How to say where things are in English

We use "prepositions of location" to describe position in English. Here are some common prepositions of location to talk about where things are in a room.

Next to = when things are placed side by side.
"I sit next to my sister at the dining table."
"In our living room, the stereo is next to the CD rack."

Near / Close to = in the same area
"Our bedroom is near the bathroom."
"I sit near my friends at school."

In front of = before, so you can see it from where you face
"In front of our house is a garden, so we are not next to the road."

Opposite = on the other side, or facing you
"Opposite our sofa is a TV."

Behind = the opposite of "in front of".
"Behind the sofa is a bookcase. We can't see the bookcase when we watch TV."

Between = when there is something on both sides
"At school I sit between Jane and Sarah."
"There is a work surface between the oven and the sink."

Beside = next to
"There is a rug beside my bed."

By = near
"The towels are by the bath."

In the middle = in the centre
"The sofa is in the middle of the room."

At the side = next to a wall
"The home cinema is at the side of the room."

On / On top of ("on top of" gives more emphasis)
"The TV is on a table."
"The suitcase is on top of the wardrobe."

(At the top = gives the idea that you must try hard to reach this place: "Liverpool FC are at the top of the league" or "There's a restaurant right at the top of the hill – it's an hour's walk from here".)

Above = at a higher level (but not placed directly on something)
"There is a picture above the fireplace."

Under / Underneath = opposite of "on"
"There are some shoes under my bed."

Below = at a lower level
"Deborah has the top bunk, while Lisa sleeps in the lower bunk, or the bunk below Deborah."

Against = touching a wall
"The bookcase is against the wall."

In the corner = where two walls meet
"There is a small table in the corner of the living room."

On the corner = where two roads meet
"The bank is on the corner of London Rd and the High Street."

For more explanation and examples, see our page on English prepositions of location and direction.

Location exercise

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