Difference Wiki

Preposition vs. Conjunction: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on November 22, 2023
Preposition is a word used to show the relationship between nouns/pronouns and other words. Conjunction connects clauses, sentences, or words.

Key Differences

A preposition is a part of speech that indicates the relationship of a noun or pronoun to other elements in the sentence, typically in terms of time, place, or manner. A conjunction, conversely, is used to link words, phrases, clauses, or sentences, expressing relationships like addition, contrast, or cause and effect.
Common prepositions include 'in', 'on', 'at', 'by', 'for'. They can be simple (like 'at'), compound ('along with'), or phrasal ('in front of'). Conjunctions are words like 'and', 'but', 'or', 'because', 'although', and can be coordinating (joining equals), subordinating (linking dependent clauses), or correlative (used in pairs, e.g., 'either...or').
Prepositions usually precede a noun or pronoun to form a prepositional phrase ('on the table'). Conjunctions can appear at the beginning of sentences ('But I disagreed.') or between the elements they are connecting ('Apples and oranges').
Prepositions provide necessary detail by specifying relationships, making a sentence more informative and precise. Conjunctions, however, are pivotal for sentence structure, ensuring coherence and connecting ideas or actions within or across sentences.
Prepositional use can be complex, with specific rules and exceptions based on context and usage. Conjunctions have fewer complexities but are crucial for understanding the structure and flow of language, especially in compound and complex sentences.

Comparison Chart


Shows relationship between words
Connects words, clauses, sentences


'in', 'on', 'at', 'by', 'for'
'and', 'but', 'or', 'because', 'although'


Simple, compound, phrasal
Coordinating, subordinating, correlative


Precedes nouns/pronouns
Can be at start or between elements


Adds detail to sentences
Ensures coherence and connection

Preposition and Conjunction Definitions


A word that shows the relationship of a noun/pronoun to another word.
The cat is under the table.


Bridges words or groups of words with similar grammatical structures.
Either you start now, or you'll be late.


A word used to link nouns, pronouns, or phrases to other words.
She sat beside her friend.


Links ideas in a sentence for coherence.
She plays the guitar and sings.


Indicates location, time, or direction in a sentence.
She arrived after the party started.


Connects two independent clauses or phrases.
I finished my work, so I went home.


Establishes a relationship of a noun to the rest of the sentence.
They walked along the beach.


Introduces an element of contrast, choice, or reason.
He's quiet, whereas his brother is talkative.


A connector that provides context in a sentence.
He read the book during the flight.


A word that connects clauses, sentences, or words.
I wanted to go, but I was too tired.


A word or phrase placed typically before a substantive and indicating the relation of that substantive to a verb, an adjective, or another substantive, as English at, by, with, from, and in regard to.


The act of joining.


To position or place in position in advance
Artillery that was prepositioned at strategic points in the desert.


The state of being joined.


Any of a class of non-inflecting words typically employed to connect a following noun or a pronoun, in an adjectival or adverbial sense, with some other word: a particle used with a noun or pronoun (in English always in the objective case) to make a phrase limiting some other word.


A joint or simultaneous occurrence; concurrence
The conjunction of historical and economic forces that created a depression.


An adposition.


(obsolete) A proposition; an exposition; a discourse.


To place in a location before some other event occurs.
It is important to preposition the material before turning on the machine.


A word employed to connect a noun or a pronoun, in an adjectival or adverbial sense, with some other word; a particle used with a noun or pronoun (in English always in the objective case) to make a phrase limiting some other word; - so called because usually placed before the word with which it is phrased; as, a bridge of iron; he comes from town; it is good for food; he escaped by running.


A proposition; an exposition; a discourse.
He made a long preposition and oration.


A function word that combines with a noun or pronoun or noun phrase to form a prepositional phrase that can have an adverbial or adjectival relation to some other word


(linguistics) the placing of one linguistic element before another (as placing a modifier before the word it modifies in a sentence or placing an affix before the base to which it is attached)


What is a prepositional phrase?

A prepositional phrase starts with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun, acting as a modifier providing additional context.

What are examples of prepositions?

Examples include "in," "on," "at," "by," "for," "with," "about," "under," and "over."

Can a preposition end a sentence?

Yes, a sentence can end with a preposition, especially in informal language or in questions where the object is implied or earlier in the sentence.

What is a preposition?

A preposition is a word used to express a relationship between other words in a sentence, typically indicating time, place, or direction.

Can prepositions be omitted?

In some cases, especially in informal speech, prepositions can be omitted if the meaning remains clear without them.

How do I choose the right preposition?

Preposition choice often depends on convention and specific context; it's best learned through reading, listening, and practice.

What are complex prepositions?

Complex prepositions consist of two or more words forming a single prepositional unit, like "in front of," "according to," and "because of."

Can prepositions be used in idiomatic expressions?

Yes, many idiomatic expressions in English include prepositions, like "out of the blue" or "at odds with."

How do prepositions function in a sentence?

Prepositions function to show the relationship between the noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence, often indicating location, time, or manner.

What is a conjunction?

A conjunction is a word that connects clauses, sentences, phrases, or words, showing how they are related.

Are prepositions different in other languages?

Yes, prepositions can vary significantly across languages, both in form and usage, and often don't have direct translations.

What are coordinating conjunctions?

Coordinating conjunctions connect elements of equal importance in a sentence, such as "and," "but," "or," "nor," "for," "yet," and "so."

Are conjunctions necessary in a sentence?

Conjunctions are not always necessary but are often used to make sentences more fluid and show relationships between ideas.

What are subordinating conjunctions?

Subordinating conjunctions connect a dependent clause to an independent clause, examples include "although," "because," "since," "unless," and "while."

How do conjunctions affect sentence structure?

Conjunctions can change sentence structure by connecting ideas in different ways, affecting the flow and complexity of sentences.

Are there differences in conjunction usage among English dialects?

Yes, there are some variations in conjunction usage among different English dialects, though the basic functions remain similar.

Can conjunctions be omitted?

In some cases, particularly in informal language, conjunctions can be omitted, especially if the relationship between ideas is implied.

Can conjunctions be used in compound sentences?

Yes, conjunctions are often used in compound sentences to connect two independent clauses.

What are correlative conjunctions?

Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions used together, like "either...or," "neither...nor," "not only...but also."

Can conjunctions start a sentence?

Yes, especially in informal writing or speech, conjunctions like "and," "but," and "so" can start a sentence.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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