purse

STEP 2 – Have students work in pairs. Both must try to draw the same picture without looking at each other’s work. Student A will choose one or two items from each category and explain where people and objects are in relation to each other. Students A and B will draw their pictures without comparing until the last direction is given.

Model: “A dancer and a soccer player are at the beach.

The dancer is on the left.

The soccer player is on the right.

There is a box next to the soccer player.

A banana is in the box. There’s a shark in the ocean. The dancer and soccer player are standing in front of the ocean.”

VARIATION: Create a similar text as a class. Then have each student draw the scene. Compare pictures to be sure the placement of all objects is accurate (and to enjoy everyone’s art skills, or lack thereof!)



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