Formal Prepositions to Score Band 7.0 or Higher in IELTS (Part 2)

Formal Prepositions to score Band 7.0 or Higher in IELTS (Part 2)

Let’s gear yourself up for the IELTS Writing & Speaking with “academic” prepositions that are not so frequently used but suitable for academic writing and speaking. Learning these words and expressions will help you boost your IELTS score as well as contributing to your academic pursuit.


  1. in the middle of or during something, especially something that causes excitement or fear

Example:     He finished his speech amid tremendous applause.

  1. Surrounded by something

Example:        The hotel was in a beautiful position amid lemon groves.

Apropos/Apropos of

Regarding, concerning or related to somebody/something

Example:              Apropos our date for lunch, I cannot go.


With one leg on each side of something, situated on both sides of something; lying across or over; spanning

Example:  Rights groups urged the Indonesian government to block a proposed law banning women from sitting astride motorcycles in deeply Islamic Aceh province, where the position is deemed “improper”.


  1. Across, from one side to the other
    Example:    They put a table athwart the doorway.
  1. Not agreeing with, opposite to
    Example:      His statement ran athwart what was previously said.


On top of, at the top of
Example:        Fruit and vegetable prices rose 1.3 per cent atop a 2 per cent gain last month.


Except for, unless there is/are

Example:        Barring accidents, we should arrive on time.


  1. In or to a lower position than somebody/something; under somebody/something
    Example:         They found the body buried beneath a pile of leaves.
  2. Not good enough for somebody
    Example:        He considers such jobs beneath him.


  1. Next to or at the side of somebody/something
    Example:       He sat beside her all night.
  2. Compared with somebody/something
    Example:        My painting looks childish beside yours.


In addition to somebody/something; apart from somebody/something

Example:        Besides working as a doctor, he also writes novels in his spare time.


  1. On or to the further side of something
    Example:        The road continues beyond the village up into the hills.
  1. Later than a particular time
    Example:        I know what I’ll be doing for the next three weeks but I haven’t thought beyond that.
  1. More than something
    Example:        Our success was far beyond what we thought possible.
  1. Used to say that something is not possible
    Example:     The situation is beyond our control.
  2. Too far or too advanced for somebody/something
    Example:        The exercise was beyond the abilities of most of the class.


(used with dates) about, in approximately

Example:       She was born circa 1920.


About something, involving somebody/something

Example:        All cases concerning children are dealt with in a special children’s court.

SynonymsApropos, Regarding, Respecting, With respect to, As for, As regards, In respect of, With regard to, In regard to


Used to show that you are thinking about a particular fact, and are influenced by it, when you make a statement about something

Example:        Considering he has only just started, he knows quite a lot about it.

Despite/In spite of

Used to show that something happened or is true although something else might have happened to prevent it

Example:        Despite applying for hundreds of jobs, he is still out of work.

Except/Except for/Apart from/Aside from

Used before mentioning the only thing or person about which a statement is not true

Example:       We work every day except Sunday.


Not including

Example:        Lunch cost 10 dollars per person, excluding drinks.


Used to introduce a suggestion that could be considered if the one just mentioned is not possible

Example:        Ask a friend to recommend a doctor or, failing that, ask for a list in your local library.


After or as a result of a particular event

Example:        He took charge of the family business following his father’s death.


When you consider something

Example:        Given his age (Considering how old he is), he is remarkably active.


Having something as part of a group or set

Example:        Six people were killed in the riot, including a policeman.


Without being affected by something; despite something

Example:        Notwithstanding some financial problems, the club has had a successful year.


  1. Used with verbs to express movement on or to a particular place or position
    Example:       She stepped down from the train onto the platform.
  2. Used to show that something faces in a particular direction
    Example:       The window looked out onto the terrace.


  1. On the other side of a particular area from somebody/something, and usually facing them

Example:        The bank is opposite the supermarket.

  1. Acting in a film or plays as the partner of somebody Example:             She starred opposite Tom Hanks.


  1. Later than something

Example:        It was past midnight when we got home.

  1. On or to the other side of somebody/something
    Example:       He hurried past them without stopping.
  2. Above or further than a particular point or stage
    Example:       Unemployment is now past the 3 million mark.


Used to express the cost or amount of something for each

Example:        This country has a higher crime rate per 100,000 of the population than most other European countries.


As something, in the role of something

Example:        The soldier acted qua soldier, not as a human being.


Concerning/about somebody/something

Example:        She has said nothing regarding your request.

Respecting/With respect to


Example:        information respecting the child’s whereabouts

Sans (writing)


Example:        There were no potatoes so we had fish and chips sans the chips.

Save/Save for

Except something

Example:        They knew nothing about her save her name.


  1. In or into every part of something

Example:        They export their products to markets throughout the world.

  1. During the whole period of time of something

Example:        The museum is open daily throughout the year.


  1. In the direction of somebody/something

Example:        They were heading towards the German border.

  1. Getting closer to achieve something

Example:        This is a first step towards political union.

  1. Close or closer to a point in time

Example:        towards the end of April

  1. In relation to somebody/something

Example:        He was tender and warm towards her.

  1. With the aim of obtaining something, or helping somebody to obtain something

Example:              The money will go towards a new school.


  1. Under or below something else, especially when it is hidden or covered by the thing on top

Example:        The coin rolled underneath the piano.

  1. Used to talk about somebody’s real feelings or character, as opposed to the way they seem to be

Example:        Underneath her cool exterior she was really very frightened.


Formal use of “on”

Example:        The decision was based upon two considerations.


Used to compare two different things

Example:  It was the promise of better job opportunities versus the inconvenience of moving away and leaving her friends.


  1. Through a place

Example:        We flew home via Dubai.

  1. By means of a particular person, system…

Example:        The news programme came to us via satellite.


  1. Before a particular period of time has passed; during a particular period of time
    Example:             Two elections were held within the space of a year.
  1. Not further than a particular distance from something
             Example:        a house within a mile of the station
  1. Inside the range or limits of something
    Example:        The question is not within the scope of this talk.
  1. Inside somebody/something
    Example:        There is discontent within the farming industry.

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Written By

Nafia Zuhana is an experienced content writer and IELTS Trainer. Currently, she is guiding students who are appearing for IELTS General and Academic exams through With an 8.5 score herself, she trains and provides test takers with strategies, tips, and nuances on how to crack the IELTS Exam. She holds a degree in Master of Arts – Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has worked with The Hindu for over a year as an English language trainer.

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