THIS page provides hundreds of example sentences taken from English literature, illustrating the use of various words.


Below are some examples of sentences from classic literature using words classed as Prepositions.

Prepositions include words such as:

after, as, before, by, down, for, from, in, on, over, to, under, up, with.

Prepositions join a Noun, Pronoun or Noun Phrase to the rest of the sentence. For example:

• Would he have to go into court as a witness? [Preposition + Noun Phrase]
Anthony Trollope

A Noun, Pronoun or Noun Phrase can be made the subject of a Verb, making a complete stand-alone sentence. For example:

could be vital.
[e.g. ‘A witness’, ‘It’, ‘The testimony of an honest man’]

If what follows your word already has a Verb, and so could stand by itself as a sentence, then your word is unlikely to be a Preposition.

• “Then spare my life, as I spared yours.” [Conjunction + Clause]
Charles Dickens

In this case, the Pronoun ‘I’ has a verb of its own (‘spared’) already, so ‘I spared yours’ isn’t a Noun Phrase, but a Clause. Consequently, ‘as’ is a Conjunction, not a Preposition.


Her entreaty had no effect on Tom.

From ‘Mansfield Park’, by Jane Austen.


The voice of calumny is never silent.

From ‘A Damsel in Distress’, by P.G. Wodehouse.


Various duties awaited me on my arrival.

From ‘Jane Eyre’, by Charlotte Brontë.


The clock ticked on through the silence.

From ‘Jill the Reckless’, by P.G. Wodehouse.


I am afraid she had no taste for music.

From ‘David Copperfield’, by Charles Dickens.


I coasted down a long hill to a bridge.

From ‘Mr Standfast’, by John Buchan.


“You’ve lost your sense of proportion.”

From ‘The Lost World’, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


I was often out in cold, rain, and sleet.

From ‘Great Expectations’, by Charles Dickens.


“He had always a taste for low company.”

From ‘The Return of Sherlock Holmes’, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


“Can you spare me for an hour or two?”

From ‘Northanger Abbey’, by Jane Austen.


I could scarcely see my way down the ladder.

From ‘Jane Eyre’, by Charlotte Brontë.


“Now I’m going out to shop for mother.”

From ‘The Cat and Fiddle Book’, by Lady Florence Bell.


Would he have to go into court as a witness?

From ‘Orley Farm’, by Anthony Trollope.


The Royal Fleet began in the reign of Henry VII.

From ‘Men of Invention and Industry’, by Samuel Smiles.


It was too pleasing a blunder for a reproach.

From ‘Persuasion’, by Jane Austen.


The apology was more unendurable than the insult.

From ‘The Moonstone’, by Wilkie Collins.


In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

From ‘The Hobbit’, by J.R.R. Tolkien.


Mingling with the idle rich carried its penalties.

From ‘Jill the Reckless’, by P.G. Wodehouse.


“I am sure they will be delighted with you.”

From ‘Northanger Abbey’, by Jane Austen.


It was as if I had heard a summons from Heaven.

From ‘Jane Eyre’, by Charlotte Brontë.

Picture: These six steam locomotives were special guests of the Threkeld Quarry and Mining Museum, near Keswick in Cumbria, for its steam gala in 2015. © Chris Allen, Geograph. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0. By Peter Trimming, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0.
Featured Word

I saw her face and dress by the light of the lamps.

From ‘Jane Eyre’, by Charlotte Brontë.

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