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Guide to Prepositional Phrases: Definitions and Examples

UserJack Williams time06 July,2021

Your article will have more impact if you use prepositional phrases. You may construct an entire universe of detail instead of basic, boring phrases that lack colour. Here's a look at prepositional phrases, including how they operate and how to utilise them effectively. 

What Is a Preposition?

Let’s define a preposition before we start talking about prepositional phrases. Prepositions are words that show how words in a phrase are related to one another. They frequently come before nouns, pronouns, gerunds, or clauses in a phrase to show place, time, and direction or to introduce an object. Consider the following common prepositions example:

  • The cat sat at the table.
  • We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • My co-worker lives near the church.
  • I found the key under the table.
  • They have been singing as a group since 2019.

Prepositions include on, near, above, since, and under. These terms help readers visualise where something is or when something happened. If you’re interested in learning more about prepositions, check out our post, 5 Types of Prepositions: An Easy Guide. Now, let’s get to the point: what is a phrase?

Prepositional Phrase

A phrase is a short group of words that people frequently use to express themselves. The meaning of a phrase is frequently obscured by the meanings of the various words that make up it.

What is a prepositional phrase?

Prepositional phrase definition is the link between an item and the preposition used with the phrase. Prepositions include words like within, on top, around, all, any, and more, which can be employed in prepositional phrases. However, these words do not act as prepositions if they do not have an object used in a sentence.

Prepositions are used with nouns and pronouns to explain how one word relates to another. A prepositional phrase is a preposition with an object, which is commonly a noun or a pronoun.

When used in this fashion, the following words are prepositions: above, across, at, below, beneath, between, by, regarding, since, and toward.

Prepositional phrase examples 

  • above the clouds
  • at the dentist
  • beneath the sky
  • between the sheets
  • by the mountain
  • since 2005
  • toward the end

Prepositional sentences, on the other hand, have a bit more to them. Nouns with prepositions are seen in the instances above. When a noun isn’t an actual noun but acts like one in the context of a sentence, it’s called a prepositional phrase. Because the noun can be anything that serves as a noun, it’s a little more complicated than shown above. Consider the following example:

  • near him (he is a pronoun)
  • around 5 pm that afternoon (here is a noun phrase)
  • since marrying (the ‘noun’ is a gerund)
  • for winning the race (noun clause)

These are prepositional phrases because they follow the basic rule, which states that the words after the preposition are the preposition’s object.

How Do You Identify a Prepositional Phrase?

A prepositional phrase begins with a preposition and finishes with a noun, pronoun, gerund, or clause as the object. The “object of the preposition” refers to the object after the prepositional phrase. To quickly recognise a prepositional phrase, you must first understand the format or pattern it follows in a sentence. 

Types Of Prepositional Phrases

Depending on the modifier defining the object, there are two sorts of phrases: adverbial and adjectival. Adverbial prepositional phrases serve as adverbs and provide answers to inquiries such as where, when, how, and why. Prepositional adjectives function as adjectives and answer one of two questions: What sort of thing is it? Which one is it?

  • Adverbial Prepositional Phrase 

The fact that adverbial clauses operate as adverbs give them their name. To express timing or cause and effect, we utilise adverbial prepositional phrases. They may be able to tell you when and where anything occurred. They may also describe how or to what extent something occurred.

Example: 

Because I went to the store early, I was able to get the new video game before it sold out.

“Because I went to the store early” is an adverbial clause in this example. This is since it demonstrates how the action in the second portion of the sentence got about.

As specified when that event occurred, the phrase “before it sold out” is also adverbial.

  • Adjectival Prepositional Phrase 

An adjective phrase, on the other hand, changes the noun or pronoun that comes before it.

A volleyball helped a man on the island to make friends.

The man is “on the island.” Thus, the island is the subject of the prepositional phrase. Furthermore, the phrase itself denotes the link between the island and the guy.

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Can a Prepositional Phrase Be Used to Begin a Sentence?

This question has a simple answer: YES. A prepositional phrase can be used to start a statement. Introductory prepositional phrases are prepositional phrases that appear at the start of sentences. In addition to providing more information, opening prepositional phrases aid in the flow of any written work. They smooth out the text and make it more enjoyable to read. Read the following section:

“The coffee shop across the street has served thousands of locals and visitors since 1985. It is a popular hangout for visitors and those looking for a quick cup of coffee before starting their day. Along with the well-known coffee shop, there is the town’s only souvenir shop, where you may purchase a variety of locally manufactured goods.”

The ones in the text above that are highlighted are introduction prepositional phrases. Take note of how they add to the flow of the sentences by providing additional information. When employing introductory prepositional phrases, you must now pay attention to the location of your comma.

Using of Comma After a Prepositional Phrase

You can opt to use a comma after a short introductory prepositional phrase as a general guideline. Prepositional phrases of no more than four words are considered “short.” A comma is placed after prepositional phrases that are longer than four words. Consider the following scenario:

On Monday, the recruit will start his training.

Near the town, there’s an abandoned mine.

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