What are prepositional phrases? Generally, as its name requires, prepositional phrases are phrases made of prepositions. To get to know them, read the article.
What Is a Prepositional Phrase?
Prepositional phrases (or postpositional phrases, adpositional phrases) are groups of words that contain a preposition, its object, and any modifying words that follow the preposition.
Prepositional Phrase: Structure
A prepositional phrase must have one preposition and the object that follows it. This object of a preposition can be a:
Prepositions + a Noun Phrase
A large number of prepositions can be followed by a single noun, a noun phrase, or a pronoun.
- preposition + noun (phrase)
- preposition + pronoun
Prepositions + Nouns or Pronouns
In the most basic way, a preposition can be followed by a single noun or a noun phrase or a pronoun. Have a look at some examples:
Have you heard anything
Prepositions + a Noun Clause
Not all prepositions can be followed by noun phrases. Some need a noun clause as their objects of prepositions. These noun clauses can be:
Prepositions + Nominal Relative Clauses
Sometimes a nominal relative clause can appear immediately after certain prepositions and act as their objects.
I'm not sure
When a relative pronoun is the object of a preposition, two things happen:
- In informal English, the preposition is placed at the end of the relative clause and the pronoun may be omitted or not.
- In formal English, the preposition is placed before the relative pronoun, and in this case, the pronoun cannot be omitted.
|Informal English||Formal English|
|Was that the girl (who) he came with?||Was that the girl with whom he came?|
|It is a golf club (which) many collage students belong to.||It is a golf club to which many collage students belong.|
|I love the family (that) I live with.||I love the family with whom I live.|
|Do they know the boy (that) Mary is talking to?||Do they know the boy to whom Mary is talking?|
Prepositions + Participle Clauses
A noun in the form of the present participle of a verb can also appear after prepositions. Present participles can also be used as an object of prepositions.
Note that some prepositions can only take participles as their objects, not a bare infinitive. After prepositional verbs (verbs that need a preposition after them to have a complete meaning), certain adjectives, and nouns that require prepositions, we should use a participle:
- interested in, keen on, proud of, sick of, sorry about/for, etc.
- advantage of, chance of, choice between, etc.
- accuse of, agree with, apologize for, etc.
I'm interested in
You have a choice between
lose my temper.')
Prepositions + Bare Infinitive Clauses
With certain prepositions, the object of prepositions that follows them can only be a bare infinitive, which is the base form of the verb.
We should all rejoice,
Prepositional Phrases: Types
Typically a prepositional phrase modifies a verb or a noun. Each of these prepositional phrases are called:
When a prepositional phrase modifies a noun, it is acting as an adjective, because adjectives modify nouns.
A prepositional phrase that acts as an adjective is called an adjectival phrase.
In this sentence, 'with the leather cover' answers the question of which notebook the speaker says is theirs.
Here, 'next to the black one' tells us which dress the speaker wants to buy.
All adjectival phrases give us specific information about a noun to modify and describe the noun in more detail.
When a prepositional phrase modifies a verb or other adverbs, it is acting as an adverb, because adverbs modify verbs or other adverbs.
A prepositional phrase that acts as an adverb is called an adverbial phrase.
Put the baked goods
He thrust his hand
Mason played his guitar
You can place an adverb before a gradable preposition, especially prepositions of time or place, to modify it.
We stayed up talking far
The antique store you're looking is just
More than one prepositional phrase may act as an adjunct to the same word.
Prepositional phrases are made of a preposition and another term. As a result, they make a phrase. Prepositional phrases are mostly:
- adverbial phrases
- adjectival phrases