Daily Grammar

Lesson 180

Parts of the Sentence - Prepositional Phrases

A preposition is a word that begins a prepositional phrase and shows the relationship between its object and another word in the sentence. A preposition must always have an object. A prepositional phrase starts with a preposition, ends with an object, and may have modifiers between the preposition and the object of the preposition.

Here is a list of common words that can be used as prepositions: about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, besides, between, beyond, but (when it means except), by, concerning, down, during, except, for, from, in, inside, into, like, near, of, off, on, out, outside, over, past, since, through, to, toward, under, until, up, upon, with, within, and without.

These words can be used as other parts of speech, depending on how the word is used in a particular sentence. Many of the common words used as prepositions can be used as adverbs. Words are prepositions if they have an object to complete them.

To decide if the word in question is a preposition, say the preposition followed by whom or what. If a nounA noun is a word that names a person, place, or thing. Examples: man, city, book, and courage. Nouns often follow words like a, an, and the. Source: Lesson 16 or a pronounA pronoun is a word that replaces a noun or a group of words used as a noun.
Source: Lesson 21
answers the question, the word is a preposition. If there is no noun or pronoun to complete the phrase, the word is not a preposition.

Example: The boy stood up and ran down the street. Up what? There is no object; therefore up is not a preposition. Down what? Street answers the question; therefore, down is a preposition. Down the street is the prepositional phrase starting with the preposition down and ending with the object street with a modifier the in between.

A prepositional phrase may be used as an adjectiveAdjectives modify or affect the meaning of nouns and pronouns and tell us which, whose, what kind, and how many about the nouns or pronouns they modify. They come before the noun or pronoun they modify except for the predicate adjective which comes after a linking verb and modifies the subject. Source: Lesson 151 telling which or what kind and modifying a noun or pronoun.  An adjective prepositional phrase will come right after the noun or pronoun that it modifies. If there are two adjective prepositional phrases together, one will follow the other. Only adjective prepositional phrases modify the object of the preposition in another prepositional phrase.

A prepositional phrase may be used as an adverbAdverbs are words that modify (1) verbs, (2) adjectives, and (3) other adverbs. They tell how (manner), when (time), where (place), how much (degree), and why (cause). Source: Lesson 161 telling how, when, where, how much, and why and modifying the verb and sometimes an adjective.  Adverb prepositional phrases can come anywhere in the sentence and can be moved within the sentence without changing the meaning.

Instructions: Pick out the prepositional phrases in these sentences and tell what they modify.

1. A number of javalinas appeared at the edge of the forest.

A number of javalinas appeared at the edge of the forest.
  - of javalinas modifies number (subject)
  - at the edge modifies appeared
  - of the forest modifies edge

2. In the cage we saw a huge jaguar from the jungles of Brazil.

In the cage we saw a huge jaguar from the jungles of Brazil.
  - In the cage modifies saw
  - from the jungles modifies jaguar (direct object)
  - of Brazil modifies jungles

3. Everyone in the class finished the test at the same time.

Everyone in the class finished the test at the same time.
  - in the class modifies Everyone (subject)
  - at the same time modifies finished

4. The children were awakened by a sudden clap of loud thunder.

The children were awakened by a sudden clap of loud thunder.
  - by a sudden clap modifies were awakened
  - of loud thunder modifies clap

5. You can go to the Jazz game with us.

You can go to the Jazz game with us.
  - to the Jazz game and with us modify can go







© 1996 Word Place, Inc.