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Prepositional Phrases: Showing Relationships with Words

What are prepositional phrases and why should you learn about them? There are two main reasons why you should understand what is a prepositional phrase. The primary reason is to become a better writer and speaker because when you understand different prepositional phrase types, you’re able to form complex sentences. More specifically, you can describe something’s position and location in space and time.

The second reason to understand this group of words is to make fewer errors in the English language. When you’re familiar with connecting words, you’re able to identify the correct use of subject-verb agreement. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Instead, it’s time to define a prepositional phrase and take a look at some prepositional phrase examples.

What is a Prepositional Phrase?

A prepositional phrase has two parts that are easy to identify. First, it’ll begin with a connecting word that either describes something or explains time, location, or direction. Some common connecting words include simple words like at, for, and to. Indeed, in sentences you’ll also find complicated connecting words such as beneath, because of, and onto. If a word describes the time, location, or direction of something, then it’s probably a connecting word.

Aside from a connecting word in a prepositional phrase, you’ll also find more words. Sometimes you’ll notice modifying words or phrases, like an adverb or an adjective. In every one of these phrases, you will find an “object,” which often is a noun or pronoun. Furthermore, the object can also be a gerund or clause. Here are some basic prepositional phrase examples:

  • At school
  • In town
  • On the table
  • Off the sidewalk
  • To the beach
  • Up the road
  • With Steven

Here’s a short list of more complex examples of prepositional phrases:

  • About fifteen hours ago
  • Before reading a hilarious book
  • Between the old seat cushions
  • Without getting too upset at herself

Do you notice something missing? Groups of connecting words won’t include a subject. Sometimes, you won’t even find a verb. However, every single prepositional phrase example above does work as a part of speech, since each one contains an object.

With these two sections of a prepositional phrase in mind, let’s wrap it all together with this prepositional phrase definition:

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that at a minimum contains a connecting word and an object. If you need another explanation, get more info here.

Even though you now understand the various parts of this connecting word group, you might not know what their function is. So, what are prepositional phrases and its functions in a sentence? Basically, this group of words, prepositional phrases,  answers certain questions for your audience. Without them, you would not be able to answer the questions, “which?” “how?” “when?” “where?” or “who?” Let’s look at the different ways groups of connecting words can function and examples of prepositional phrases.

Before you move on, check out this helpful grammar checker! If you need citations as well, here’s a tool for citing in MLA format.

What is a Prepositional Phrase that Acts Adverbially?

Did you know a prepositional phrase can modify a verb? These words will explain how, when, or where something happens. Here are some adverb functioning prepositional phrase examples:

  • Jane is tired from running excessively this morning.
  • After school, Jeremy craved ice cream.

Do you see now how it modifies? The prepositional phrase example, ‘from running excessively this morning’ takes the verb running and is enhanced by excessively. Now you know how Jane was running and at what time. Add this to your prepositional phrase definition down below when you complete the prepositional phrase worksheet. Continue on to find more on what is a prepositional phrase and another prepositional phrase example.

Enhancing Adjectives: More on What is a Prepositional Phrase 

Another group of words, that modifies nouns, is called the adjectival. These words answer the question “which one?” An adjective acting prepositional phrase example:

  • The slice of pizza with fewer toppings on it looks more appealing.
  • Those unripe bananas on the counter aren’t ready to eat yet.
  • The gift certificate from her students was a great Teacher Appreciation Day gift.

How About Prepositional Phrases that Act Nominally?

In addition to modifying verbs and nouns, connecting word groups also act as nouns. It’s not as common as the previous two uses; however, it is possible to use groups of words in this way.

The Noun Acting as a Prepositional Phrase Definition: Examples of Prepositional Phrases

  • In class is the wrong time to do yesterday’s homework.
  • With almond milk and sugar is how I take my coffee.
  • On top of the cash register isn’t a safe place to store money.

Think you’ve mastered what is a prepositional phrase? Don’t forget the numerous ways in which you can use a prepositional phrase. Since they can act nominally, adverbially, and as adjectives you would be lost without learning the essential functions of this part of speech. In your own words, begin to craft a prepositional phrase definition and see if you can create an example of each kind. The next section will have examples from all of the topics covered and the prepositional phrase worksheet

Want a quick break? Take a few minutes to learn about the APA format and more styles of creating citations.

Prepositional Phrase Examples

Let’s once again look at groups of prepositional phrases. This time, focus on the differences between the two sentences. One will be plain, while the other will include adverbs and adjectives. See how it affects a sentence, and whether you like the plain description, or the one with more information:

We travelled across the bridge.

We travelled across the rickety old wooden bridge.

They stood between the trees.

They stood between the giant rotting trees.

We went up the mountain.

We went up the steep and slippery mountain.

The dogs growled near the man.

The dogs growled near the incredibly funny old man.

You can add adjectives and adverbs to groups of words if you want. It gives more detail and draws a clearer picture in the mind of your audience. Understanding what is a prepositional phrase includes knowing when and how to use connecting words in all of their different forms. Once you learn how to define a prepositional phrase, it becomes easy to fall into the habit of overusing them. A prepositional phrase can connect to an object of the sentence without the subject. Hence the writer gets lost in connecting every single detail to that object.

  • He goes in between the cushions to grab a toy he lost when he wasn’t paying attention the other day.

You can leave the  second half of the sentence out and the sentence works just fine. With this information, you will be able to answer what is a prepositional phrase and use prepositional phrases on your own in time. Don’t forget to try to create your own prepositional phrase definition for the worksheet below. 

Do you want to learn more about the different ways that groups of words modify nouns and verbs? Here’s a useful link to review.

Prepositional Phrase Worksheet

Use and create your own connecting word groups and prepositional phrase definition in the exercises below.

List of prepositional phrases:

  • for a holiday
  • from time to time
  • in a good mood
  • in the dark
  • from memory
  • by the dozen
  • in love
  • in charge of

Section I. 

Add the Most appropriate prepositional phrase from the list above to complete each sentence:

  1. It seems like Tonya is always ____!
  2. One day I’ll travel to Hawaii ____.
  3. I’m leaving Fred ____ things while I’m gone.
  4. He only buys donuts ____.
  5. He checks his cell phone ____.
  6. I’m ____ with your new bunny.
  7. It’s difficult for me to see ____.
  8. Can you recite the ABC’s backwards ____?

 Section II. 

Use the groups of words below to form your own unique sentences.

  1. In exchange for
  2. In moderation
  3. From experience
  4. For a walk
  5. For lunch
  6. In private
  7. In the news
  8. From now on

Section III. 

Work with a partner on this Prepositional Phrase Worksheet and include prepositional phrase examples. Individually, Take one minute to write down as many different connecting word groups as you can. After the minute is over, try to create as many sentences as you can using the list your partner created. The person to make the most complete sentences after three minutes is the winner!

Prepositional Phrases: Showing Relationships with Words

What are prepositional phrases and why should you learn about them? There are two main reasons why you should understand what is a prepositional phrase. The primary reason is to become a better writer and speaker because when you understand different modifying word phrases, you’re able to form complex sentences. More specifically, you can describe something’s position and location in space and time.

The second reason to understand this group of words is to make fewer errors in the English language. When you’re familiar with connecting words you’re able to identify the correct use of subject-verb agreement. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Instead, it’s time to define a prepositional phrase and take a look at some prepositional phrase examples.

What is a Prepositional Phrase?

A prepositional phrase has two parts that are rather easy to identify. First, it’ll begin with a connecting word that either describes something or explains time, location, or direction. Some common connecting words include simple words like at, for, and to. Indeed, in sentences you’ll also find complicated connecting words such as beneath, because of, and onto. If a word describes the time, location, or direction of something, then it’s probably a connecting word.

Aside from a connecting word in a prepositional phrase, you’ll also find more words. Sometimes you’ll notice modifying words or phrases, like an adverb or an adjective. In every one of these phrases, you will find an “object,” which often is a noun or pronoun. Furthermore, the object can also be a gerund or clause. Here are some basic prepositional phrase examples:

  • At school
  • In town
  • On the table
  • Off the sidewalk
  • To the beach
  • Up the road
  • With Steven

Here’s a short list of more complex prepositional phrase example:

  • About fifteen hours ago
  • Before reading a hilarious book
  • Between the old seat cushions
  • Without getting too upset at herself

Do you notice something missing? Groups of connecting words won’t include a subject. Sometimes, you won’t even find a verb. However, every single prepositional phrase example above does work as a part of speech, since each one contains an object.

With these two sections of a prepositional phrase in mind, let’s wrap it all together with this prepositional phrase definition:

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that at a minimum contains a connecting word and an object. If you need another explanation, get more info here.

Even though you now understand the various parts of this connecting word group, admittedly, you do not know what their function is. So, what are the prepositional phrases and its functions in a sentence? Basically, this group of words, prepositional phrases,  answers certain questions for your audience. Without them, you would not be able to answer the questions, “which?” “how?” “when?” “where?” or “who?” Let’s look at the different ways groups of connecting words can function and examples of prepositional phrases.

Before you move on, check out this helpful grammar checker! If you need citations as well, here’s a tool for citing in MLA format.

What is a Prepositional Phrase that Acts Adverbially?

Did you know a prepositional phrase can modify a verb? These words will explain how, when, or where something happens. Here are some adverb functioning prepositional phrase examples:

  • Jane is tired from running excessively this morning.
  • After school, Jeremy craved ice cream.
  • I never enjoy the sushi from the grocery store.

Do you see now how it modifies? The prepositional phrase example, ‘from running excessively this morning’ takes the verb running and is enhanced by excessively. Now you know how Jane was running and at what time. Add this to your prepositional phrase definition down below when you complete the prepositional phrase worksheet. Continue on to find more on what is a prepositional phrase and another prepositional phrase example.

Enhancing Adjectives: More on What is a Prepositional Phrase 

Another group of words modifies nouns called the adjectival. These words answer the question “which one?” An adjective acting prepositional phrase example:

  • The slice of pizza with fewer toppings on it looks more appealing.
  • Those unripe bananas on the counter aren’t ready to eat yet.
  • The gift certificate from her students was a great Teacher Appreciation Day gift.

How About Prepositional Phrases that Act Nominally?

In addition to modifying verbs and nouns, connecting word groups also act as nouns. It’s not as common as the previous two uses; however, it is possible to use groups of words in this way.

The Noun Acting as a Prepositional Phrase Definition: Examples of Prepositional Phrases

  • In class is the wrong time to do yesterday’s homework.
  • With almond milk and sugar is how I take my coffee.
  • On top of the cash register isn’t a safe place to store money.

Think you’ve mastered what is a prepositional phrase? Don’t forget the numerous ways in which you can use a prepositional phrase. Since they can act nominally, adverbially, and as adjectives you would be lost without learning the essential functions of this part of speech. In your own words, begin to craft a prepositional phrase definition and see if you can create an example of each kind. The next section will have examples from all of the topics covered and the prepositional phrase worksheet

Want a quick break? Take a few minutes to learn about the APA format and more styles of creating citations.

Prepositional Phrase Examples

Let’s once again look at groups of prepositional phrases. This time, focus on the differences between the two sentences. One will be plain, while the other will include adverbs and adjectives. See how it affects a sentence, and whether you like the plain description, or the one with more information:

We travelled across the bridge.

We travelled across the rickety old wooden bridge.

They stood between the trees.

They stood between the giant rotting trees.

We went up the mountain.

We went up the steep and slippery mountain.

The dogs near the man.

The dogs near the incredibly funny old man.

You can add adjectives and adverbs to groups of words if you want. It gives more detail and draws a clearer picture in the mind of your audience. In order to understand fully, knowing what is a prepositional phrase includes knowing when and how to use connecting words in all of its different forms. Once you learn how to define a prepositional phrase, it becomes easy to fall into the habit of overusing them. A prepositional phrase can connect to an object of the sentence without the subject. Hence the writer gets lost in connecting every single detail to that object.

  • He goes in between the cushions to grab a toy he lost when he wasn’t paying attention the other day.

You can leave the  second half of the sentence out and the sentence works just fine. With this information, you will be able to answer what is a prepositional phrase and use prepositional phrases on your own in time. Don’t forget to try to create your own prepositional phrase definition for the worksheet below. 

Do you want to learn more about the different ways that groups of words modify nouns and verbs? Here’s a useful link to review.

Prepositional Phrase Worksheet

Use and create your own connecting word groups and prepositional phrase definition in the exercises below.

List of prepositional phrases:

  • for a holiday
  • from time to time
  • in a good mood
  • in the dark
  • from memory
  • by the dozen
  • in love
  • in charge of

Section I. Add the Most appropriate prepositional phrase from the list above to complete each sentence:

  1. It seems like Tonya is always ____!
  2. One day I’ll travel to Hawaii ____.
  3. I’m leaving Fred ____ things while I’m gone.
  4. He only buys donuts ____.
  5. He checks his cell phone ____.
  6. I’m ____ with your new bunny.
  7. It’s difficult for me to see ____.
  8. Can you recite the ABC’s backwards ____?

Section II. Use the groups of words below to form your own unique sentences.

  1. In exchange for
  2. In moderation
  3. From experience
  4. For a walk
  5. For lunch
  6. In private
  7. In the news
  8. From now on

Section III. Come up with your own examples of prepositional phrases with a partner.

Work with a partner on this Prepositional Phrase Worksheet and include prepositional phrase examples. Individually, Take one minute to write down as many different connecting word groups as you can. After the minute is over, try to create as many sentences as you can using the list your partner created. The person to make the most complete sentences after three minutes is the winner!

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