Prepositions of location are a very helpful piece of grammar.
They tell us important information about something we want: where it is. Here’s an example. Imagine you’re travelling in another country.
Tourist: Excuse me, where is the bathroom?
Resident: It’s behind this building, next to the coffee shop.
If you aren’t familiar with words like behind or next to, finding a bathroom might prove to be more difficult.
Even simple prepositions like in, on, and under can be helpful, and sometimes funny.
Recently in a class of toddlers, we were finishing a song with, “one little finger… put it on your… nose.” 6 children had their pointer fingers where they should be, touching their noses.
But one little boy had his finger securely inside his nose.
“No, no, no, on your nose.” I said, “not in your nose.”
I’m certain he understood the meaning, but when you’re little and your finger is so close to your nose, sometimes it’s hard to resist the temptation.
Here’s a quick tip for prepositions of location related to transportation: Why do we say “in the car”, but “on the train”?
Generally we use on for public transportation. A good rule of thumb is if you can stand up inside the vehicle, we use on.