A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition and its object which can be a noun, noun phrase or a pronoun. It can be two or more commonly three words long. It can also be much longer.
The prepositional phrases shown here are in bold.
- She spent a large amount of money on clothes.
- We could feel the spray from the waterfall.
- Many visitors tossed coins into the wishing well.
- We set up camp beneath an enormous gnarled old oak tree.
There may be modifiers of the object in a prepositional phrase:
- She rented an apartment above a pet shop.
(Above a pet shop is a prepositional phrase, and pet is a modifier of shop, which is the object in the preposition phrase.)
- We took shelter in a dark cave.
(In a dark cave is a prepositional phrase, and dark is a modifier of cave, object of the preposition in.)
- Last night, I dreamed she flew away on a broom.
(On a broom is a prepositional phrase, and the object is broom.)
A sentence can have two prepositional phrases. They may follow each other with their own objects. The prepositional phrases shown here are individually underlined.
- The farm lies in a valley beside a stream.
- We stayed in a cottage near an old cemetery.
- There are a few chicken eggs in that box of duck eggs..
Prepositional phrases (underlined) can be joined by coordinating conjunctions (in bold).
- We quarreled in the bedroom and in the kitchen.
- We are going to dine either on pasta or on fresh local fish.
A prepositional phrase may include another phrase. It can also be an adjective phrase or an adverbial phrase.
- We were the only passengers in the last night train.
(The prepositional phrase is in the last night train, and the noun phrase is the last night train.)
- The beach is a nice place for walking on barefoot.
(The preposition is for walking on barefoot, and the participial phrase is walking on barefoot.)
- The manager was a woman with thick glasses.
(The prepositional phrase with thick glasses is also an adjective phrase.)
- He lost his car keys at the coffee bar.
(The preposition at the coffee bar is also an adverbial phrase.)