SAT Essay Writing and Language
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Cats think outside of the box, too. Here's a lesson on unnecessary prepositions.

grammar prepositions unnecessary

Hopefully, you caught that error. The saying is “think outside the box.” Sometimes, prepositions are used when they are not necessary. This often happens when we speak, but we don’t notice. It’s important to remember that we write differently from how we speak. Writing is more formal and less conversational. We often use prepositions that are unnecessary, but they create wordiness and need to be eliminated. Just stop. Be concise. Why are you doing that for? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.


What is a preposition? A preposition is a word or group of words that show a relationship between a noun or pronoun to another word in the sentence. They provide more information, like when, where, or why. Some common prepositions are at, before, beyond, by, for, from, in, of, on, out, to, up, and with. There are plenty more and a quick internet search can give you a complete list.


These sentences have unnecessary prepositions.


I have somewhere to be at today.

  • The preposition “at” is unnecessary and should be eliminated.
  • The sentence communicates the same idea without “at” and should be:

I have somewhere to be today.


Our teacher needs to separate out the talkative students from the rest of the class.   

  • The preposition “out” is unnecessary.
  • The sentence communicates the same idea without “out” and should be:

Our teacher needs to separate the talkative students from the rest of the class.


Do you have time to meet up with me after waffle-making class?

  • The prepositions “up” and “with” are unnecessary.

Quiz Yourself! Identify the unnecessary preposition in each sentence.


  1. Did you use up all of the shampoo?
  2. Where are you going to?
  3. It’s kind to help out your little brother.
  4. Can you reach for the chocolate on the top shelf?
  5. Where should I put my jacket at?

Answer Key

  1. Did you use up all of the shampoo?
  2. Where are you going to?
  3. It’s kind to help out your little brother.
  4. Can you reach for the chocolate on the top shelf?
  5. Where should I put my jacket at?

How did you do? Hopefully, this lesson was helpful and you found them all. Now, try to go through your day and avoid using unnecessary prepositions when you write an email or send a text. Why would you do that for? It’s a fun way to practice this skill and you will probably be surprised at how often we use unnecessary prepositions.


Thanks again for visiting The Test Prep Spot. I would love to hear your thoughts about this lesson. If you have a comment, please leave it below. Have a wonderful day and use your prepositions efficiently!



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