The prepositional phrase is one of the building blocks of our language. It adds a noun to your sentence while simultaneously indicating how it relates to the other information. Being able to identify prepositional phrases will go a long way toward helping you understand the structure of any sentence. And understanding the structure helps you make sure your have designed your sentence in the best way to convey your point.
The classic prepositional phrase looks like this:
preposition the noun
on the table
before the meeting
Variations may have the word a or an instead of the, or may omit the word the altogether:
Other variations may add adjectives or identifiers before the noun at the end of the phrase:
on the pool table
before the important meeting
of the old, dusty book
Some prepositions are made up of multiple words:
in front of
The prepositional phrase as a whole--as a building block--functions as an adjective, an adverb, or a noun within the larger sentence. Here are examples of each:
The earphones on the table belong to me. (adjective identifying earphones)
The class ended before noon. (adverb indicating when the action took place)
Before the important meeting was not the best time to call. (noun serving as subject)
Identify all of the prepositional phrases. Extra credit: name the function in the sentence for each. (If you have a copy of the Abrams' Guide to Grammar, you can find a list of nearly all the prepositions in English on page 13.)
- The pigeons on the balcony ate the leaves off of the chrysanthemum.
- Because of the sudden noise, the birds all flew from the railing at once.
- High atop the chimney is where the mocking bird liked to sing.
- The eagle soared over the building and out across the open plain.
- During the rainstorm, the cats huddled under the porch.
- After the quiz, we will return to the main body of the eLearning lesson.
Feel free to post your answers as comments below.
Here are the correct answers to the challenge on There is versus There are, brought to you by Vera Sytch. The following respondents also gave 100% correct answers (in approximately chronological order): Chris Zimmel, Geri A. Moran, Ginny Supranowitz, Toni Wills, Krista Allen, Susan Grogan, Lacinda Vangieson, Sandra Lary, Linda Tromanhauser, Kolja Fuchs.
is/are two dialog boxes and three messages yet to get through.
is/are some plants on the balcony that need to be brought in before the frost.
has to be/have to be compelling reasons for omitting the planning stage.
- There has been/
have beensuch a ruckus about the new upgrade schedule that some developers have turned elsewhere.
was/were a number of professional trainers involved in the program's development.