Are you confused by prepositions? Study these examples of prepositional phrases to get them down pat.
A prepositional phrase is a helpful tool in the English language. It connects nouns to other parts of the sentence, giving information that adds clarity to the sentence.
For some English learners, prepositional phrases get confusing because they look like they may contain a subject. Understanding how these groups of words work in the sentence and studying examples of prepositional phrases will help you use them more effectively and identify them when studying English grammar.
Examples of Prepositional Phrases: How to Spot Them
To become skilled at using prepositions and their phrases, you must be able to spot them. This starts with knowing some common prepositions. This list of prepositions shows some of the common ones in English.
Many of these prepositions show direction or position, such as near or through.
Prepositional phrases combine these prepositions with an object of the preposition, which is a noun or pronoun. They also include the adjectives that serve as modifiers of the object, which are the adjectives that describe those nouns and pronouns. Here is an example of a prepositional phrase:
- We went to the store.
“To” is the proposition and “store” is the object, while “the” is a modifier.
Types of Prepositional Phrases
Prepositional phrases can show different parts of speech in the sentence. Much like transition words for essays, knowing how prepositional phrases function is key to identifying them.
Many prepositional phrases serve as adjectives in the sentence. These adjectival phrases modify nouns and pronouns. Here are a couple of examples:
- The book with the dog-eared pages was well-loved.
- The largest present under the tree is yours
In the first sentence, the prepositional phrase is “with the dog-eared pages,” and it describes the noun “book.” In the second sentence, the phrase “under the tree” modifies “present.”
The following examples show more prepositional phrases that modify a noun or pronoun:
- The boy with my sister is her new boyfriend. (“With my sister” modifies “boy”)
- All of the passengers on the plane gasped when it hit turbulence. (“On the plane” modifies “passengers” and “of the passengers” describes “all”)
- The car on the shoulder had a flat tire. (“On the shoulder” modifies “car”)
- The red jacket on the hook is mine. (“On the hook modifies “jacket”)
- Tell me the story about the princess. (“About the princess” modifies “story.”)
- The rooms on the second floor are luxury suites. (“On the second floor” describes “rooms.”)
Some prepositional phrases will serve as adverbs in the sentence. They modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. They answer the questions where, when, how, why or to what extent.
Here is an example:
- The boy ran toward the finish line.
In this sentence, “toward the finish line” modifies the verb “ran,” showing which direction (where) the boy ran.
Here are some more example sentences:
- I will climb up the stairs each night. (“Up the stairs” modifies the verb “climb”)
- We won against the reigning champions. (“Against the reigning champions” modifies the verb “won.”)
- I love to take my Jeep off the beaten path. (“Off the beaten path” modifies the verb “take.”)
- I don’t like to get up early in the morning. (“In the morning” modifies the adverb “early.”)
- You look tired from all the hard work. (“From all the hard work” modifies the adjective “tired.”)
Some sentences have more than one prepositional phrase that describes the same verb. For example:
- We always go to Disney World on vacation. (Both “to Disney World” and “on vacation” describe the verb “go.”)
- She sat on the bench near her friend. (Both “on the bench” and “near her friend” modify the verb “sat,” telling where she sat.)
More Examples of Prepositional Phrases
Here are more examples of prepositional phrases using common prepositions. They include both adjective and adverb phrases.
- Aboard: Climb aboard the ship before we set sail.
- About: She was crazy about her new boyfriend.
- Above: Above ground, the groundhog blinked at the bright sun.
- Across: The neighbor across the street waved.
- After: After the wedding, the couple left for their honeymoon.
- Against: The team played against their biggest rivals.
- Along: Give him the gift card along with the greeting card.
- Amid: Even amid turmoil, you can find joy.
- Among: Among his friends, Charles felt very comfortable.
- Around: The busy squirrels were scattering walnuts around the yard.
- At: Please give him the raise at the appropriate time.
- Before: The dog must be fed before you leave.
- Behind: The ball fell behind the bleachers.
- Below: The dog dug below the mulch.
- Beneath: She was the wind beneath his wings.
- Beside: She laid the book beside her bed.
- Between: The teacher placed the quiet child between the two talkers.
- Beyond: The boy threw the ball beyond the boundary.
- But: Everyone but Samantha ate the spicy dip.
- By: The car by the railroad tracks was red.
- Concerning: The memo concerning PTO went out yesterday.
- Considering: The old man had a good pace in the marathon considering his age.
- Despite: Despite the cold, we enjoyed the festival.
- Down: She paddled down the river.
- During: During halftime, go get more popcorn.
- Except: The boys, except Caleb, went to the game.
- Following: The students answered the questions following the chapter.
- For: The book is for the teacher.
- From: The book is from her class.
- In: My foot was stuck in the mud.
- Inside: The signature is inside the book’s cover.
- Into: Do not run into the street.
- Like: I look like a burnt lobster.
- Minus: The girls, minus Rosanne, went shopping.
- Near: They moved to be near their grandparents.
- Of: All of them went to the mall.
- Off: The locomotive blew off steam before chugging out of the station.
- On: Set the keys on the bookshelf.
- Onto: They drove onto the dirt road.
- Opposite: She lived in the house opposite the convenience store.
- Out: Call out the ice cream flavor you want.
- Outside: It is raining outside of town.
- Over: Nathaniel lives over the next hill.
- Past: Drive past the red house and ours is the yellow one.
- Plus: The vacation included a week at the beach plus a few days in the city.
- Regarding: The email regarding the week’s work is coming Monday.
- Since: It has been a while since then.
- Through: The team ran through the arches and onto the field.
- Throughout: Throughout your life, you will meet many people.
- To: You can give the permission slip to the office.
- Toward: The dog ran toward its owner.
- Under: The ball fell under the dresser.
- Unlike: She, unlike Tracy, loves chocolate.
- Until: Don’t wait until tomorrow to do what you can today.
- Up: Look up because the clouds are beautiful.
- Upon: Once upon a time, the prince and princess fell in love.
- Versus: Traveling by air versus by car is faster.
- With: I will be with you in a moment.
- Within: Look within yourself to find the courage to finish the job.
- Without: Humans cannot survive without water for more than a few days.
Special Case: Gerunds as Objects
Propositional phrases do not have verbs, but sometimes they appear to do because of gerunds. A gerund is a verb that ends in -ing but functions as a noun in the sentence. Here is an example of a prepositional phrase with a gerund as the object:
- Before going to the store, please make a shopping list.
In this sentence, “going” is the object of the preposition “before” and functions as a noun. Here is another example:
- After installing the lights, he was excited to turn them on.
A Final Word on Examples of Prepositional Phrases
Prepositional phrases add meaning to sentences, and studying examples of them makes spotting them easier. Keep in mind that a prepositional phrase cannot have a subject or a verb. Rather, it has an object and the object’s modifiers.
The easiest way to spot prepositional phrases is to memorize or familiarize yourself with the prepositions. Then, look for phrases that include them followed by a noun or pronoun, without a verb. When you do, you have found a prepositional phrase. If you need help, consider using a good grammar checker.
FAQs About Examples of Prepositional Phrases
What are prepositional phrases?
Prepositional phrases have a preposition followed by an object and its modifiers. They function as adjectives or adverbs in the sentence.
What are some examples of prepositional phrases?
Here are some examples of prepositional phrases:
1. In the closet
2. Under the bed
3. Through the woods
4. Outside the house
5. Of mice and men
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