Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a part of speech (class of words) that express spatial or temporal relations (in, under, towards, before) or mark various semantic roles (of, for).
A preposition or postposition typically combines with a noun or pronoun, or more generally a noun phrase, this being called its complement, or sometimes object. A preposition comes before its complement; a postposition comes after its complement. English generally has prepositions rather than postpositions – words such as in, under and of precede their objects, such as in England, under the table, of Jane – although there are a few exceptions including “ago” and “notwithstanding”, as in “three days ago” and “financial limitations notwithstanding”. Some languages that use a different word order, have postpositions instead, or have both types. The phrase formed by a preposition or postposition together with its complement is called a prepositional phrase (or postpositional phrase, adpositional phrase, etc.) – such phrases usually play an adverbial role in a sentence.
A less common type of adposition is the circumposition, which consists of two parts that appear on each side of the complement. Other terms sometimes used for particular types of adposition include ambiposition, inposition and interposition. Some linguists use the word preposition in place of adposition regardless of the applicable word order.
From one side of an opening to the other.
“I went through the window.”
Entering, then later leaving.
“I drove through the town at top speed without looking left or right.”
Surrounded by (while moving).
“We slogged through the mud for hours before turning back and giving up.”
By means of.
“This team believes in winning through intimidation.”
To (or up to) and including, with all intermediate values.
“from 1945 through 1991;”
“the numbers 1 through 9;”
“your membership is active through March 15, 2013”
Passing from one side of something to the other.
“Interstate highways form a nationwide system of through roads.”
“They were through with laying the subroof by noon.”
Valueless; without a future.
“After being implicated in the scandal, he was through as an executive in financial services.”
No longer interested.
“She was through with him.”
Proceeding from origin to destination without delay due to change of equipment.
“The through flight through Memphis was the fastest.”
In possession of the ball beyond the last line of defence but not necessarily the goalkeeper; through on goal.
From one side to the other by way of the interior.
“The arrow went straight through.”
From one end to the other.
“Others slept; he worked straight through.”
“She read the letter through.”
To the end.
“He said he would see it through.”
“Leave the yarn in the dye overnight so the color soaks through.”
Out into the open.
“The American army broke through at St. Lo.”
A large slab of stone laid in a dry-stone wall from one side to the other; a perpend.
A coffin, sarcophagus or tomb of stone; a large slab of stone laid on a tomb.