36 English Songs With Prepositions

If you want to master English grammar, you have to learn prepositions — words that describe the relationship between two nouns.

Prepositions can be tough to learn, because they don’t often translate directly between two languages. For example, in English, you can be in love with someone. In Spanish, though, you’d express that same idea by saying you’re enamorado de someone (or in love “of” someone).

In English, you’d never say “I’m in love of you.” You’d say “I’m in love with you.”

Because of this, it’s best to learn prepositions as parts of phrases, since that’s the most natural way to use them in a language.

And one of the best places to find natural phrases in English is songs.

Get your headphones or speakers ready, and start listening to English songs with prepositions below! If you need help with the lyrics, just click on the song title in the headings, and they’ll take you to a page with the song written out for you.


1. “In the Ghetto” by Elvis Presley

Preposition used in this song: in

Type of preposition: preposition of place

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“In” is an example of a “preposition of place,” —a word that tells you where things happen or where one noun is in relation to another noun.

As a preposition of place, “in” means the same thing as “inside,” like “The rice is in the bag” or  “The rice is inside the bag.”

In this song, Elvis is singing about a boy who grows up in the  ghetto (a poor neighborhood or a dangerous part of a city). The boy has a difficult life and eventually starts committing crimes. It’s a sad song, but it sounds good.

Here, the word in is used because a ghetto is a physical area, and the boy was living inside that area.

Also, “In the Ghetto” is an example of a ballad , which means that it tells a story in the form of a song.

2. “Love in a Foreign Place” by Gossip

Preposition used in this song: in

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Type of preposition: preposition of place

This song may be harder to understand than the Elvis song, but it has a lot more energy. Unlike the Elvis song, this isn’t a ballad. Instead, the song’s lyrics communicate a general emotion or feeling, and the lyrics are more poetic.

The singer is talking about how she likes larger cities, and she doesn’t like the small town she grew up in. She also sings  “All I ever wanted was so much more / than life in a small town.”

She uses the word in here because “a small town” is a physical location where she lives inside. The same goes for the in in the title— “a foreign place” is also a physical location.

3. “In God’s Country” by U2

Preposition used in this song: in

Type of preposition: preposition of place

This song is also not a ballad, and the lyrics are even more poetic than the Gossip song. The singer (Bono) is singing about a desert and compares it to “God’s country.”

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In this song, they say  in God’s country” because you need to use the word in with any country or city. For example, you say “I live in San Ramon, in Costa Rica.”

4. “On That Stage” by Mike Park

Preposition used in this song: on

Type of preposition: preposition of place

“On” is a preposition used to say that one noun is touching the surface of another noun, like  “The glass is on the table” and “The insect is on your head!”

For some reason, I had a hard time finding good examples of beginner-friendly English songs that used on as a preposition of place. But I do like this one. The song is a love song, but some of the lyrics might require you to think more figuratively than literally, like “my culture bleeds.”

Also, a  stage is a flat, elevated place where a musician or actor performs. Because a singer is just touching the surface of the stage and isn’t inside it, it’s correct to say that “the singer is on the stage.”

5. “At Your Side” by The Corrs

Preposition used in this song: at

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Type of preposition: preposition of place

This is a nice song about friendship—specifically, helping friends when they have problems.

“At” is used to talk about a general idea or location. There are exceptions to this rule, but look at the phrase “I’m at the beach.” If I say this, I’m in the general area of the beach, but not necessarily on the physical, sandy beach. I may be in my hotel room, sitting next to the pool or in a city by the beach. So here, at the beach” just means you’re somewhere close to the beach, which is more of an idea than a physical place.

In this song,  “your side” is not necessarily a physical place, but an idea. In the lyrics, the singer says  “I’ll be at your side,” which means that she will support her friend and be there to help. She may also physically be at her friend’s side, but in this case, it’s more about being at her friend’s side emotionally.

6. “At the Party” by M83

Preposition used in this song: at

Type of preposition: preposition of place

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This song is easy enough to understand. The singer is frustrated (feeling annoyed) about not being able to do what he wants with a certain person at a party, because that person was asleep.

Here, the song uses “at the party” instead of “in the party,” because the party is more of a general location. You can be inside the house where the party was going on, outside the house or even a few blocks away. As long as you’re anywhere near the party, you’re at the party.

7. “At the River” by Groove Armada

Preposition used in this song: at

Type of preposition: preposition of place

Strangely enough, the phrase  “at the river” doesn’t appear once in the actual song. But it does feature a couple of words you may want to add to your vocabulary.

dune is a raised surface formed in the sand by the wind. Quaint , on the other hand, refers to something that is strange in a way that’s charming.

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Perhaps the song is saying that the “sand dunes” and “quaint little villages” are near, but not inside or on, the river being talked about in the title.

8. “Rivers of Babylon” by Boney M.

Preposition used in this song: by

Type of preposition: preposition of place

The lyrics may seem a bit confusing, but there’s a good reason for that. They’re actually based on verses from the Bible, so the English is old-fashioned and uses some words that are more common in religious texts.

The song talks about a group of people who were  slaves (people considered to be the property of other people) in a strange land, and the difficulties and sadness they felt.

The song uses the word  by because they’re sitting  by the rivers of Babylon.” In other words, they’re sitting close to the rivers, but it isn’t exactly clear how close.

That’s why sometimes (but not always), you can change “at” to “by” and vice versa, like  “I’ll be at your side” and “I’ll be by your side.”

9. “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon

Preposition used in this song: by

Type of preposition: preposition of place

If the lyrics seem a bit strange to you, you can read about the possible meanings of the song here. (I say “possible,” because even native English speakers aren’t quite sure what the song really means. Only the songwriters know for sure.) But I still decided to include it, because I thought the guitar was cool.

Also, the important thing here is the preposition by . By is used in this song because they’re close to the schoolyard. They probably aren’t inside the schoolyard, because then the lyrics would say  “down in the schoolyard.”

10. “I Can’t Get Next to You” by The Temptations

Preposition used in this song: next to

Type of preposition: preposition of place

The prepositional phrase next to is very similar to by. Both indicate that two nouns are physically close, but next to is usually closer than by.

You’ll probably hear phrases like  “I sit next to Jennifer in math class.” In that example, there’s no one sitting between me and Jennifer. If I say  “I sit by Jennifer in math class,” though, there may be other people physically closer to her than I am.

In the song, the singers are saying that they can do a lot of things, but they can’t get next to the woman they love. In other words, they can’t make the woman accept them.

In this case, next to isn’t exactly a preposition of place. In this song,  “get next to you” basically means  “be with you.”

11. “Beyond the 7th Sky” by Lenny Kravitz

Preposition used in this song: beyond

Type of preposition: preposition of place

Beyond  is a less common preposition. It means you’re on the other side of something, and is often used in poetry. It can also mean the place is very, very far away or that the place doesn’t exist.

In this song, the singer wants to run away with the one they love to the “7th sky.” Of course, there’s no such thing as a “7th sky.” The singer is simply saying that they want to be as far away from something (it’s not clear what) as possible.

12. “Beyond the Realms of Death” by Judas Priest

Preposition used in this song: beyond

Type of preposition: preposition of place

In this song, beyond is used to refer to a place that’s farther than the realm (kingdom) of death—in other words, the world of the living. The singer is saying that he’s tired of being alive, and that perhaps he wants to die. (It’s a sad and dark song, isn’t it?)

13. “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin

Preposition used in this song: beyond

Type of preposition: preposition of place

This song has a very different style from the Judas Priest song above.

In this one, Bobby Darin is saying his lover is waiting for him beyond the sea.” In other words, his lover is on the other side of the sea, and he needs to travel over the entire sea to be with her.

The song also uses the phrases  “It’s far beyond the stars” and  “It’s near beyond the moon.” In both of these cases, he means his lover is very far away—probably impossibly far.

Finally, there’s one more interesting use of the word beyond in this song. Bobby says  “I know beyond a doubt / my heart will lead me there soon.” The phrase  beyond a doubt means that you have no doubt about something. In other words, you’re completely confident. For example, I could say  “I know beyond a doubt that if you study English a lot, you’ll become fluent!”

14. “Beside You” by 5 Seconds of Summer

Preposition used in this song: beside

Type of preposition: preposition of place

The preposition  beside is very similar to by and next to. In fact, it’s more like next to, since it means that two nouns are physically very close.

In this song, the singer says  “I wish I was beside you.” In this case, he’s not with the person he wants to be with, and he’s sad about that.

The lyrics could also say  “I wish I was next to you” or  “I wish I was by you,” and it would mean basically the same thing.

15. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel

Preposition used in this song: over

Type of preposition: preposition of place

Over  means that one noun is higher than another noun, but they’re usually not touchingFor example, you can say that  “An airplane is flying over my head,” but you wouldn’t say “My hat is over my head,” because your hat is touching your head. Instead, you’d say “My hat is on my head.”

Also, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is another good song about friendship. The lyrics may be poetic, but the singer is saying that if the friend has problems ( “troubled water,” comparing life to a river), then the singer will be a  “bridge” that goes over the water. In other words, he will help his friend.

16. “Over My Head” by The Fray

Preposition used in this song: over

Type of preposition: preposition of place

In this song, the singer says  “Everyone knows I’m in over my head.” The phrase  in over my head is a good idiom to know. It means you’re in a situation that’s too difficult for you. (Here’s a great, short video from VOA that explains this phrase.)

Just imagine standing in a swimming pool where the water is three meters (9.8 feet) deep. You would say it’s over your head.

There’s a similar use of this phrase in the songs “Over My Head” by Alabama Shakes and “Over My Head” by Fleetwood Mac. All of these songs have the same title and all of them talk about love.

You can also use this phrase if you get involved in a difficult problem that you can’t solve:

The president promised to get rid of all taxes, but then he realized he was in over his head.

17. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland

Preposition used in this song: over

Type of preposition: preposition of place

I wanted to include this one partly because it’s just a nice song. Also, the word over in this song is similar to beyond, since it’s talking about a place that’s imaginary—the land over the rainbow” that she’s singing about doesn’t actually exist.

You may have also heard a version of this song by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. If you haven’t heard it, listen to it now, because it’s beautiful.

18. “Above and Below” by The Bravery

Preposition used in this song: above

Type of preposition: preposition of place

The preposition  above is usually a  synonym (a word that means the same) for over. In other words, one noun is physically higher than another, but they’re not touching.

In this song, the singer says he wants to  “believe there’s more above us and below.” He sounds like he’s unhappy, so maybe he wants to believe in a place like heaven.

In many cultures, there’s the idea that heaven is above us, somewhere in the air or in space. If you don’t believe that heaven exists, that’s fine, too: everyone  is entitled to (has the right to have) their own opinions or beliefs.

19. “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters

Preposition used in this song: under

Type of preposition: preposition of place

Under  is basically the opposite of over or above. In other words, it describes one noun that’s lower than another noun. Sometimes, the two things are touching, while at other times they’re not.

This song provides a good example of how to use the word under. The singer says  Under the boardwalk, down by the sea / On a blanket with my baby is where I’ll be.” By the way, a boardwalk is like a wooden street made for people, and they’re common at beaches.

So in this song, the singer is saying that he’ll be under the boardwalk. That doesn’t mean that he’s hiding under the boardwalk. It just means that he’d be lower on the beach than the boardwalk.

20. “Below My Feet” by Mumford and Sons

Preposition used in this song: below

Type of preposition: preposition of place

Below  is the opposite of above, which means that it’s also a synonym of under. Sometimes, below may mean that the two nouns are touching, but they’re usually not. For example, if I say  “My dog is playing below the table,” then my pet isn’t touching the table.

The singer of this song says “Keep the earth below my feet.” That may seem like a strange phrase, since the earth is always under our feet.

But I think he’s referring to a common idiom, which is  “to keep your feet on the ground.” If a person has their feet on the ground, it can mean that the person is  authentic (real or not fake). They’re not trying to be someone they’re not. It can also mean that the person is practical and realistic—not a dreamer, in other words.

21. “Towards the Sun” by Rihanna

Preposition used in this song: towards

Type of preposition: preposition of place

The preposition  towards means going or facing in a certain direction.

In the United States and Canada, towards is written as toward without the “s.” The word with an “s” is how it’s spelled in places like the United Kingdom and Australia. Both of these words mean the same thing, but it helps to remember the small differences between the types of English around the world

In this song, Rihanna sings  “Turn your face towards the sun.” In other words, the listener should look at the sun, or at least point their face in that direction.

22. “Across 110th Street” by Bobby Womack

Preposition used in this song: across

Type of preposition: preposition of place

If you use the preposition across , you generally mean that two nouns are facing each other, but there’s something between them. You’ll often hear this in phrases like across the bridge” or across the street.”

In some cases, across can also be a synonym of beyond. For example, across the universe” means the same as beyond the universe.”

In “Across 110th Street,” Bobby Womack sings about life in a bad part of town. In many ways, it’s similar to “In the Ghetto” by Elvis, but Bobby Womack is singing about the ghetto from his own  perspective (point of view).

He says that if you go across 110th Street (which leads into Harlem, which used to be a very dangerous part of New York City), then you’ll see lots of bad things.

23. “Across the Sea” by Weezer

Preposition used in this song: across

Type of preposition: preposition of place

“Across the Sea” has sad lyrics, but I think it’s a great song. Rivers Cuomo, the singer for Weezer, has a letter from a girl in Japan. He becomes sad because he can’t be with her, saying “Why are you so far away from me? / I need help and you’re way across the sea.”

24. “Run Through the Jungle” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Preposition used in this song: through

Type of preposition: preposition of place

The word  through is similar to across, but through almost always includes movement. It also means you’re getting from one place to another by going inside something (like a tunnel , for example).

In this song, a person is running from the devil, trying to escape. He has to run through the  jungle (a warm forest with lots of plants growing on the ground between trees). In other words, he needs to start at one end of the jungle and leave from the other end, so he can escape the devil—and the dangerous jungle!

25. “In the Evening” by Led Zeppelin

Preposition used in this song: in

Type of preposition: preposition of time

Confusingly enough, in can also work as a preposition of time, which is used to show when or what time something is happening. 

As a preposition of time, in is used for longer periods of time ( in 2016,”   in March,” or in the 1970s” ) or certain parts of the day ( in the morning,”   in the afternoon” or in the evening” ).

By the way, the idea of evening doesn’t exist in some languages. In English, the  afternoon goes until the sunset. From the time of the sunset until you go to bed, you can say it’s the evening .

26. “New Moon on Monday” by Duran Duran

Preposition used in this song: on

Type of preposition: preposition of time

We generally use on for most time expressions that don’t use in. Time periods that use on are generally more specific. For example, you can say on a day or a dateon January 1st,”   on Friday,” “on March 15, 44 BC” , etc.

As for Duran Duran’s song “New Moon on Monday,” I only chose it because of the title. Both the lyrics and the video are confusing even to native English speakers, so don’t worry if you don’t understand them!

27. “We Only Come Out at Night” by Smashing Pumpkins

Preposition used in this song: at

Type of preposition: preposition of time

There aren’t many time expressions that use at, but there are a few important ones. The most obvious is for a specific time ( at 7:15 a.m.,”   at 12 noon,” at 5,” etc.). Also, even though  “night” isn’t a specific time, you say  at night” rather than “in night,” which isn’t grammatically correct.

28. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-go” by Wham! 

Preposition used in this song: before

Type of preposition: preposition of time

When we use the word  before as a time preposition, we’re giving order to different events. It has a similar meaning to words like previous and earlier , though you don’t always use them in the same way.

If I’m using before to order events, the event that comes before another is the first one. For example, I can say “I need to buy a ticket before I can watch a movie in the theater.”

In this song, George Michael (the lead singer of Wham!) is asking the listener to wake him up first, and then the listener can leave.

29. “Walkin’ After Midnight” by Patsy Cline

Preposition used in this song: after

Type of preposition: preposition of time

After is the opposite of before. If you’re putting things in order, after indicates that a thing comes later.

In this song, Patsy Cline says that she does her walking after midnight, so that she can search for someone she cares about. In other words, she has to wait for  midnight (12:00 am), and then she can go out walking.

30. “2 Minutes to Midnight” by Iron Maiden

Preposition used in this song: to

Type of preposition: preposition of time

When used as a time preposition,  to means that an activity will continue happening, but will stop at a specific time.

“2 Minutes To Midnight” is about the Doomsday Clock, which is a symbol for how close the world is to destroying itself. It’s not a really happy song, but it does show how to use to as a time preposition.

31. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson

Preposition used in this song: ’til

Type of preposition: preposition of time

This may be an old song, but it’s still great.

‘Til is short for  until and is sometimes written as till . These three words all mean the same as to when it’s used as a time preposition.

According to “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” you should continue doing something. If you get to the point where you’re satisfied, then you can stop if you want.

If you want to hear some other great songs that use forms of until, I recommend “Wait Until Tomorrow” by Jimi Hendrix, “Until the End of Time” by Foreigner and “Until It Sleeps” by Metallica. The first two are love songs, while the Metallica song could also refer to love, but it’s definitely much darker.

32. “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” by Glen Campbell

Preposition used in this song: by

Type of preposition: preposition of time

When you use  by as a time preposition, you’re indicating the final time that something can happen.

For example, I may tell my students  “Please give me your homework assignment by Tuesday.” That means they can give me their assignments any time, even right now, but the last day I will accept them is Tuesday.

By can also indicate things that can happen before a specific point in time, like in “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.”

This song has some interesting, complex grammar. It has phrases like  By the time I get to Phoenix, she’ll be rising.” That means the song is following two different people and what they’re doing. The singer, Glen Campbell, is arriving in Phoenix (a city in the American state of Arizona) at a certain time. At the same time, the other person (the woman) will be rising (waking up).

He shows that these two things are happening at the same time using the word by. You can also say  By the time I finish this article, I’ll have learned a lot of prepositions.”

33. “From Me to You” by The Beatles

Preposition used in this song: “from” and “to”

Type of preposition: preposition of place

The preposition  from indicates where a noun begins or its origin . For example, you can say  “Ryan is from Colorado in the United States.” That indicates that Colorado is a place where I lived before now. The opposite of from is to, which can also be a preposition of place.

“From Me to You” is a love song, like many early Beatles songs. In it, they sing about giving love from me to you.”

34. “Shadows of the Night” by Pat Benatar

Preposition used in this song: of

Type of preposition: preposition that shows possession

The preposition  of can be similar to from, but it usually indicates a possession (owning something) or a part of another noun.

For example, in “Shadows of the Night,” Pat Benatar is saying that the shadows belong to or only show up during the night. It’s also a great song about young lovers who want to meet each other at night to—well, I’ll leave that to your imagination. We all know exactly what lovers do when they meet in dark places by themselves.

35. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day

Preposition used in this song: of

Type of preposition: preposition that shows possession

Like many Green Day songs, this one has lyrics that take a bit of time to understand even for native English speakers. In fact, I chose this because I can already make a quick English lesson from the title alone.

When you say that someone is having the “time of their life,” you’re saying that they’re enjoying themselves. On the other hand, “good riddance” is something you say when you’re glad that something or someone is gone.

Essentially, even though the singer is glad that the person they’re singing to is gone, they’re also hoping that the person is having a good time. It’s probably because they still have  positive (good) feelings toward that person even if their relationship didn’t end well. (Hey, relationships and feelings are complicated!)

36. “Not About Love” by Fiona Apple

Preposition used in this song: about

Type of preposition: preposition that indicates a topic or a rough timeframe

About  can have many meanings. It usually means  “approximately” ( “I have worked about five hours” ), or it can point out a topic ( “We are talking about prepositions” ).

This last song on the list requires a bit more explanation. First of all, the lyrics are basically poetry, and they’re very difficult and complex even for native speakers. But the title is clear to me: Fiona Apple is saying the situation is “not about love,” which means that the conversation isn’t related to or has nothing to do with love.

This song also has some other good examples of preposition use, including the phrase (to be) in love, when she says  “I am not in love.” 

The song also uses an opposite phrase. You say that you fall in love with someone when you start to love them. The opposite of that would be to  fall out of love with someone. That means you stop loving that person.

And if you’re looking for more English songs with prepositions, look no further than the language learning platform FluentU.

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So, we’ve just looked at a huge number of prepositions in 36 songs.

I hope you can see that learning English with music is both effective and fun.

I also hope that you’ve fallen in love with prepositions, and that you continue to notice them in the English songs you listen to.

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