Prepositional Phrases

Introduction to Prepositional Phrases

A prepositional phrase is an integral part of English grammar that adds extra information to a sentence. It consists of a preposition, the object of the preposition, and any modifiers connected to the object. Prepositional phrases provide additional details about time, location, manner, cause, condition, purpose, and many more.

Parts of a Prepositional Phrase


In a prepositional phrase, the preposition is the first component. It's a word or group of words used to indicate relationships between other words, often to show location, time, direction, or manner. Some examples include "in", "on", "at", "under", "over", "above", "through", "beneath", "underneath", and more.

Object of the Preposition

The next part of the prepositional phrase is the object of the preposition. This object could be a noun, a pronoun, a gerund, or a clause that generally follows the preposition.


These are optional additional details that can come in between the preposition and the object or after the object in a prepositional phrase. Modifiers can include adverbs, adjectives, and other descriptive phrases.

Types of Prepositional Phrases

Adjective Prepositional Phrases

These kinds of prepositional phrases work like adjectives by modifying nouns or pronouns. An example of this would be the sentence, "The cat on the roof is mine." Here, the prepositional phrase "on the roof" modifies the noun "cat".

Adverbial Prepositional Phrases

An adverbial prepositional phrase modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. For example, in the sentence, "I will arrive in the morning", the prepositional phrase "in the morning" modifies the verb "arrive".

Rules for Using Prepositional Phrases

Rule 1:

A prepositional phrase will never contain the subject of a sentence. Even though nouns or pronouns within the phrase might seem like logical subjects, they aren't. For example, in the sentence "In the garden, the flowers are blooming," the flowers, not the garden, are the subject of the sentence.

Rule 2:

Watch out for prepositional phrases placed between the subject and verb in a sentence. They should not affect the verb's agreement with the subject. For example, "The quality of the fruits was excellent," where "quality", not "fruits", is the subject of the sentence.

Rule 3:

Avoid ending the sentence with a preposition if the meaning is clear without it. However, if necessary for clarity or to avoid awkwardness, it's acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition. For instance, "This is the house I grew up in."

How to Use Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases can be used in different parts of the sentence based on the context. Here are a few examples:

  • At the Beginning:

    "On the table, you’ll find your homework."

  • In the Middle:

    "My father, without hesitation, agreed to lend me the car."

  • At the End:

    "We traveled through the city."

Identifying Prepositional Phrases

Tips to identify prepositional phrases include finding the preposition first, then the object of the preposition, and finally any modifiers present. Once all these components are identified, you have discovered a prepositional phrase.

Concluding Thoughts

Understanding and correctly using prepositional phrases is crucial for enhancing your writing and communication skills in English. These phrases add needed detail and context that help getting your message across. With consistent practice and application, you'll be able to master using prepositional phrases comfortably and effectively.

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