Prepositions (KS2) / Time Connectives Explained

Girl sat at desk in front of a computer studying with her mum helping her.

You might be trying to help your children in KS2 with their school work, specifically on the use of prepositions and time connectives as part of their English lessons.

What is a time connective? What is a preposition? Do you know your before from your after? Your under from your over?

If you're not too sure what a preposition or a time connective is, and really don't know where to start when it comes to the KS2 English national curriculum, then look no further! We'll explain everything that you need to know to help aid your understanding, with an explanation of prepositions, examples included.

What Is A Time Connective?

Time connectives are a collective term used to describe words which are used to join sentences or different phrases together that help us to determine when something has happened.

These words can be prepositions, conjunctions and even include adverbs.

What Are Prepositions?

A preposition is a short word which is used to refer to when something happened, or where something is in relation to something else. They are useful words which allow us to join sentences together, and usually link either nouns, pronouns or phrases to another word in a sentence.

Prepositions are typically used to describe time, location and direction.

Which word is a preposition in the example below?

"I thought we were going to meet earlier. I've been waiting here since 8 o'clock this morning for you so that we can go shopping together."

In the example above, "since" was the preposition as it specified time in relation to another thing. One friend had been waiting for the other from a specific time that same day in order to go to the shops. In this case, using the preposition "since" is the most suitable way to express this relation.

"Since" can also act as a conjunction in other cases because it links two clauses together. For example, "I'm going to go now, since you didn't want to meet me in the first place". (Don't worry about this for today - it's just a good thing to know).

Parents sit at table with their son helping him study.

Examples Of Prepositions

As we mentioned in the previous section, different prepositions denote different things. There are over 100 prepositions in the English language.

The following prepositions all denote time (and can be referred to as time connectives):

During - We sang along to our favourite songs during the concert.

After - She could open her Christmas presents after they had finished eating breakfast.

Before - He had to go and find Simran before he left for London.

The following prepositions all denote location:

Beside - I stood beside my dad and little sister.

Under - Harry Potter lived under the stairs in his childhood home.

Over - The football was kicked over the garden fence.

Between - The pencil was stuck between the chair and the desk.

Behind - The chocolate was hidden behind the sofa.

Mother and daughter studying, looking at exercise books.

The following prepositions all denote direction:

From - I got a letter from my grandma who lives in India.

Towards - The little girl ran towards her mother.

Through - They threw the paper plane through the large window in the kitchen.

Across - She flew across the ocean to the other side of the world in a small aeroplane.

What Is Taught About Prepositions/Time Connectives In KS2?

Your child will usually be introduced to prepositions/time connectives in the KS2 English national curriculum when they are in Year 3. Over time, they will recognise what prepositions are, as well as what prepositional phrases are.

Prepositional phrases are groups of words that start with a preposition, followed by a noun, pronoun or noun phrase.

Examples of phrases are...

  • We finished our homework before class.
  • On New Year's Day, she decided to make a resolution.
  • I will make sure to get to the wedding venue on time.
  • She thought that there was a monster hiding under the bed.
  • My dog Rosie left muddy pawprints on the clean floor.

By Year 6, children need to know the difference between a preposition and a subordinating connective, and should be able to recognise a wider range of prepositions which they can use to denote different meanings in longer sentence structures.

Activities And Challenges

Little girl writing homework exercises on a piece of paper.

In order to put into practice what we have gone over today, here are some activities you could complete with children to help improve their understanding and give them some support.

1. Make your own sentences that use different prepositions

By using the prepositions we have provided in the blog, explain to your child what they are and teach them using our examples to create their own. You could even challenge your child by creating a theme they have to change for each 'round' of the task. For the first round, they could select 5 examples to write sentences on the theme of school, and then have another go writing sentences about summer.

2. Teaching doesn't have to be boring when you can be drawing

You could get the kids to write sentences or preposition phrases, and for each, they have to draw a corresponding picture to show what they are describing. To make it harder, ask them to create a series of sentences which use prepositions to make a story, and then get them to draw a storyboard.

3. Create your very own SPaG test

Create a test aimed at KS2 based on this blog, getting your children to test their knowledge on what a preposition/time connective is and how it can be used.

Well, there you have it. Feeling a bit clearer on what prepositions are, and what children in KS2 need to know about them? Have a go at teaching by following our ideas, and have fun!



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