Phrases

Prepositional Phrases: The Big Daddy of Phrases

You Could Look It Up

A phrase is a group of words, without a subject or a verb, that functions in a sentence as a single part of speech. A phrase cannot stand alone as an independent unit. A phrase can function only as a part of speech.

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or a pronoun.

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or a pronoun. This noun or pronoun is called the “object of the preposition.”

Here are some sample prepositional phrases:

You can connect two or more prepositional phrases with a coordinating conjunction. The seven coordinating conjunctions are for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so. For example:

Quoth the Maven

To find out if a prepositional phrase is functioning as an adjectival phrase, see if it answers these questions: “Which one?” or “What kind?”

Offspring 1: Adjectival Phrases

When a prepositional phrase serves as an adjective, it's called an adjectival phrase. (That was a no-brainer, eh? Who says you don't get a break in this English biz?)

An adjectival phrase, as with an adjective, describes a noun or a pronoun. Here are some examples:

You Could Look It Up

An adverbial phrase is a prepositional phrase that modifies a verb, an adjective, or an adverb.

Offspring 2: Adverbial Phrases

Like Meryl Streep or Kevin Kline, the prepositional phrase is a versatile creature, able to slip into different roles. Depending on how it is used in a sentence, a prepositional phrase can function as an adverbial phrase by modifying a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. For example:

Quoth the Maven

To find out if a prepositional phrase is functioning as an adverbial phrase, see if it answers one of these questions: “Where?” “When?” “In what manner?” “To what extent?”

book cover

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Grammar and Style © 2003 by Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book direct from the publisher, visit the Penguin USA website or call 1-800-253-6476. You can also purchase this book at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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