Advanced English Grammar

 

 

What are Prepositional Phrases?


 
Prepositional phrases are made up of a preposition and what we call the object of the preposition.

The object of the preposition can be a noun, pronoun, gerund, or even a clause.

The objects of the preposition can also have modifiers to help describe it and give additional information.

Example: The ball is behind the white car.

'Behind the white' car is a prepositional phrase where 'behind' is the preposition and car acts as the object of the preposition. The adjective 'white' acts as a modifier giving additional information about the object of the preposition which is the noun, 'car.'

If the above seems a little complicated, don't worry, what follows is meant to help clarify any confusion you might have about this particular grammar item.

It might help to know that prepositional phrases basically act as adjectives or adverbs in a sentence.


When essentially functioning as adjectives, they answer the question, 'which object?'

Example: The gloves on the radiator are wet from making a snowman.
Which object? The gloves on the radiator. 
Example: The bags in the kitchen are filled with groceries.
Which object? The bags in the kitchen. 

When functioning as adverbs, prepositional phrases answer the questions; where, when, and how?

Example: Feeling adventurous, we rode the corkscrew roller coaster at the amusement park.
Where did we feel adventurous? At the amusement park. 

Example: After school, Jane asked me for a ride home.

When did Jane ask? After school. 

Example: Terry is sore from yesterday's workout.

How did Terry get sore? From yesterday's workout.


 


You should also know the basic structures of these phrases so that you can recognize them more readily.

Basic patterns for prepositional phrases are as follows:

preposition + noun, pronoun, gerund, or clause

preposition + modifiers + noun, pronoun, gerund, or clause

Prepositional Phrases - List of Prepositions

about

inside

above

into

across

like

after

near

against

off

along

of

among

on

around

onto

at

out

before

outside

behind

over

below

past

beneath

since

beside

through

between

throughout

beyond

till

but

to

by

toward

despite

under

down

underneath

during

until

except

up

for

upon

from

with

in

within/without



To my knowledge, there is no such thing as a complete list of prepositional phrases, however, by clicking on the link you will go to a page which contains one of the most complete lists of prepositional phrases available anywhere.