Have you tried asking English language students why they are learning English? Some would probably give you the usual answers. But you would also probably hear something like, “I want to do well in my business” or “I want to volunteer for medical fieldwork in other countries.” You would probably be shaking your head in confusion or surprise. But the reality is, these people are just stating some of the practical uses of English. You see, half of the number of English language learners study the language with a specific goal in mind. That is, not all of them study the language just for the fun of it. These students are learning English for specific purposes. This article will be focusing on business English (with some preposition examples).

English for Specific Purposes

There are five common types of English for specific purposes. Most of the time, ESL (e.g. English as a Second Language) schools offer classes for these. The most common types of English for specific purposes classes teach the following:

Aviation English

  • English is the language of international air travel. This is why it is important for airline personnel to understand and know how to communicate in English.

Business English

  • English used for other professional purposes is called business English. Students who study business English will use this in doing tasks related to basic office settings. Tasks such as making reports, writing letters, and giving presentations will entail a decent knowledge of business English.

IELTS and TOEFL review

  • Review classes for IELTS and TOEFL are also available. This is usually taken by students who intend to take these two exams to further their careers. IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System. While TOEFL stands for the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Both of these are English language proficiency tests.

Medical English

  • A lot of medical professionals are leaving their native countries to work in larger English speaking countries. This is why medical English has never been more in demand. Doctors, nurses, hospital technicians, and even pharmacists make up the student body of a medical English class.

Tourism English

  • Tourism English classes are held for students to learn basic travel English. Travel English includes reading maps and asking for directions, among others.

Preposition Examples

As mentioned earlier, this article will be focusing on business English. This article will also be focusing on prepositions and how to use them, especially in business English. Some preposition examples will also be provided. Now, moving forward, what are prepositions?

Prepositions—like at, by, in and on—play such an important role in the English language. They relate words within a sentence with each other. In other words, a preposition is word that relates a noun, pronoun, verb, or adjective that appears with it to another word in the sentence. Prepositions may indicate place, time, and movement.

Prepositions of Time

Use at to indicate a specific time.

  • The bus leaves at 5:30 p.m.
  • Jackson arrived at 6 in the morning.

Use on to indicate days and dates.

  • Christmas break starts on December 20.
  • She will return on Thursday.

Use in to indicate non-specific times.

  • I like to jog in the morning.
  • They will start selling tickets in March.

Use for to measure time e.g. seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years.

  • Harry has lived with the Dursleys for sixteen years.
  • She was sick for three days.

Use since to indicate a specific date or time.

  • Kelly has been waiting in line since 12:30.
  • I have been coming to Rio since 2013.

Prepositions of Place

Use at to indicate a specific address.  

  • Harry Potter lives at No. 4 Privet Drive.
  • The bakery at 373 Maple Street sells the best cream puffs.

Use on to indicate names of streets, avenues, etc.

  • My apartment is on Beethoven Street.
  • Meg works at the coffee shop on Third Avenue.

Use in to indicate the names of cities, provinces, countries, and continents.

  • Sam bought his rare pen in Germany.
  • Dean tried to go on a safari adventure when he was in Zimbabwe.

Prepositions of Movement

Use to to indicate the result of a movement.

  • Alice walks with her cat Dinah to the park every day.
  • Dolphins swim to warmer seas during winter.

Use toward/towards to indicate the direction of a movement.

  • I saw Bella and Edward driving toward the mall.
  • Kyle was heading towards the library when I called him.

Although most prepositions are made up of single words, some prepositions are made up of more than one word. These prepositions are called compound prepositions. Some compound prepositions are spelled without any space between them. Some examples include without, throughout, underneath, and into. Meanwhile, compound prepositions spelled as separate words include according to, because of, and prior to.

Preposition Examples in Business English

Prepositions are quite common in business English. The following list provides preposition examples that are commonly used in business English:

preposition examples

The following list includes some compound preposition examples:

preposition examples

Prepositions at the End of a Sentence

As English language learners, you might have heard of some of the most prevalent grammar dos and don’ts. Some of these include rules on starting sentences with conjunctions, and rules about ending sentences with prepositions.

It is completely sound to end sentences with prepositions. Indeed, a preposition at the end helps lessen the formality of a sentence. It also helps make sentences sound less awkward, in spite of what has often been said. Take a look at these examples:

  • Who were you talking to?
  • To whom were you talking?
  • They asked him where he came from.
  • They asked from where he came.

In the above examples, both sentences are correct. But placing the prepositions at the end helps lessen the formal and serious tone of the sentence. Yes, business English strongly encourages formality. However, that does not mean that you are not allowed to end your sentences with a preposition when writing a business letter.

Below are some preposition examples and how they are used:

  • Metal straws are something I could live with.
  • She was not able to bring her point across.
  • Parents are allowed to bring their kids along.
  • You have to learn to trust the voice within.
  • There was no space to lay the equipment upon.
  • Tommy has not called since.
  • The news has been spread throughout.
  • He was a lucky kid. Unfortunately, the circumstance of his birth were anything but. 

In Conclusion

The English language is evolving continuously. Therefore, it is quite alright to ignore them. So, go ahead and start your sentences with buts and ands, and do not be afraid to end them with abouts and fors. What do you think about this lesson? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Read: Pronoun Examples and its Uses for Writing and Speaking