Preposition are joining words, sometimes called connectives, which are used to show a time, place, or ownership relation between two nouns/pronouns or a noun and a verb. Prepositions and the nouns/pronouns that follow them are always grouped together and treated as a single grammar unit, called prepositional phrases.
Noun or Pronoun
(after the party)
(under the table)
(of our town)
Prepositions are always the first word in a prepositional phrase. Prepositional phrases are used to add more detail to a sentence. The following sentence gives no details about the person or her actions:
The girl walked.
Where did the girl walk? Perhaps she walked around the building:
The girl walked around the building.
The word around is a preposition which tells the relationship between the
girl walked and the building. Other prepositions show different relationships
between the girl walked and the building: Consider these prepositions.
The girl walked through the building.
The girl walked into the building.
The girl walked behind the building.
The girl walked to the building.
The girl walked beside the building.
The girl walked near the building.
In each sentence above, the prepositional phrases give more information about the verb “walked” by telling where she walked. Adverb phrases can also be used to tell how, in what way, when. Anything that modifies a verb is an adverb; therefore, these prepositional phrases, telling where she walked, are called: prepositional adverb phrases.
Prepositional phrases can also be used as adjectives to modify a noun or pronoun.
The colour of that paint is just right.
The driver in the 96 Ford was responsible.
The sweaters on the shelf match these jeans.
The books in that bag are yours.
Some boxes from Japan were delivered yesterday.
They rented the house on the corner.
The presents under the tree were delivered this morning.
In each example above, the prepositional phrase adds details about the noun.
Because these phrases function as adjectives, they are called prepositional adjective phrases.
Here are some common prepositions:
Exercise 11: Prepositions
Copy these sentences in your notebook and then underline the prepositions. Draw a circle around the nouns or pronouns that complete the prepositional phrase.
1. Put your coats on the bed in the guest room.
2. Paula walked through the park and then turned towards home.
3. She hid the presents behind the desk and under the stairs.
4. The colour of her dress was really flattering.
5. The books on airplanes were placed beside those on trains.
6. The chairs on the porch were painted white.
7. Guests with tickets entered first.
8. The sap from maple trees is boiled into a syrup.
9. We saw six pheasant on the road to Stanley.
10. The man with the long scarf just robbed the store in the mall.
Exercise 12: Prepositions
Copy these sentences in your notebook. Underline the prepositions, circle the nouns/pronouns that complete them, and then decide whether the prepositional phrase is used as an adjective or an adverb.
1. My aunt in Sackville gave several of the antiques to Gene.
2. The camp beside ours was built in 1966 by John’s brother.
3. Since the crash, many of the survivors have received cash settlements.
4. In his new movie, Brad Pitt drives a car from Toronto to Los Angeles.
5. The time of day doesn’t matter.
6. The supervisor questioned the quality of her work.
7. A few of our friends from school arrived for supper at Julie’s.
8. None of the items on that page are available until July.
9. In 1992, most of the money disappeared.
10. The mine owners from Germany sold all of it to them.