What Is a Prepositional Phrase?
A group of two or more words beginning with a preposition and followed by a noun or a pronoun or noun phrase is called a prepositional phrase. The preposition that begins the prepositional phrase is called the head, and the noun or pronoun following the preposition in a prepositional phrase is called the object of that preposition.
For instance, read the following sentences.
- When the teacher came, the students were already in the classroom.
- We may visit their place after the exam.
- The young couple walks to the corner.
- Your books are on the black table.
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Each sentence contains a preposition in it. For example, the first sentence contains the preposition “in” followed by the determiner “the” and then the noun “room.” The preposition “in” is the head, and “the room” is the object of the preposition; both words combine and make a prepositional phrase.
Similarly, the second sentence contains (Preposition + Determiner + Noun)
The third sentence (Preposition + Determiner + Noun)
The fourth and last sentence (Preposition + Determiner + Adjective + Noun)
The prepositional phrase can be as small as two words (preposition + object) and may be composed of more than two words in the above sentences.
A prepositional phrase can be split into two parts; such sentences usually end with a preposition. For example
- What do they stand for?
- What can we break it with?
How to Identify a Prepositional Phrase?
The first and the most important thing to identify prepositional phrases in a large sentence is to know the most commonly used prepositions in English. The following are some preposition examples.
The next step is to look for a preposition in a sentence. If a sentence contains a preposition, it is always part of a phrase that may go before or after the verb. For example
- The boy jumped into the lake. (In this sentence, “into” is the preposition and is followed by the object “the lake”)
What is the Function of Prepositional Phrases?
Prepositional phrases in a sentence are used in a couple of different ways. It can act either as an adjective, i.e., modify a noun or pronoun, or act like an adverb that modifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb.
Prepositional Phrase Examples as Adjectives
Some prepositional phrases do the work of an adjective, i.e., they modify nouns or pronouns in a sentence. The following examples contain prepositional phrases that modify nouns or pronouns.
- The boy over the tall building is my son. (In this sentence, “over” is a preposition, and “the tall building” is the object of that preposition, and the whole phrase modifies the noun boy.)
- He is a fat boy with red hair. (The phrase “with curly hair” modifies the noun boy)
- The shoes under the bed were given to me by my friend. (Prepositional phrases act as an adjective)
- She kept one box of toffee for her son. (The prepositional phrase “of toffee” gives information about the noun box)
Some More Examples of Prepositional Phrases as Adjectives
- That man at the corner is too fat.
- A man with a red shirt ran down the stairs.
- I have found a bag with three headphones outside the school boundary.
- Many children in my village aren’t going to school.
Examples of Prepositional Phrases as Adverbs
Prepositional also acts as an adverb in a sentence, i.e., they can modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. The following are examples of prepositional phrases that act as an adverb.
- His mom usually speaks in a loud voice. (The prepositional phrase “in a loud voice” does the work of an adverb and tells how his mom usually speaks)
- He spent the whole night sitting in his car. (The phrase “in his car tells us where he spent the night)
- The buses halted in the evening. (The phrase “in the evening” answers the question when. It is therefore doing the work of an adverb)
- Many people have run over the bridge. (Here, the prepositional phrase “over the bridge” modifies the verb run)
- I usually go jogging in the morning. (in the morning is a prepositional phrase describing the verb “go”)
- She lives near the bank road. (the prepositional phrase does the work of an adverb. It modifies the verb “live”)
- Before school, Babar didn’t talk to us anywhere. (Here, the prepositional phrase modifies the verb “talk”; it tells us when he didn’t talk.)
Some More Examples of Prepositional Phrases as Adverbs
- He was hurrying towards home.
- I reached their home at that moment.
- The manager of this company treated his employees with great respect.
- She speaks English with eloquence.
Prepositional Phrases act as a Subject or Object Examples
The prepositional phrase can be the subject or object of a sentence.
- Behind the lake is a university. (Here, the prepositional phrase “behind the lake” acts as a noun and is the subject)
- After the match, it will be too dark. (The prepositional phrase is the subject of this sentence)
- The girl ran into the room. (Here, the prepositional phrase is the object of the sentence)
Prepositional Phrase Examples Sentences
The following are examples of prepositional phrases. Some of them are used as adjectives, and others are used as adverbs in these sentences.
- This lecture didn’t make any sense to me.
- I distributed the apples equally between the children.
- He is talking to Sara.
- To whom should I give these documents?
- I got a present from my friend last night.
- The boy walking along the road is the best player.
- The crowd continuously clapped for their team.
- I took my books off the bag.
- He climbed up this mountain yesterday.
- We finally met our long-lost friend at the shopping mall.
- I think his father is still at school.
- Their ideas are of little interest to me. (Here, the prepositional phrase acts as a subject complement)
- The man is well known for his bravery.
- She bought gifts for all her friends.
- He called during the meal.
- After preparing tea, she left for school.
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