Prepositions: Ideas for Teachers

Here are some ideas for teaching with the materials.

The materials and lesson plans assume that your students are at an intermediate level or above and already have some knowledge of the grammatical features highlighted on the website. There are of course many ways in which you could adapt the materials for use in class, with different permutations of individual work, pair work and group work, and the ideas below are just suggestions to prompt your own creativity. If you would like to share your teaching ideas for the materials please contact me and we can put your ideas up on the English for Uni blog. My email address is

I do not know how long your classes are, so the ideas below can be adapted in any way you like. You might want to spend longer on some features than others, or you might want to use a flipped/inverted classroom approach and give the students some things to do before class and use the class time to discuss particularly difficult areas.

The website materials and exercises can be downloaded as a PowerPoint presentation, PDF files, or as Word files if you want to adapt them yourself.

If you want to use the website exercises in class, I’ve found that it works well to put a QR code up on a screen for the students to scan so they can go directly to an exercise. To generate a QR code, copy the URL for the exercise and then paste it into a QR code generator, such as this one: You can use this in a very basic way, with all the custom suggestions, and produce a black and white code to copy using either a screen shot or the snipping tool. Then paste this code into a PowerPoint slide and project it on a screen or wall. It takes less than a minute to do this and the students enjoy using the code.

You could also give students a copy of the video transcript and ask them to act out the story. They could even change the story to include different prepositions and make a video of their final product.

These teaching suggestions can be downloaded as a PowerPoint, PDF or in Word format.

  • Suggestion 1 - Focus: Prepositions in academic English

    1. Prepare a version of the prepositions song with gaps where the prepositions are.
    2. Play the opening of the video With a Revolver in the Library. Stop before the song. Highlight the words ‘with’ and ‘in’ in the title. Ask the students what they think the focus of today’s lesson will be.
    3. Give the students a gap-fill copy of the prepositions song. Ask them to fill in the gaps if they can. Then listen to the song (more than once if necessary) and get them to fill in anything they have missed and correct any prepositions they have got wrong.
    4. Focus on the prepositions on and in. Show the students the prepositions continuum from the bottom of the Cognitive Linguistics section of the webpage. Ask them to add their own words to the chart, depending on their own first language.
    5. Use the chart to prompt discussion about prepositions and their alternatives (either different prepositions or different ways of expressing the relationship between two things) in other languages.
    6. Play the rest of the With a Revolver in the Library video story and the short teaching section that follows it.
    7. Give the students a copy of the video story text and ask them to highlight and discuss the use of prepositions in the story. (Give different groups different sections to work on.) Can they make a list of prepositional collocations from the text? The whole text is also viewable on the website in the section Prepositions in the Video Story.
    8. Ask students to do exercise 1, either online or in printed format.
    9. Set exercises 2 and 3 as homework.