• Daniel Bullock

13 great prepositions of movement to improve English skill

man running up the road, down the street
Perfect your English grammar by learning correct preposition use

Let’s find out about 13 great prepositions of movement

It can be difficult to know how to use prepositions of accurately, let alone prepositions of movement or direction accurately, and learners of English struggle when choosing which word to use and where to put it in a sentence.

Here we will show you the best preposition for each situation and also demonstrate how best to fit them into sentences. You will see how native speakers of English use prepositions. There is more information here about prepostions of place - specifically how to use in, on and at in a gramaticically correct and natural way.

Tablele of contents

1. What are prepositions of movement?

2. Top 13 table of prepositions

3. What are the most common prepositions of movement in English?

4. 13 great examples of prepositions of moevement

5. Why you need prepostions of movement and direction

What are prepositions of movement and how do you use them?

Prepositions of movement (or prepositions in general ) are placed before a noun (a thing), a pronoun like he or she, or a noun phrase, like the back streets or the old town . They are used to indicate movement and connect the person or thing to other things. For instance: “Jack went from his house to the shop” Here, we connected to Jack to his house and shop, all in one sentence.

There are many prepositions used in English to show direction or movement. This table will show you some of the more common ones to help you with your English grammar and vocabulary.

A table of 13 great prepositions of movement and direction


Jack walked to the shops with his mother.


Maria came to the UK from Spain to study English.


I am going to walk up the street


Walking down the street is easier than walking up it!


I walked my dog under the bridge.


She is moving towards her goal of improving her English grammar skills.

away from

You should stay away from that big dog, it may bite you if you aren't careful!


Walk past the traffic lights to reach the English school.


When you walk across the road, you must always look both left and right.


You can see many kinds of shops if you walk through the mall.


Hop off the bus whenever you want to.


You have now got onto the advanced English course, well done!


Tim moved around the country a lot before settling down.

What are the most common prepositions of movement?

The most common preposition of movement is to. It is used in so many situations, so this frequency has made it the most common preposition of movement. Other very common prepositions of movement or direction include up, down and towards

preposition to, the beach, grammar
Shall we go to the beach this summer?

What are some examples of prepositions in English? Here are 13!

Now we will show you 13 great examples of prepositions of movement and direction, along with top tips on how best to use them. This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are in fact more meaning than I have stated here, but for the sake of clarity I have just included the main meanings. If you would like to know more about the meanings including additional meanings I would suggest checking a good dictionary such as Miriam Webster.

1. The preposition to

The word to is used to talk about movement toward a place, for example when a person visits a shop or goes to an English school!

How do we use to in English?

I would like to go to the park on the weekend.


Your house is a mile to the south of the library.

2. The preposition from

The word from is used to talk about the starting point of a person or thing.

How do you use from in English?

Takahiro came from the city of Kyoto a few years ago. Also


To improve your English skills it is helpful to speak to people from native English speaking countries.

3. The preposition up

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary up is used as a function word to indicate motion to or toward or situation at a higher point of.

How do you use up in English?

They went up the stairs to bed a few minutes ago.

I rowed my boat up the river for a while.

up, down, river, row a bot
The boys are rowing up the river (or possibly down!)

4. The preposition down

This is the opposite of up. We can also say down when we write something onto paper.

How do you use down in English?

Please write down a message to Mrs. Smith for me.

If you walk down the street for a few minutes you will find a nice Italian restaurant!

5. The preposition under

The preposition under means below or beneath. It can also mean you are subordinate to someone in a working situation.

How do you use under in English?

You will find some fresh clothes under the bed.

I have been working under Mr. Smith for a few years now. He is a great supervisor.

6. The preposition towards

The preposition towards means in the direction of. It can also mean in relation to something.

How do you use towards in English?

Excuse me, me how do I get to the bank from here?

It’s very easy. Just head towards the river and you’ll see the bank on your right.

My parents put a lot of money towards my university education.

7. The preposition away from

The prepositional phrase away from has a few meanings. According to English grammar today, away from can mean: At another place. Disappearing from sight. Moving out of. From here to another place.

How do you use away from in English?

Janet moved away from home at just 16 years old.

The sun slowly faded away from sight under the buildings.

8. The preposition past

The word past has a few different meanings. It means someone is too old to do something, usually a child or teenager. It can also mean the direction someone is going.

How do you use past in English?

Jennifer is past watching those cartoons now. She is more interested in dramas and movies.

How do I get to the English school from here?

What part of traffic lights and the corner shop, then you will find the English school on your left.

9. The preposition across

This means to move from one side of something to the other. Also it means somethings stretches from one spot to another spot.

How do you use across in English?

They want to across the bridge in single file.

The Humber Bridge in the UK stretches across the river Humber. It is truly a massive bridge.

English preposition across, how to use
Why not drive across the Humber Bridge?

10. The preposition through

When something or someone travels into and out of something such as a tunnel or a building. It can also mean the way or method of reaching a goal or result. For example you got big muscles through weight lifting.

How do you use through in English?

Someday I would like to travel through the United States by car.

It is through hard work and studying well that you can become fluent and accurate in English.

11. The preposition off

Off indicates separation from something, like removing your hat from your head. It can also mean you’ve got something from somebody. For example, you received a gift from a friend.

How do we use off in English?

Where did you get that hat?

Oh I got it off Jack, he gave it to me.


In order to open the yogurt you need to take the lid off the bottle.

12. The preposition onto

Onto indicates that something was put on the top of something else, like a blanket on a bed. It can also mean a state of awareness - for instance you understand a method of doing something, like studying or building.

How do you use onto in English?

Jack put his cap onto his head and strode out the door.

I think you are onto a great idea. Reading lots of books is a super way to improve your English vocabulary!

cap, onto, head, prepositional phrase
Jack put a cap onto his head because the sun was bright

13. The preposition around

You might be wondering what around means? One of the main meanings is something that is surrounding another thing. For example a fence encircling a house.

How do you use around in English?

There is a high wall around the garden.

There are beaches around the coastline of most of Australia. It has some of the longest beaches in the world!

Why you need prepostions of movement and direction

I hope you have found this demonstration of prepositions of movement useful, and can now see that they are very effective in showing what we are doing, and also how we do these things. If you can start using these prepositions frequently, I am sure you will start sounding both more natural and more concise in your English. That is definitely my experience of teaching students here at Daniel's English Club - once students start paying attention to using prepostions and also other grammar areas, they really start to improve.