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Prepositions with Movement Verbs

Many prepositions go together with verbs. They are often used together as a set.

Today we will look at the prepositions that we use with verbs of movement. These are verbs like the following - go, come, travel, walk, run, fly, crawl, etc.

We often use the following prepositions with verbs of movement – to, into, in, out of, at, towards, back, and around.

Let's go over each preposition, see how it is used, and look at some example sentences.

To

"To" is the most common preposition used with verbs of movement. Use it like this.

...verb + to + a place, event, or direction
  • I want to go to a concert tonight.
  • She traveled to China last year.
  • I have never been to Europe.
  • The baby crawled to his mother.
  • She needs to go to the bank.
  • They are walking to work.
Into / In / Out of

"Into" or "in" have the same meaning as the verb "enter". "Out of" has the same meaning as the verb "exit".
  • She walked into the room.
    (=She walked in the room.)

  • He ran into the room and excitedly started talking.
  • They ran out of the building because there was a fire.
  • She was angry and she walked out of the meeting.
  • She got in her car and left.
We can also use "into" to say that we hit something. This is used for accidents.
  • I was looking at my phone while walking and I ran into the door.
  • The bird flew into the window and died.
"Run into + somebody" is a common expression that means to meet somebody by chance. There was no plan to meet the person, it just happened.
  • I ran into Kathy at the store.
  • She ran into her ex-boyfriend at the concert.
  • Have you ever run into a celebrity?
At / Towards

We use "at" and "towards" with verbs of movement to tell what direction the person or thing is going.
  • The lion ran at me.
  • The child walked towards her mother.
  • My boss walked angrily towards me.
We also use "arrive at + destination".
  • We arrived at the hotel at 5 pm.
  • She arrived at the party late.
Back

We use "back" to show that we are returning to the place where we started.
  • I ran back home because I forgot my keys.
  • Let's go back to the hotel. I'm tired.
  • I am going to Thailand tomorrow, and I will fly back here next Friday.
Around

We use "around" to show movement in no particular direction.
  • We walked around the park.
  • He drives around the city when he is bored. He doesn't go anywhere in particular. He just likes to drive around and look at the people.
  • The children ran around the playground.
"Around" can also mean to move in a circle around another object.
  • He runs around the lake every morning.
  • Why is the dog running around the house?
  • The birds are flying around in a circle.
Knowing these well will make it easier for you to speak English. It will help you speak English more fluently and naturally.

Prepositions are one of the hardest things for people who are learning English to master. But you should not worry about prepositions too much. Most times, if you make a mistake with a presentation, the other person can still understand what you are saying. However, if you want to be an excellent or fluent English speaker, then you must know when you use the correct English preposition. It will take time to master English prepositions, but if you study these lessons and come back to review them often, then you will gain a better understanding of how and when to use each English preposition.

It is also important to remember that sometimes multiple prepositions can be used in the same place and the sentence or question has the same meaning. But sometimes, changing just the preposition can completely change the meaning of the sentence or question.

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